Ditch the dollar menu and grab your renminbi. Our photo theme this week is China Menu: outside-the-box fast food options you won’t get at your local spot.
McDonald’s apple pies. Basically a bunch of apple sauce inside a Hot Pocket, but somehow so right. Especially at the sometimes-price of two for a dollar, if you don’t think too much about what that means.
McDonald’s wanted to keep their Hot Pocket pie formula going in China, but recognized that there was no real precedent of appeal to apple pie in the country (the phrase “as American as apple pie” comes to mind). So rather than trying to sell what is, really, a contrived imitation of a classic American dessert, they decided to rebuild the flavor from the ground up. Apple pie is not on the menu in China, but these ones are. And this time, I’ve actually tasted them all, and will offer this succinct taste report from the inside.
1. Pineapple Pie
For all you purists, this is the closest you can get to the original McDonald’s Apple pie. Fear not — it’s actually pretty good. It tastes like what you’re probably imagining right at this moment. Could do it again.
2. Taro Pie
I’m a fan of taro. I was introduced to it, like so many suburban kids, at the local bubble tea spot, and became an instant supporter of the root. That being said, this pie could be a lot better. It tastes more like store-brand marshmallow filling with purple coloring. I’d still eat yours though if you can’t finish it.
3. Red Bean and Custard
This one is new, a variant of the longstanding plain red bean pie. The two textures together are a little off-putting, but the flavor is there. Not for me, but maybe for you.
4. Black and White Pie
Well damn, I really overestimated when I said I’ve “tasted them all.” Definitely never had this. There might be several more, who knows? I never said I was an international McDonald’s pie expert. That being said, this looks amazing. Coconut filling inside a crispy chocolate pie shell. Looks like it was a limited time item, but if it ever comes back, you guys will be the first to know.