Saturday, October 9, 2010

How The Mighty Have Fallen: Tales from a McHypocrite

Pure class: the unintentional pinky lift
The Ebi Burger. For twelve months I have wanted to try the Ebi Burger. Every morning when I bike by McDonald's I give her a little "Wassup" nod, a little "Hey Baby, you be looking good today" smile, a little "Don't worry, Sweet Thang, I'll be back for you one day" wink. On the poster the burger's pink shrimpy center is revealed by a dainty little nibble of a bite, and it's that seductive peepshow of prawn that's had me hooked.

From head to toe she's a fried ground shrimp patty, special sauce and lettuce resting between two sesame seed buns. I had to have her. But I could never bring myself to actually walk in and order the thing. I mean, this is McDonald's we're talking about. No self-respecting Snobby McFoody Pants goes to McDonald's. Taco Bell maybe, but McDonald's? It just isn't done. I mean, wasn't I just berating other foreigners for eating at McDonald's in my last post?

But there is something fun about sampling something so supremely American, in a foreign place, where the menu has been tweaked to reflect that country's tastes. In an act of desperation (missed flight + cranky + curious) I visited a McDonald's in Lima, Peru and was shocked to discover it's celebrity chef created menu, extensive hot sauce bar and classy McCafe, featuring espresso served in swank little porcelain cups. This website might make you want to fly to Kuwait to sample a McArabia and if I'm ever in the Philippines no one can keep me from the McDo, a fried chicken drumstick served with a side of spaghetti.

Having already tasted the majority of my must-try Japanese foods, plus a long list of things I'd never even heard of (sesame pig ears and barbecued blowfish are delicious, emu kara age is not), the only item lingering on my list was that silly old Ebi Burger. Sigh. Am I really that much of a snob? I mean, I've already super-sized myself (I literally gasped after stepping on the doctor's scale this morning: I'm up 13 pounds) so why stop now?

Milk makes it healthy
I finally gave into the Ebi Burger last weekend after my school's Halloween party. It was 2am, I was filled with liquid courage, disguised in head-to-toe hot pink and my voice had that unmistakable post-karaoke rasp. It was nothing less than an Ebi Burger booty call and she welcomed me with open arms. The automatic doors parted and I walked fearlessly toward the welcoming glow of the Golden Arches.

For a fleeting moment, I was tempted to order one of the new Fondue or Carbonara Chicken Burgers, which seemed far more strange and therefore alluring, but I stayed strong and got what I came for.

As you might expect, she left plenty to be desired: a bit too mild and more than a tad understated. In a word: boring. I don't know about you, but if I'm gonna wake up the next morning looking like a starving Ethiopian child, belly round and protruding with McSodium, McTransFats and McWhoTheFuckKnowsWhat, I want to experience a flavor explosion. A flavor typhoon. A fast food flavor Armageddon. I'll I'm sayin' is: Thank God for those magical McDonald's fries. At least it wasn't a total loss.

The next afternoon, sober and still a bit McBloated, I did the walk of shame past Ebi. Once a vibrant pink poster girl, she now looked pale, lackluster and small next to the new cheese blanketed chicken burgers featured on the jumbo sized sign boards. Like most long term fantasies, the reality could never live up to the dream. I knew that the night before had been our last. But I gave her a little wink anyway. I owed it to us, Ebi and me. After all, one year is a really fucking long time to be lusting after a shrimp burger.

The aftermath


  1. I love how the image of the Ebi Fillet-o on the FNH site is so obviously photoshopped. There's no saving it!

  2. You really should live in Portland, Oregon.

  3. Close enough, my dear, Anonymous. I live in Seattle.