Taste Test: The McDonald’s rendang burger lands in Indonesia

The McDonald’s rendang burger has landed in Indonesia. Photos: Juminten Jones/Coconuts Bali

McDonald’s Indonesia has introduced the rendang burger to celebrate the country’s 72nd anniversary of independence and being the burger and fast-food lovers that we are, we just had to try it.

After all, what better way to honor Indonesian culture than bring one of its top dishes—which has even been regarded as the world’s most delicious food—in fast-food burger form to the masses? While the fast-food giant has released similar short-term specials, this rendang burger in its latest iteration, is sold as part of a special menu titled “Ini Rasa Kita” (this is our flavor). The menu is available from July 28 til September 10, 2017.

The special menu includes three rendang burger options: your classic rendang burger with a single patty, the double rendang burger, and the rendang burger special, which has one patty and a fried egg on top. There’s also a limited edition soda belimbing (starfruit) you can order as a part of a meal package if you’re feeling particularly adventurous. 

We’ve comprehensively tasted and reviewed Bali’s best burgers so we feel pretty confident about our ability to give you the 411 on McDonald’s ‘culturally adapted’ new number. Just sayin.

Going in to Bali’s Jimbaran Ngurah Rai By Pass McDonald’s with a ‘go big or go home’ mentality, we ordered ourselves the rendang burger special, which set us back Rp 40k (USD2.99) a person since we went for the meal combo. Gotta get those salty McD fries, after all. 

Upon unboxing the special rendang burger, we’ve got to tell you it’s a bit smaller than we expected since McD’s promotional photos make it look like a juiced up burger compared to their standard menu—but it turns out the rendang burger is just your classic McD cheeseburger with special toppings. Same nice greasy, cheesy taste, just nothing amped up quality-wise. Another thing we immediately noticed were the giant slices of onion on top. While those appeared a bit off-putting at first, they’re a nice textural addition to the greasy fried egg and thin standard beef patty.

As far as the actual rendang seasoning goes, please don’t expect the tastiest slow cooked rendang from your favorite padang kitchen. Have you had Indomie rendang before? Because the spice packaging that comes with the instant noodles is exactly what the McDonald’s rendang sauce recipe tastes like. MSG-filled and a bit too ‘instant mix’ on the tongue to be that slow-cooked, creamy and rich coconut-milk spiced sauce that’s earned rendang world fame.

That said, we loved the rendang special burger as a quick bite and anticipate some late night McDonald’s visits in the next couple of weeks to get our MSG and fast food fix.

TL;DR: Appreciate it for what it is. As long as you go in remembering that this is McDonald’s, not Bali’s famous gourmet burger joints like Bo$$ Man or the Butchers Club, you’ll be fine, devouring the harmonious Indonesian meets fast-food, East-meets-West creation of what we see as the perfect late-night munchy.

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