When we saw McDonald’s Indonesia announce a new batch of their Independence Day specials, we were immediately intrigued — a nasi goreng-flavored burger? Teh Botol-infused McFlurry? Would these strange combinations be the ones to finally break the streak of winning special dishes by the fast food giant in Indonesia?
Well, let’s just say there’s plenty to celebrate about at McDonald’s this Independence Day, but do temper your expectations; we are talking about fast food here, after all.
The American fast food giant has had their fair share of Indonesian-inspired limited edition dishes in the past — Rendang Burger, Balado Burger, and Cendol Durian McFlurry from previous years immediately came to mind — but to have nasi goreng, Indonesia’s beloved fried rice, interpreted as a burger is something else.
We decided to order several dishes off the latest special menu: a package of Nasi Goreng Spesial Burger, a medium-sized Gulai Gurih Fries, and Asam Jawa Soda (IDR47,000), as well as the Teh Botol Kue Jadul McFlurry (IDR15,500).
Let’s start with the Nasi Goreng Spesial Burger (IDR30,000 ala carte). The dish consisted of buns topped with a dash of chili powder, a patty glazed with nasi goreng seasoning, two cucumber pickles — and as the “special” in the name implies, there was an extra sunny side up wedged in, just like the real deal.
We did see many on social media who expected that the burger would indeed contain fried rice like a weird bun burrito, but thank God that’s not what this dish turned out to be. There’s also an eggless version of the burger (IDR28,000) for those of you who aren’t particularly looking for anything special.
To be really honest, we almost couldn’t taste the nasi goreng seasoning in our first bite but that’s because we were comparing the burger to something incomparable: genuine fried rice, especially those that are sold on the streets. The more bites we took, though, it was clear that this is the taste of fancier nasi goreng offered at hotels or restaurants, with spices that aren’t as pronounced as their street food counterpart.
The Gulai Gurih Fries (IDR21,000 for medium) — which literally means “savory gulai french fries” — interprets the rich, spicy, curry-like dish in the form of powder seasoning. What got us excited is that these fries were just like our favorite shaker fries McD used to sell during our childhood. We were surprised that the seasoning wasn’t overly salty or spicy, but in the same case as the above, we could barely taste gulai. It’s basically a hodgepodge of saltiness and spiciness, though we would order it again to satisfy the 10-year-old kid in us.
We were satisfied with the Asam Jawa Soda (IDR11,000) because it tasted exactly like tamarind candy that we’ve enjoyed since childhood. We found the sweet and fairly sour taste of tamarind meeting the fizziness of the soda to be quite addictive.
Lastly, the Teh Botol Kue Jadul McFlurry left us somewhat on the fence. Teh botol is arguably Indonesia’s most famous bottled iced tea brand, which is famous for its fragrant jasmine flavor and scent. For this McFlurry, the Teh Botol flavor is mostly centered at the bottom of the cup, while the kue jadul (which literally means “old fashioned cake”) bits — which was more like biscuits — were scattered on top.
Upon our first taste, we were a bit taken aback by the jasmine tea flavor and the cake bits, which tasted faintly of cinnamon — just like we expected. However, it was like a clash of two different, highly fragrant flavors being forced to make a union in our mouths. We didn’t say we disliked it, but we couldn’t help but feel like there could’ve been a better combination out there. Even just kue jadul on traditional McFlurry already sounds very appetizing.
But again, this is just our preference, and we believe that avid drinkers of jasmine tea would dig this McFlurry. There’s also a version of this McFlurry with Oreo topping, if you’re the adventurous kind to combine tea with chocolate.
Overall, we thought McDonald’s has stepped up their Independence Day specials game, and our verdict is that the menu this year is worth a try. If you’re interested, other dishes in the menu include Es Kopi Durian (IDR19,500) — on which you can also add jelly, ice cream float, or a combination of both for topping — and the Es Teler Cone Top (IDR9,000), which is a vanilla soft serve ice cream layered with Indonesian fruit cocktail-flavored crunchy chocolate. Es teler itself is usually a mix of avocado, coconut meat, jackfruit, and other fruits served with coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk.
You can order the dishes directly from your nearest McD outlets, their official mobile app, or food delivery services such as Gofood and Grab Food.
All prices above are after tax. US$1=IDR14,555