The month is August, which is traditionally time for an Indonesian-themed limited edition menu at McDonald’s ahead of the country’s Independence Day on Aug. 17. We at Coconuts have always been intrigued with whatever the fast food giant puts up every year, and we decided to challenge ourselves try its specials again because based on our experience, you can really find a culinary gem among them.
This year’s dishes might be slightly less quirky compared to last year’s (remember the Nasi Goreng Burger and Teh Botol-flavored McFlurry?). The Independence Day special has returned with the Rendang Burger as the headliner, accompanied by the Gulai Gurih (savory coconut broth) fries, which was one of our favorites from last year’s lineup.
Over on the refreshments, McDonald’s is offering Soda Gembira and Es Kopi Kelapa (coconut iced coffee), which you can order with or without ice cream float, while the choice for dessert consist of putu ayu-flavored McFlurry with shaved coconut or Oreo toppings.
To get in the Independence Day mood, we ordered the Burger Rendang Spesial Large meal, which consisted of the Rendang Burger with a sunny-side up — because in Indonesia, a side of eggs is a must — with large french fries and Soda Gembira (IDR56,000). We learned the hard way that the set doesn’t include the Gulai Gurih Fries, which you can order separately.
According to our taste buds, the Rendang Spesial Burger (IDR33,000 a la carte, IDR30,000 for the eggless version) doesn’t really taste like the actual beloved Padangnese dish because the patty had a sweet tinge, reminding us more of the tastes contained in beef gulai and even semur daging (beef stew) with hints of blackpepper.
Still playing on the nostalgia factor, the berry-flavored Soda Gembira (IDR12,000 a la carte, IDR15,000 with float) was decent enough to take us back to the times we ate in roadside restaurants with our family when we were young — though of course nothing beats the OG drink, which traditionally consists of soda, condensed milk, cocopandan syrup, and ice cubes.
Though it incorporates coconut milk instead of regular cow’s milk, the Es Kopi Kelapa Jelly (IDR22,000) surprisingly didn’t feel too heavy on our palates. You might want to brace yourself for the sweetness kick, especially when it’s not thoroughly mixed. Other variants of the drink include IDR20,000 for the plain one, IDR22,500 with float, and IDR24,500 with both jelly and float.
Lastly, our highlight for the Independence Day specials this year: the Putu Ayu McFlurry (IDR15,500), which comes with a topping selection of dried shaved coconut and Oreo crumbs. The flower-shaped putu ayu is one of the most popular jajanan pasar (traditional snacks usually sold at markets), with sweetness oozing from the pandan-flavored cake balanced by savory flavors from the shaved coconuts topping. We can say that the Putu Ayu McFlurry does justice to its original form, with adequate pandan and coconut flavor in the topping concoction. If you want a more modern take on the dessert, choose the one with the Oreo topping.
Another item in the dessert lineup is the Es Doger Top, a vanilla soft serve ice cream layered with es doger-flavored crunchy chocolate, though it’s not available on food delivery apps due to its fragile form. Es doger, a Bandung specialty, is a coconut milk-based shaved ice beverage that comes mixed with various toppings.
As usual with fast food chain releases, there are hits and misses from the specials, though we hope that our review won’t stop your curiosity from trying everything from the menu. We just wish that McDonald’s would have brought back the Asam Jawa Soda, though; that was good.
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