We tried 11 McDonald's menu items in South Africa that you can't get in the US. Here are the winners and losers.

Rachel Askinasi/Business InsiderMcDonald’s South African menu features some locally inspired flavours.


McDonald’s operates more than 36,000 fast-food restaurants around the world with menu items tailored to local taste buds.

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Source: McDonald’s, Business Insider


We visited McDonald’s in Cape Town, South Africa, to test out 11 of the local menu items.

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We placed our order using one of the touchscreen devices the restaurant had available …

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… which proved a little difficult since some of the menu items had names that were different from the website.

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Customers also have the option to order at the counter, but the touchscreen looked more fun. Plus, there was a long line at the register and none at the kiosk.

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Since we were dining in, we took a number rather than wait at the counter. The food came out on a tray and was delivered to our table.

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While we were waiting for our massive order, we noticed the entire McCafé section deeper into the restaurant. There was a case of cakes and pastries, an espresso machine, and a beautiful cake stand. It looked like a small bakery.

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While there were a lot of menu items in Cape Town that we don’t have in the US, we decided to narrow it down to 10. We also got fries for dipping, of course.

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Starting with drinks, we ordered two variations of a McFizz and one McFlurry flavour that we couldn’t get on a US menu.

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A McFizz is a surprisingly refreshing take on flavored Sprite. We ordered one watermelon McFizz and one passion fruit McFizz …

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… and the passion fruit flavour was by far the better of the two.

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We want some of these flavored, fizzy concoctions to make their way to the US.

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Source: Popsugar


Next up was the Chocolate Caramel McFlurry.

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We were expecting chocolate ice cream with this order since the word “chocolate” came first in the item name, but it was just a vanilla McFlurry with Oreo pieces, chocolate sauce, and caramel sauce swirled in.

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Even though the caramel is a simple addition, it’s something we can’t order off the menu in the US, and we think that should change.

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Moving onto the food, there was a lot to get through. We ordered a few sandwiches and a version of chicken nuggets we’d never seen before on a US menu.

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First up was a sandwich called the McFeast.

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According to McDonald’s, the McFeast is a sandwich of two 100% beef patties, cheese, onion, tomato, and lettuce on a sesame seed bun.

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Source:

McDonald’s South Africa


Our first thought was, “Woah. It’s big.” The burger is definitely bigger in size than the others we got. There were two sauces on the sandwich: McBraai and McChicken.

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The McBraai tasted only slightly different from the US McDonald’s version of barbecue sauce we’re used to.

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Opinions were split on this one. We thought it was a solid option for a more exciting burger, but it had a flavour that would take a few more bites to get used to. For that reason, we thought we’d leave this menu item in Cape Town.

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Next up we tried the Boerie Single Burger. It’s a single beef patty — there’s also a double version on the menu — made to be flavored like the popular South African sausage, boerewors.

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This one was the smallest sandwich we tried all day. But it was also the most uniquely South African.

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Our native Capetonian friends were most nervous to try this one. The reviews from them weren’t great — one just gave it a hard “no” and the other said he’d only like to eat it while hungover.

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But they agreed that it did taste like boerewors and caramelised onions, which is the essence of the street food.

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We dove into the BBQ Double Burger next.

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With two beef patties, a slice of cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion, this sounded like a pretty standard double burger from McDonald’s.

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But what makes it different is the slathering of McBraai sauce. The sauce is named for the South African culture around a braai: grilling meat over an open flame with good company and music. Since we had tasted it already in the McFeast, it was a little less jarring, but still not great.

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McDonald’s, we see what you’re trying to do here with the McBraai sauce, but the flavour just isn’t right. A valiant effort, though.

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McDonald’s South African menu has 12 different options for ordering chicken, not including the various order sizes of McNuggets. McDonald’s US menu only offers nine options.


We started with the Spicy Cajun Chicken burger: a breaded Cajun chicken patty on a sesame seed bun with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and McChicken sauce.

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While it undoubtedly had a spicy aftertaste, the whole thing was only ok. But, it is inspired by the Cajun flavours that hail from Louisiana, so we really should have it on the menu in the US.

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Next was the Jalepeño Chicken Double Burger. It’s also available in the single option.

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Assembled with two non-breaded chicken patties, jalapeño sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onion, it’s a relatively simple sandwich.

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The flavour was undoubtedly jalapeño, and we thought it would be a solid chicken option for anyone in the US who doesn’t want a breaded patty or a piece of grilled chicken.

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We also made a separate trip to another Cape Town location so we could try out the SA Breakfast dish, which is supposed to come with two boerie patties, eggs, tomato, grilled onions, a bun, and fries. But there were no fries on our tray.

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We tried eating it two different ways: a bite of everything on a fork …

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… and piled high as a sandwich.

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The bun made us think a sandwich was the way this meal was intended to be eaten. So we stacked the single tomato and a few onions on top of a patty …

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… topped it off with some egg …

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… the other patty …

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… and another piece of egg.

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It may have looked better than when it was piled on a fork, but it didn’t taste any better.

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Some of the breakfast options come with coffee, so we decided to try out the regular drip option. In the states, McDonald’s has become known as a top contender in the morning coffee game, thanks to McCafé …

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Source: Business Insider


… but we thought this cup tasted like aeroplane coffee.

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Source: Business Insider


Moving on from breakfast, the native Capetonians said this sauce is “a classic in South Africa.” McDonald’s doesn’t offer jalapeño dip in the states …

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… but it should! The dip was creamy and had a pretty solid jalapeño taste to it without being too aggressive.

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In addition to Chicken McNuggets, McDonald’s South Africa offers Chicken McBites.

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They’re a smaller version of the nuggets and kind of reminded us of popcorn chicken, the really small chicken nuggets that are often more breading than chicken.

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After a taste we were able to tell that the McBites are a bit spicier than regular McNuggets — it tastes like they have more black pepper in the seasoning, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

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They taste great with the jalapeño sauce. McDonald’s got this combo right in South Africa.

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There’s one important combo that we have in the US but that my South African tasters hadn’t tried: french fries dunked in a McFlurry.

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So while we were trying everything South African, we had them try out our favourite snack combo.

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They were less than pleased and couldn’t comprehend why we think the salty and sweet are so good together.

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Having gone through five sandwiches, a breakfast meal, a sauce, a nugget variation, two soft drinks, and a McFlurry, there are only a few winners we’d like to take back to the US with us.

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The Chicken McBites and the jalapeño dip are a surefire win …

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… along with the passion fruit McFizz …

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… and adding caramel to a McFlurry couldn’t hurt either.

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US menus already have grilled chicken options, but the chicken burger in Cape Town was more reminiscent of a turkey burger patty, which would be a nice option for US consumers.

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We also think bringing the Cajun-inspired chicken sandwich to the US would be a good idea.

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We’ll leave the boerie patties and McBraai sauce in South Africa, though. They both have such a distinct taste that may not be popular with a traditional barbecue sauce-loving culture in America.

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