2002.09.09

Royale with cheese

Comments

Contrary to popular expectations, there is a Quarter Pounder with cheese sandwich served in McDonald’s restaurants in Egypt. The odd thing is that right next to it on the menu is a completely different sandwich called a McRoyale (to all intents and purposes, equivalent to the not-so-accurately monikered “Big ‘n’ Tasty”). For a second, I almost considered ordering it, but the resemblance was too great.

Now, one could ask (and quite rightly) why an American traveling abroad would choose to sup at that most American of establishments, especially in the middle of a huge cultural and commercial area like Midan Tahrir. First: yes, it’s truly and excessively sad, but I do enjoy springboarding a conversation with ridiculous situations like that. More importantly, I actually find foreign versions of familiar things to be really fascinating and possibly more exotic than the authentic cuisine of a region.

For instance, say you’re in London and you’re confronted with the choice between a dead-to-rights vindaloo (available at who-knows-how-many fine Indian restaurants in any decent-sized U.S. metropolis) and a Lamb McCurry burger from the golden arches.

“A-ha!” you exclaim. “Presented that way, obviously the latter!”

No? Ah, fine.

Though it’s certainly how I chose, I’ll admit that that may not have been the most appetizing example. At any rate, you’re never going to find a McChicken Korma on this side of the Pond, or a kimchi & bulgogi pie in an States-side Pizza Hut. Given the chance, I’ve tried them all — even the Burger King bean burger (a lot tastier than it looked!).

On this night, however, it was not to be. As exotic experiences go, this Cairene McDonald’s was a giant letdown; aside from the aforementioned McRoyale, there was nothing even remotely strange on the menu. Alas, B. was tired and didn’t have the energy to find another restaurant, so there, in the shadow of the pyramids, I dined on a Big Mac and fries.

I blame Quentin Tarantino.


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