The Big Mac might be the most famous sandwich in the history of the world. After all, it signifies everything that America represents to much of the globe, where McDonald's is synonymous with American values, American culture, and American health.
But McDonald's hasn't become a massive, multinational corporation solely by delivering morsels of the American diet to foreign countries; the company also caters to local taste by releasing all kinds of variants on their menu items that are region-specific and even religion-specific.
Sadly, the old adage that no two countries with McDonald's have ever fought a war is no longer true, but the fast-food chain's international presence still remains impressive—even if some of their international recipes don't. Keep scrolling for 16 strange McDonald's burgers from around the world.
16 Mashed Potato Burger
This Mashed Potato Burger fit into a McDonald's ad campaign in China, which advertised various levels of burger-loving for any "Manly Man" to enjoy. The Mashed Potato Burger was at the top of the list, ranking above a bacon burger or a regular burger—which makes sense, because it's got two patties, plus bacon, and a scoop of mashed potatoes on top.
15 Black and White Burgers
McDonald's in China serves this fun-looking duo, the Black and White Burgers. On the left is a black bun with white sesame seeds, which comes with onions and a black pepper sauce. On the right is a white bun with black sesame seeds, which comes with lettuce and a sweet and spicy sauce.
The name "hamburger" comes from Germany's second-largest city, Hamburg. But Germans don't just stick to traditional ground beef, buns, and toppings, clearly. McDonald's also offers creations like the McNurnburger, which features three bratwursts with mustard and onions on top. Technically, there's ground meat in those sausages, but calling this a burger is a bit of a stretch.
13 Prosperity Burger
The Prosperity Burger is a McDonald's creation that is released in Malaysia every year to celebrate the Chinese New Year. It also reaches franchises in Hong Kong. The burger is essentially a stretched-out version of a regular burger, available in chicken or beef, with a black pepper sauce and onions on top.
12 Samurai Pork Burger
Buying a beef hamburger from McDonald's is a risky enough proposition, but for anyone who trusts the fast-food chain to serve pork, the Samurai Pork Burger is available in Thailand. The ground pork is slathered in teriyaki sauce, then topped with lettuce, tomato, onions, and mayonnaise. The resultant mush doesn't look too appealing in this photo, though.
The McBifana is one of two dishes that can only be found at McDonald's locations in Portugal, the other being Caldo Verde, which is a shredded kale soup. Catering to the local crowd with a McDonald's take on the traditional stewed pork sandwich known as a "bifana" and its ciabatta-like bread fits into McDonald's oeuvre perfectly.
10 Big Rosti
Another burger that finds its way onto the McDonald's menu in Germany—albeit only for specific times of year—is the Big Rosti. The bun receives some bacon cubes and toasted cheese on top, while the fillings include a beef patty, Emmental cheese, a "Rosti" that's essentially a hash brown, and sliced bacon, plus cheese sauce.
9 EBI Filet-O
The EBI Filet-O burger is available in Japan for anyone who doesn't want to enjoy the incredible food that is available at the yakitori stands that are ubiquitous across the nation. This McDonald's creation is a patty made up of shrimp tails, which are then breaded and fried all together. The idea isn't bad, per se, though asking McDonald's to get it right is a big challenge.
8 McSpicy Paneer
McDonald's has to get creative in regions where Hindus make up a large portion of the population because followers of the religion don't eat beef out of respect for cows. One way the corporation caters to beef-free customers is through the McSpicy Paneer burger, which features paneer (curdled cheese) that's been deep-fried in place of the beef patty.
7 Gratin Croquette Burger
The Gratin Croquette burger can only be found in Japan, according to the Australian website Japan Australia. The fried croquette is a combination of shrimp and cheesy, creamy macaroni atop a bed of lettuce and croquette sauce. This is one that definitely sounds a little more exotic than it is.
The MegaMac is a marketing ploy that McDonald's has used in many countries, though it is most commonly found in Japan. Truthfully, McDonald's locations in Japan do seem to be a step up in quality from those found in the USA, though the enormous MegaMac probably seems like the most quintessentially American burger possible.
5 Chicken Cordon Bleu McMuffin
The Chicken Cordon Bleu McMuffin is more of a breakfast item than a normal McDonald's burger, but with the strange variations on burgers the massive corporation employs worldwide, the definition of "burger" might need a revision. Available as part of McDonald's "secret menu" is the Chicken Cordon Bleu McMuffin, essentially an egg sandwich with a McChicken patty added on.
4 Bacon Roll
Whether or not this paltry little sandwich counts as a burger depends on whether you're in London, where all food looks and tastes the same. The Bacon Roll sold by McDonald's in the UK is so boring and simple that it could only be sold in the UK: it's essentially only Canadian (or British) bacon with either ketchup or "brown sauce" to help.
3 McRice Burger
The McRice Burger is a treat served by McDonald's in the Philippines. Instead of a normal bread bun, it uses two patties of fried rice to surround the fillings. Also included are ingredients like red cabbage, toasted sesame seeds, and a choice between beef and a chicken filet, all with special garlic mayonnaise on top.
The McKroket is a specialty served by McDonald's in the Netherlands and Belgium, made up of a Kroket and a mustard sauce wrapped up in a bun. What's a "Kroket" in this instance? It's just the Dutch spelling of what is otherwise as a "Croquette" in most of the rest of the world.
1 Chicken Maharaja Mac
In India, where much of the population is Hindu and therefore abstains from eating beef, McDonald's has an equivalent of the Big Mac, the Chicken Maharaja Mac. Much like the Big Mac (which was originally known as "The Aristocrat"), the Maharaja Mac features three pieces of bun, two patties, and tons of toppings, including habanero sauce and jalapenos.
Sources: McDonald's Blog, Wikipedia, and Australia Japan.