Published on February 11, 2013 | by Harriet Sokmensuer0
Nibbling in the McKnow
Did you know that fast-food restaurants have secret menus? Following on from a trend that started in the United States, these little menus are secretly sweeping the United Kingdom.
Popular restaurants such as McDonalds, KFC and Burger King offer novel artery-clogging customised burger creations, while at Starbucks you can consume extreme caffeine and sugar combinations if you have a little know-how.
As soon I heard about the secret fast-food restaurant menus, I had to experience them for myself. I headed to central London on a hunt for these fabled foods to see if they were worth the hype.
Entering the first McDonalds branch I confidently ordered a McKinley Mac – a BigMac made with quarter-pounder patties.
Looking puzzled, the cashier stared at me as if I was speaking another language and it soon became clear that I had to explain what I meant.
They swiftly passed me on to the manager who was joined by a fellow curious employee. The manager admitted: “I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re on about.”
Feeling defeated I crossed the street to a Starbucks and ordered a short cappuccino – a stronger, cheaper cappuccino made with less water and milk. Without a blink of an eye the barista asked if there was anything else.
Feeling lucky, I proceeded to order a tall chocolate cream Frappuccino – a Frappuccino made with chocolate syrup and a chocolate Frappuccino base. Lastly they served me a ‘green-eye’ – a regular coffee with three shots of espresso.
All were surprisingly delicious but left unfinished due to their exceptionally high strength and my very low caffeine tolerance.
On a high from successfully ordering from a secret menu – and a month’s worth of caffeine – I positively marched to the second McDonalds, sure that I could make this happen.
Skipping the cashier, I went straight to the manager. “I have been working at McDonalds for 13 years and have never heard of any of these,” explained Tracy, the branch manager.
Reading through my list of secret menu items, she informed me how some of them were technically impossible. “We wouldn’t make this one [an eight patty-high Big Mac called the Monster Mac] because it wouldn’t fit in a box nor would it stand up.”
Cutting cheeseburger deals
As for the McKinley Mac, she had never heard of it and said she could not make it. Named after Mount McKinley, the McKinley Mac is supposedly available only in the American state of Alaska.
After some polite persuasion, Tracy was able to cut me a deal. She agreed to make me two of the burgers from my list. The first was the McGangBang – a McChicken sandwich packed into the middle of a double cheeseburger – with a side of fries and some of their secret sauce.
With four patties, a load of lettuce and the Big Mac secret sauce, the Mega Mac makes you think ‘burger salad’.
While writing down my specific order, Tracy explained how the second burger she was making me – the Mega Mac – had been banned in several countries following Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary Super Size Me.
Coined as the ‘Big Mac Attack,’ the Mega Mac – four 1.6 oz. beef patties and an extra slice of cheese –is the Big Mac’s evil big brother.
While working my way through the two mountains of meat sat in front of me, I asked the two customers sitting next to me if they would ever contemplate eating either of the burgers if given the option to. Looking frightened, they jointly repeated: “No, no, no.”
Although the burgers were scarily large and unhealthy, admittedly they were pretty tasty. Comparatively, the McGangBang was the better of the two.
The chicken patty in between the double cheeseburger gave the burger an extra dimension of flavour. Just when you thought you had finished with the classic beef taste so familiar of McDonalds, the flavour of the breaded chicken patty kicked in.
As for the Mega Mac, it somehow tasted healthier. With four patties, a load of lettuce and the Big Mac secret sauce, the Mega Mac makes you think ‘burger salad’.
Returning to Starbucks two days later to order my regular hot chocolate, the experience of my secret menu journey sprung to mind and I considered asking for a short size cup instead of a tall. As for my next trip to McDonalds, I do not think I would ever try to order a Mega Mac again.
But as for the McGangBang…