Rabat - One of my many talents as a United States citizen born and bred in the good old land of the free is the ability to sniff out a Big Mac from miles away.
Rabat – One of my many talents as a United States citizen born and bred in the good old land of the free is the ability to sniff out a Big Mac from miles away.
Although I’m not a fan of the 530-calorie, 40% sodium concoction, I still feel a slight comfort when I spot the famous golden arches while traveling abroad. McDonald’s makes me happy–as an American, it comes with the territory.
Although there aren’t fast food restaurants lined up on every street in Rabat like there are in the United States, I wasn’t too surprised to find a McDonald’s only a few minutes away from my home in the medina since the new city is a relatively developed area bursting at the seams with a variety of restaurants and cafes. And it’s McDonalds, the second largest fast food chain in the world, according to Food & Wine.
The real surprise came more or less about three steps into the actual McDonalds, which is far from a replica of the brightly colored interior of the McDonalds back home.
First off, the McDonalds in Rabat greets its visitors with a framed image of the king, Mohammed VI. In the United States, you are more likely to see a picture of one of the chains’ celebrity endorsements such as basketball superstars Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Dwight Howard, Lebron James, and Kobe Bryant hung up on the wall.
Along with Justin Timberlake and many others, these athletes have partnered with the chain for multiple advertising campaigns and commercials over the years. These are the faces that McDonalds in the USA chooses to represent their brand, not the faces of the country’s leader, Barack Obama.
Besides emphasizing the overarching (pun intended) power of advertising and product placement in the states, this idolization also suggests that Americans, or at least those targeted by McDonalds ads, look up to celebrities instead of political figures.
Once I reached the counter, I was pleased to see that the McFlurry flavors were all extremely appetizing: Twix, Mars Bars, M&M, and Kit-Kat. All candy I was familiar with, yet wasn’t used to in a McFlurry. I ended up ordering the Mars Bars flavor and rate it a 10/10– definitely would recommend. PS- Bring a water bottle, because that thing is SWEET!
I was beyond satisfied with my McFlurry, so I didn’t order any of the Moroccan specialties, such as the newly added fish balls and “Fisherman Salad,” which consists of fish fillet, tomatoes, corn, lettuce, cucumber, carrots, and black olives, of course. No bacon in sight.
I found that most of the sandwiches were pretty similar to those on a regular McDonalds menu, although they went by different names, such as the “Chicken Mythic” instead of a Crispy Chicken Sandwich, and “Royal Cheese” instead of a cheeseburger. Oh you fancy, huh Morocco?
Now, on to the “smaller appetite” menu. My favorite in this family were the “Croquettes Camembert,” tiny croquettes sprinkled with pepper and cheese. These are also available with onions instead of pepper. Yummmm.
My only disappointment with my Moroccan McDonalds experience was the beverage selection. No mint tea?! I got pretty excited at the possibility of enjoying a happy meal with a cup of hot traditional mint tea.
It would’ve been an interesting example of two different cultures co-existing, and an even more interesting experience for my taste buds.
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