Review of McDonald’s Israel Big America New York Classic
Price: Approximately £7.50 for Medium Value Meal.
Would Burger Lad® be interested in a review of a burger from McDonald’s Israel…!? Damn sure we would!! To all readers, if you happen to be overseas and fancy trying something not available in the UK we are always more than happy to share your review and/or pictures so get in touch!
Jimbo previously shared some of the German McDonald’s menu with us when he checked out the McRib, and McMuffin Chicken & Bacon. So it’s with the greatest pleasure that we hand him over now to check out the McDonald’s Israel Big America…
In preparing for my holiday to Israel this September, I ensured I did thorough research on a number of important topics; I kept a keen eye on the news and the on-going situation; I found out where the nearest bomb shelter to my hotel would be; and I checked the exchange rate and compared it against expected beer prices. Perhaps most importantly of all, I researched what Middle Eastern culinary delights would be available during my visit to the beautiful city of Tel Aviv.
In terms of local cuisine, I was absolutely spoiled – the street food scene in Israel is rich and diverse, with falafel and shawarma outlets on many a street corner. These places are, as standard, absolutely amazing, serving golden balls of deep-fried falafel or slices of delicious shawarma meat in a freshly-baked soft pita or wrap (laffa), accompanied by hummus, tahini, salad, diced onion and a tastebud-tingling selection of pickles and peppers. Often, fries or a delicious potato croquette are included within the sandwich (as pictured). Falafel, shawarma and hummus were the mainstay of our diet on this holiday, and despite indulging several times over seven days we didn’t tire of them.
However, despite being spoiled by these local delights, one thing I knew I had to try on this trip was a McDonald’s. As I mentioned in my previous review for Burger Lad®, I always try and seek out something unobtainable from McD’s in the UK whenever I go abroad, and it intrigued me to learn that Israel is one of only two countries worldwide where burgers are flame-grilled rather than fried as is the Golden Arches standard (the other being Argentina). More intriguing still was the fact that being in a predominantly Jewish country, some of the McDonald’s in Israel adhere to Jewish dietary laws, i.e. the food is kosher. One of the kosher rules is that meat and dairy products cannot be mixed – meaning, no cheeseburgers.
Having already located a McDonald’s within the Dizengoff shopping centre close to our hotel, one hungover afternoon mid-holiday we decided to go and investigate and see what we could sample that would be sufficiently different and foreign. As soon as we got to the counter, the Big America burger jumped out of the menu at me; although it seemed to be one of only a few burgers available. The two main burgers on sale seemed to be the Big America and the Big Brazil. Both were without cheese, although this wasn’t a kosher outlet from what I could tell (but of course, I don’t speak or read Hebrew sadly). The Big America seems to be the umbrella title of a series of burgers; I saw some other signs advertising the Big New York, the Big Miami, the Big Chicago, the Big Broadway and the Big Las Vegas.
|Hefty burger, hefty price…|
The second thing that struck me about this McDonald’s were the prices. Although I had expected it to be relatively steep, I wasn’t quite aware just how expensive this particular meal would be. Ordering two Big America meals, I worked out that to go large (as I always do when possible) meant that I’d be spending close to £19, which I the 100 shekel note I was clutching wouldn’t cover. I reluctantly downgraded to regular sized meals (the shame!) but this still meant that the order would cost around £15 in total. Pretty steep for a McDonald’s, but I considered it a necessary expense in the name of my important culinary research!
|McDonald’s Israel “Big America”…|
After being served and directed to the other end of the counter, I noticed my receipt seemed to have an order number corresponding with numbers on an adjacent screen, as if I were waiting in front of the collection desk at Argos. Once my number was up and I hurried across to collect my food, I was taken aback at the size of these Big America burgers – the box was enormous, easily double the size of a Big Tasty box for sure. They were so large that the server gave me one meal per tray, as there wasn’t enough room to fit both burgers plus fries and drinks on the same one. I carefully kept the trays balanced whilst walking back to my table, eager to sink my teeth into what promised to be a deliciously different burger, and sat down and opened up the box.
|This is important culinary research…|
First thing that struck me was how big the burger was. Half-wrapped in foil, seemingly to hold it together, it was comprised of a huge flame-grilled beef patty, easily an inch thick and about five inches across (investigating online tells me that this is made of ribeye and short rib meat, which is fairly impressive). Accompanying this monster burger inside its sesame seed bun were lettuce, thickly cut slices of tomato, gherkins, red onions and a tangy orangey-pink sauce. As the box was branded simply “Big America” I don’t know which one of the brand I had ordered, but regardless of what the burger I’d just blown my full day’s food budget on was called, it was most certainly a very good burger. You could really taste that it had been flame-grilled, the meat was still juicy, and the general quality was much better than anything we can get here at McDonald’s and strikingly so. The fries were McDonald’s standard, accompanied by sachets of mayonnaise (something I wish we got in the UK) and ketchup. Overall I was extremely pleased with my purchase, the only two minor quibbles being the lack of cheese, and the exorbitant cost. Recommended.
I’d read that McDonald’s Israel had a local rival, Burger Ranch (בורגראנץ’ in Hebrew, “Burgeranch”). In the name of research I couldn’t not sample this local brand if I had the chance and thus we stopped off to give it a try at the airport prior to our return home. I ordered something called “The Spaniard” burger, which again came without cheese unfortunately. Topped with lettuce, tomato and an unidentifiable but pleasant sauce, I wasn’t sure what was Spaniard-like about this burger but it was relatively tasty (although not as good, as large or as of high quality meat as the Big America). Massive bonus marks must go to Burger Ranch however for their thick crinkle-cut fries, which appear to be the standard.