Why, oh why McDonald’s, do I keep giving you another chance?

Is it the addictive power of your delicious cuisine? Is it the loving care put into the presentation of your food? Is it the creative acumen of your ever-evolving menu?

Or is it perhaps that I am fat and lazy and I have the McDonald’s online ordering app installed on my iPhone?

No doubt it’s the latter, and this has resulted in more than a few orders placed in the wee hours of wintry Beijing where going outside to face the cold, the smog, the dancing zombie grannies, the feral cats and the sad reality of my neighbors' trash disposal techniques (where as long as your refuse touches any part of the trash receptacle upon initial deposit, it's fair game) is just way too much to face for an un-caffeinated brain.

A well-designed ordering app is the home delivery method of choice if you are functionally illiterate in Chinese and live in one of Beijing’s many cellphone dead zones where reception is regularly interrupted by as little as the friction created by office ladies' polyester pantlegs as they scurry to work.

An app thus spares you the agonizing half-an-hour phone conversation repeatedly trying to relay the message of “Sausage McMuffin with Egg” to someone employed my McDonald’s who has apparently never encountered their breakfast menu.

The McDonald's ordering app is in almost flawless English and as long as you get over the hurdle of entering your Chinese address correctly, is super easy to use. Add 24-hour delivery service and you have yourself a winner.

I’m particularly prone to ordering McDonald’s for breakfast, when I can make up for the fact that my dyslexic brain was too lame to have remembered to buy another mega-sized drum of instant coffee yesterday, and thus have nothing in the house to give me the caffeine jolt I need to be able to function in normal society.

McDonald's has no minimum order (but does charge an 8 kuai delivery fee) so if you are in the mood you can get some poor delivery boy to cross town at 5am in sub-zero AQI 900 air to deliver you a single cup of coffee for the grand total of RMB 17. And it'll arrive hot, and in 30 minutes or less.

Many a morning I've partaken of this convenience, a full five hours before most coffee shops in this godforsaken city open for the leisure class to sip their lattes and make deals or whatever the hell they do parked in a Starbucks seat all day.


When I saw an ad for Mickey D's new Bacon Dough Stick Egg Pancake I thought: Localization! East Meets West Fusion! A new take on a Chinese breakfast classic! Yum! So I ordered away.

On paper, it’s a winner: a doughy Chinese-style scallion pancake (葱油饼 cong you bing) wrapped around a dough stick (油条 you tiao), with bacon and eggs from the western breakfast palate thrown in for good measure. Carbs, grease, the best of both worlds in one breakfast sandwich – could you ask for anything more?

Er, yes: you could ask for the resulting creation to be edible, which it decidedly is not.

Should you order one, you will be delivered a sad, anorexic dough stick lying atop a flaccid, half-cooked piece of pork that is neither bacon nor ham, and a minuscule portion of scrambled eggs that couldn't qualify as a garnish. The mess is held onto the scallion pancake with way too much sweet sauce like the kind you spread on your roast duck.

The hideousness of the dough stick could not be overemphasized. Hard but not crunchy; tough but not chewy, its utter offensiveness to the very nature of youtiaos distracts you from the ruinous nature of the rest of this beastly breakfast sandwich.

I heartily recommend you skip it entirely.

However, there's still a lot to order at McDonald's, and as long as they get the order right, it's hard to mess up a Sausage McMuffin with Egg. So I encourage you to rush off to your App store (no, I haven't bothered to check if its available on Android or Windows) and download away.

One caveat: despite the prominent appearance of a "Track Order" button, it's useless – on multiple occasions I've checked it to find my order reported as delivered when the delivery boy was nowhere in site.

Images: Michael Wester


Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog