What is up with this mashed potato all up on my (BBQ) grill? McDonalds restaurants, the great inspiration for English students in China through its ubiquitous slogan, has brought us one step closer to the utopia of a "meal in a pill" by introducing the Bacon Double Patty Mashed Potato Hamburger. That's right, a hamburger/potato hybrid all-in-one: clearly the only necessary technological advancement left for all of humanity would be asexual reproduction.

However, the question remains: is this a streamlined experience to ease the burden of chewing upon our jellied jowls, or does life in the fast lane constitute a one-way ticket to disaster by being supercharged with "turbo-hydrates"?

From a quick look under the hood, the "Bacon Double Patty Mashed Potato Hamburger" is your average run-of-the-mill double hamburger; housed in the construct of a honey-glazed bun, the patties are just the same gristle for your mouth that you've come to expect, topped with lettuce and a Cajun-esque spicy sauce as well as the addition of fried bacon. It most definitely does not look like this as it does on McDonald's homepage. That is some kind of objectified piece of meat for bun enthusiasts everywhere.

No, the Bacon Double Patty Mashed Potato Hamburger is not chock-full of mashed potato like its pin-up personifies. Instead, it looks like this:

Instead of a sandwich a user must wrangle with two sturdy hands as the bun runneth over with mash, one must make do with a dab of potato that wouldn't be enough if it was hair gel for any budding Tintin wanna-be. Not to make a mountain out of a molehill as Richard Dreyfuss might, but what's the point of adding mashed potato to a hamburger if it isn't the main feature?

In China, long has the mantra for food staples been "rice is nice", but love for other types of carbs has flowered with the advent of Western fast food and Hong Kong delicacies. It is now common to see toasted bread served with melted ice cream as a common dessert, or other in-bread cross-pollinations like McDonalds previous "Black and White Mini-Burgers" or Pizza Hut's fanciful 'zas with crust-inlaid sausages. In such a light, we can understand that the mashed potato serves as the "tasty treat" hidden in the middle of the sandwich that acts to make it more creamy and palatable; it certainly needs it as the sandwich is bereft of ketchup or mustard, and the subtle "special sauce" makes for a rather "dry" condiment.

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Most disappointing is the bacon. Being processed is one thing, but these poor toppings are orphaned from their birthright by a lack of loving care. Who would think that bacon could be so undercooked with an unrealized flavor? It's as though bacon meat didn't care to put its back into its work, and wound up as a very sweaty ham. Having cornered the market on maple syrup, must we look to the Canadians for providing the gold standard all of our breakfast and sandwich toppings?

McDonalds has been very inventive with its regional offerings in China but KFC has shown itself to be the more worthy adaptor but incorporating local tastes into its menu. With the Bacon Double Patty Mashed Potato Hamburger, McDonalds hopes to introduce Chinese consumers to that one thing they've been missing their whole lives as part of the traditional offering of the hamburger. Now, would you like fries with that?

Photos: Charles Liu


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