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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Saucy Chicken

Ah, the Chicken McNugget. Truly, one of the most innovative items on the McDonald's menu. As the legend goes (or, as I read it in the book Fast Food Nation), one of the McDonald's marketing guys went to the McDonald's product development guys and said, "I want you to develop some kind of chicken produce...as big as your thumb...that people can eat while they're driving." The product development folks locked themselves in the lab, got to work, and eventually came out with the Chicken McNugget. It was added to the McDonald's menu sometime in the mid-1980s.

The mid-1980s, the height of my childhood. And Chicken McNuggets became a childhood favourite. They were the only thing I'd eat when I went to McDonald's when I was a kid. I eventually outgrew them, and I only have them every once in a while now. But for at least the past 25 years, the McNugget has remained unchanged.

Which is why I geeked out a few days ago when I saw the TV commercials. McDonald's had introduced brand new dipping sauces for the McNuggets! The four basics: Sweet and Sour, BBQ, Hot Mustard, and Honey, were joined by two new additions. Wait a minute. Doing some quick research online, it looks like McDonald's discontinued Honey as a dipping sauce some time ago. Oh, well.

Two new sauces! Never had such a thing been attempted! Well, I do remember their special "Oriental McNuggets" from the late 1980s, which came with special Teriyaki dipping sauce, chopsticks, and a fortune cookie. Oh, and let's not forget McDonald's attempt at "grown up" McNuggets a few years ago, the Chicken Selects. The "grown up" dips were Spicy Buffalo, Creamy Ranch, and Honey Mustard.

But my mission tonight was to try the two new McNuggets dipping sauces: Spicy Szechwaun and Zesty Mango.

I wasn't too impressed with Spicy Szechuan. Maybe it's because I've been stocking the kitchen at work with instant szechwaun noodles for lunch, and I'm just getting tired of spicy szechuan. It had a nice kick, and a spicy aftertaste. All in all, not too bad.

The Zesty Mango is my favourite of this new duo. It's definitely trying for an Indian flare, as I could smell the hint of curry when I opened the packet. I could taste it, too, as soon as I ate that first, freshly dipped McNugget. This one truly is zesty. "Sweet and Spicy" would be a good way to sum up this sauce.

It's nice, but not enough to get me dining on McNuggets regularly again.

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