Ah, McDonald's. Wherever you are in the world (well, mostly wherever), you'll be well familiar with the Golden Arches, home of the Big Mac and keeper of all things Chicken McNugget. If you're anything like me, you've sampled the delicious fries, burgers and desserts on offer many a time, and although the quality doesn't diminish, McDonald's food can sometimes get a little boring if you eat it all the time.
When that happens, what do you do? Do you just not eat until the feeling comes back? Do you... do you go home and order takeout, maybe even cook a meal at home? Of course, the answer to both those questions is an emphatic "no". You delve into the rich and wonderful secret side of the McDonald's menu, as revealed here by McDonald's employees past and present, courtesy of the website Quora.
1. Get the egg from the Egg McMuffin on any sandwich
It isn't much of a controversial statement to say that Egg McMuffins are pretty great. If you're unfortunate enough to be awake at any time before 10:30 am, then a good old McDonald's Breakfast can help to alleviate that pain of early existence. But did you know that the egg from the Egg McMuffin can be successfully added to not only breakfast sandwiches, but to all sandwiches in general? That's right: McDonald's employee Chuck Chan says to just ask for a "round egg" when you make your order. Simple!
2. Ask for your food "fresh"
The only thing worse than not getting any french fries is getting a bag full of soggy ones. For maximum enjoyment, french fries should be enjoyed fresh and crispy, and anything else is just a depressing imitation of what culinary enjoyment should really be. So that's why you should ask your server to make your food "fresh". As long as you're not in a rush, you can ensure you get your food nice, hot and delicious every single time.
3. Ask for a receipt
If you're reading this all the way from the United Kingdom and you happen to be underneath the Golden Arches at any point between noon and two o'clock or between five and seven o'clock, ask for a receipt. Quora user Kamran Adnan has worked in a London-based McDonald's for over a year, and he says that these times are the prime period for something called a "gapbuster". These are people who travel to restaurants across the country and rate them, and wouldn't you know it - they always arrive during those two time windows, always asking for a receipt. McDonald's employees will always do their best to impress someone they think is a gapbuster, and if they mistake you for a gapbuster, that might turn out to be a pretty fun experience for you.
4. Save money on a Big Mac
As we know, the Big Mac is one of the most delicious things you can order when you're at McDonald's. But despite the existence of this flagship double decker burger and its various sizes, the temptation is there to save a little bit of cash when at a McDonald's location. To do that, Chan says you should try out a secret menu item called the "poor man's Big Mac". Pretty much, it's a McDouble without ketchup or mustard, but ask your server for Mac Sauce and lettuce instead. It doesn't have that extra layer of bread, but it's definitely just as tasty.
5. In Brazil, you order something completely different
Apart from a couple of special, regional menu items, every McDonald's you step into is pretty much the same, regardless of whether it's in Tokyo or Toronto. But at the Golden Arches in São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, you can ask for a completely different menu item - provided you can speak Portuguese, of course. Quora user Juliano Oselame says that McDonald's has been offering their employees a meal of meat, rice and beans for nearly eight years now, but you'll never find such a meal on the official menu. To get it, all you have to do is ask for it, and you'll get a choice of beef, chicken or fish, plus a side salad and some fruit.
6. Go between 10:30 and 11am
If you're a true lover of McDonald's, you'll know that 10:30 is the cut-off point for ordering a McDonald's Breakfast, and any time after that, you're going to have to settle for Chicken McNuggets or a burger (though "settling" clearly isn't the word here, is it?). But Quora user and McDonald's employee Matt Decuir says you can take advantage of the transition period between breakfast and lunch, and order both breakfast menu items and regular menu items. An Egg McMuffin with some fries? Don't mind if I do.
7. You can order any side salad with meat
If you're hungry hanging around in a McDonald's while also looking to eat healthy, I'm sorry to say: that ship has probably sailed. But if you want to at least attempt to keep the calories down without having to contend with a full salad, then you can just order a side salad with a meal, and call it even. Quora user Justin Adams says that you can order a side salad, and just add grilled chicken (or beef, or any other meat you might be fancying). It's cheaper than a regular salad, and you still get a good old hit of protein for your troubles.
Well, everyone, these are just some of the ways you can hack the McDonald's menu to get the most out of your trip to the Golden Arches. Of course, feel free to utilize these tips and tricks wherever and whenever you can, but it's vital you use these powers for good, not evil.