McDonald’s takes on KFC and Wendy’s with a spicy new menu item

Spicy has become a fast food staple.

Wendy’s (MAGNIFYING GLASS) – Get Wendy’s Corporate Report has spicy chicken nuggets on its permanent menu while Yum! Brands (YUM) – Get yum! Report Brands, Inc. KFC offers a spicy version of its classic chicken sandwich as well as Nashville Hot Chicken Tenders. Even McDonald’s (MCD) – Get the McDonald’s Corporation report — which tends to be the more conservative fast-food chain — offered Spicy McNuggets as well as a variety of spicy sauces that have come in and out of its menu over the past few years.

Now, the company that popularized the chicken nugget as a fast food staple has returned to the spicy goodness once again.

McDonald’s has a new Spicy McNugget

McDonald’s often tries menu items in a handful of restaurants or in a market outside the United States. That’s what it’s doing with its new Peppercorn Garlic Spicy Chicken McNuggets, which launched as a limited-time offer at the chain’s stores in Japan, Eat Brand reported.

The new Chicken McNuggets contain coarsely ground black pepper and garlic along with extra flavor and heat from white pepper and chili peppers. An order of six pieces costs 200 yen (~US$1.76). To accompany the new Spicy Garlic and Pepper Chicken McNuggets, McDonald’s is also launching two limited-time sauces for dipping: Garlic Mayo Soy Sauce and Smoked Cheese.

Many items that appear on McDonald’s menus outside the United States don’t seem like logical candidates for release in the United States. McDonald’s Japan also offers a number of “Roasted Soy Sauce” burgers and that might be a bridge too far for American diners.

Peppercorn Garlic Spicy Chicken McNuggets, however, seem like they could be moved straight to the US menu, albeit paired with different sauces (although Garlic Mayo Soy Sauce might work).

Global McDonald’s mixes the familiar with the strange

One of the hallmarks of the chain is that it offers the classic McDonald’s experience whether you’re in New York, Paris, Tokyo, or anywhere else. The menu still features Big Macs, the chain’s classic fries, and most dishes familiar to American diners.

The chain, however, also caters to local tastes and offers dishes from every country that Americans might find a little odd or at least unexpected. Here are five particularly unique picks the company has offered (usually for a limited time) in various markets:

  • Twisted ham and egg pasta (Hong Kong): It contains a whole egg, breaded and fried ham, pasta and vegetables.

  • Burger croquette au gratin (Japan): Seasonal menu item offered in winter, this sandwich features a fried crab and macaroni croquette between two steamed buns.

  • Mashed Potato Burger (China): This one is pretty much what it sounds like: a McDonald’s burger with two beef patties and a scoop of mashed potato on top.
  • Cadbury Cream Egg McFlurry (UK, Australia): It’s hard to see why this one didn’t make it to the US, as it’s a vanilla soft serve topped with an egg fondant sauce and chocolate pieces designed to taste like classic Easter candies.
  • Bacon roll (UK): It’s a bacon cheeseburger minus the burger and cheese, literally just a bunch of bacon on a roll.

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