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Yay or nay? US fast-food giants now offer Chinese regional food

Updated: 2021-01-28 16:47 ( CGTN )
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KFC launched hot-and-dry noodles, also known as reganmian, at more than 100 restaurants in Wuhan, Hubei Province, January 18, 2021.[Photo/CFP]

From Chinese burgers to ice cream doused in chili oil, US fast-food giants are infusing their offerings with a Chinese flair. McDonald's and KFC have long localized their menus to appeal to the Chinese palate, but their latest takes on traditional dishes and ingredients seem to be causing quite a buzz, and not always the good kind.

Earlier this year, McDonald's China added roujiamo, a street-food staple from Shaanxi province, to its menu. Known as "Chinese burger," it's meat sandwiched between two flat buns. The limited-edition special, which the company said was in celebration of the upcoming Lunar New Year, was met with frowns and confused looks.

Many said that the roujiamo on offer looked nothing like the advertisement, while others said that the sandwich is a snack and has no place on any breakfast menu. There was also a bit of confusion about how much meat was hiding between the bread – some complained the filling was less-than-generous, others had no issue with it. But the general consensus seemed that MacDonald's is more gifted at making classic burgers than their Chinese counterpart.

"It does not taste good," one customer who introduced herself by her last name Zhang told CGTN. The amount of meat didn't bother her, but she said she prefers her roujiamo from a food stall than a fast food chain.

Undeterred by the negative roujiamo reviews, the Golden Arches on Monday served another dose of controversy. It debuted a "spicy chili oil sundae," which combines a vanilla-flavored soft serve covered in chili oil.

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