McD’s Ha Ha Cheong Gai Burger Review: Tastes More Like Zinger Instead of 虾酱鸡

Before I even begin, I’ve just one issue to nitpick about: Har Cheong Gai literally translate to 虾酱鸡, which means “prawn paste chicken”.

The name of this new burger is called Ha Ha Cheong Gai Chicken Burger: since “gai” also means chicken, doesn’t it mean that it’s “Prawn Paste Chicken Chicken Burger”?

No wonder it starts with HA HA.

Alright, now that’s done with, let’s cheong for the review (cheong for it, geddit?)

The McDonald’s Ha Ha Cheong Gai Chicken Burger

Now, on first glance, the size is going to shock you. I mean, it’s about twenty-two times bigger than the Nasi Lemak Burger, so the image you see online certainly doesn’t do it justice.

However, look at it from the side and it’ll look…meh. Just the size of the normal burger.

We all became dogs and sniff the burger

When the burger came to our doorstep, a few of us were transformed into dogs, jumping four-leggedly towards it and just smelling it.

That’s understandable; after all, Har Cheong Gai usually has a strong, distinct smell, and it should overwhelm the entire office in a matter of seconds.

And yet when we smell it? It smells just like Zinger burger. Literally. One of us has to check the box to ensure that we weren’t trolled by McDonald’s.

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Turns out that it’s the buns – for some reason, they might have done a Daryl Aiden Yow by buying a stock Zinger burger, repackage it and sell it as a new burger #justsaying

The crux of this smell taste is simple: it doesn’t smell like one.

So, does it taste like one?

The Taste

No, it doesn’t.

I’ll give credit where credit is due: when I focus all my energy into thinking that it’s really Har Cheong Gai inside and not McSpicy, my inner tastebuds manage to sense a bit of that saltiness and sweetness of Har Cheong Gai. But once I lose my focus, it starts to taste like something else.

Something familiar.

And then it dawned on me.

It tastes like a Zinger burger. Like, seriously.

And as a Zinger burger fan, I down it within minutes. It’s that good because anything that’s ZIngerified is good.

But Har Cheong Gai?

No, seriously. There is still that distinct taste to it, especially the crispy skin of the patty, but it’s only clear when I have to remind myself of how Har Cheong Gai tastes like. This tactic of turning certain food into your preferred food through imagination isn’t new: I’ve used it countless times to turn my combat rations into Michelle-starred or Michael-starred meals during NS.

And I’m sure I don’t really need to do this just to have the Har Cheong Gai taste.

So, the conclusion? Yeah, it’s good by its own (coz it’s Zinger damn it), but calling it a Har Cheong Gai Chicken Burger might be an overstatement.

In fact, I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 stars – because it tastes really good if you remember the “Har Cheong Gai” from its name.

The True Star of the Seasonal Menu: Har Cheong Gai Drumlets

A wise man once said, “To taste the best Har Cheong Gai, you need to have it in a zi char stall and have the hawker fry it in front of you.”

The wise man isn’t that wise now, because the Har Cheong Gai chicken drumlets in McDonald’s can rival your favourite zi char stalls.

The drumlets are actually just that: Har Cheong Gai. It smells like Har Cheong Gai, tastes like Har Cheng Gai and I suppose it has the same number of calories like Har Cheong Gai.

There’s no difference, really, except for its price: at $2.70 for two small drumlets, it certainly isn’t the cheapest around.

But really, if you’ve calories only for either the burger or the drumlets, go for the drumlets. At least it’s not a Zinger clone #justsaying

Overall, Can anot?

It’s a tough question: on one hand, we’re disappointed that the Har Cheong Gai Chicken Burger doesn’t taste like Har Cheong Gai, yet on the other hand, it tastes pretty heavenly. If you set aside your expectations, it could well be your favourite burger.

As for the drumlets, it’s the opposite: because it tastes so much like Har Cheong Gai, you wonder why you have it in McDonald’s instead of in your favourite zi char stall or in the cai png stall you frequent daily.

It’s a Catch-22, really. I’ll say it’s good but I won’t try it again.

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