A special report on McDonalds Singapore “Veggie Crunch” burger – veganised.
-By contributor James
A few weeks prior to arriving in Singapore I had heard that McDonalds had just launched a new vegetarian burger in the city-state, that, with a single omission could be made vegan. I had no intention of trying the Veggie Crunch burger; why would I need to? Singapore has a wealth of vegan options scattered all over the city. But while hanging around the Bugis area, with most of my favourite joints nearby closed, I got curious. It was all in the name of research… really. As this was an impromptu visit, the photos were captured on phone.
But here I was, in a McDonalds queue for what must have been the first time that I remember in years. I forgot how busy a McDonalds could get late on a Saturday night; filled with cramming students, business men just clocking off and party-goers who were calling it a night (or just starting) but when I got to the counter I had a chance to ask a few questions. Was the veggie burger a popular choice, I asked. “The Indians really like it” the server responded. I thought that sounded promising; if it’s popular then that is a popular step in the right direction.
The burger itself is vegetarian; to veganise it you need to remove the McChicken sauce which contains egg. That left me with a crispy potato and pea pattie, some shredded lettuce, and the chilli sauce between a bog standard McDs bun (these are vegan). In Singapore McDonalds fries are also vegan; but don’t take this as a rule of thumb for other countries – the ingredients can vary from place to place.
The burger arrived at it was as disappointing looking as one would expect from a McDonalds burger – flat and sad. Then again, presentation has never been McDonalds strong suit. I opened up the bun to ensure my custom order was completed properly and it was – no problems.
So how was the taste? Well, not great. I find the problem with a burger like this is that it isn’t replacing the protein with anything – it’s essentially a potato patty – It’s carbs on top of carbs, with some more carbs on top. Aside from the meagre amount of shredded lettuce the burger was one colour – beige. Without any substance in the burger I found it didn’t really hit the spot. Being fried potato the patio also felt overly oily. I’ve seen this kind of configuration far too often from main stream food joints – why not get creative with a nice bit of falafel or some grilled bbq tofu; perhaps a bit of blackened tempeh? Or virtually any off the shelf mock-meat burger that would have been better than this soggy, oily, potato mess they call a burger.
With that said; it’s a positive step for McDonalds to introduce a veggie/optionally-vegan burger but it won’t win over the masses. The best thing it has going for it is the price – at under SGD$7 for a combo – it’s one of the best priced non-Asian eats in Singapore.
Is there a time and place for this food? Sure; if you’re drunk, hungover, it’s late, and you can’t find anything else. But hey, if you’re in ever in the Bugis area, you’re a stones throw away from the Arab quarter with a number of late night falafel and hummus options to choose from.