27 March, 2012

Review: McDonald's Chicken McBites

McDonald's is officially into the popcorn chicken business now with their new, limited-time Chicken McBites.

Unlike McNuggets, which are made from chopped and formed chicken meat, Chicken McBites are more-or-less randomly sized chunks of white meat chicken, breaded and fried and served up in three sizes - "Snack," "Regular," and "Shareable," which are clever ways of saying "small," "medium," and "large." We picked up a couple of the Shareable size for the three of us.

First of all, let me just say that the Shareable size is fairly generous, easily enough for two people to enjoy when paired with a couple of sides of fries.  We had skipped the fries on this trip, and the two Shareables we got were just right for three adults. All of us - Maryanne, Lynnafred, and I - were satisfied with the serving sizes when we divvied up the McBites.

One of the things that has made McDonald's so popular is their uniformity. Although there are usually some variations in the quality of service depending on the franchise, time of day, and how busy the restaurant is, the actual food is really quite predictable: You know going in what to expect when you order, say, a Quarter Pounder with Cheese - it's going to be the same sandwich whether you order it in Maine or in California.

This uniformity also extends within product lines in McDonald's, too.  The flavor of a McDonald's beef patty is the same whether that patty is going into a regular hamburger, a McDouble, or a Big Mac. It's comforting in its familiarity. And that's the same way it is with the chicken McDonald's serves. A chicken patty from a sandwich has the same chicken flavor as the McBites and even the McNuggets - the big difference is in the texture of the different products and the way they are incorporated into the menu. It's still McDonald's chicken.

So that leads me to the nitty-gritty: Just how are these McBite thingies?  Not too bad. They are truly chunks of white meat, tender, not too dried out even when the pieces are small. Very similar in flavor to other McD's chicken products, as I mentioned, a little salty but otherwise kinda bland. They'd be better with some black pepper in the breading. Good for a snack and well worth at least a try.

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