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Flight Reviewof ANA: JFK to Narita, Tokyo, and Narita, Tokyo to Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok

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ANA 777-ER, which I took at JFK

Hi, everyone!  I am in Bangkok now.  I would like to review my ANA flights from JFK to Bangkok via Toky0, Narita.

ANA or All Nippon Airways is an airline of Japan, which was listed as 5 star airlines by Skytrax.  Here is the link to the page.

The airline is a launching customer of B787 Dreamliner with Boeing. I have been looking forward to flying with ANA because I have heard man good things about the airlines.

Ok Let’s start the review.

 

From JFK to Narita, the aircraft was B777-300ER.  The flight was scheduled to take off at 12:30 p m.  The flight was on time and the boarding procedure was very smooth.  They actually departed 1o minutes before the schedule time.

The ANA aircraft is equipped with state of art entertainment system.

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They aircraft provided a way more than enough legrooms.

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ANA flight attendants were always smiling, and it was absolutely a good example of Japanese hospitality.

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As soon as seat belt sign was off, they started to serve snack.  The snack was Japanese assorted crackers.  I choose to drink “KABOSU” drink, which is Japanese lime drink, and made especially for ANA.  Both the snack and the drink were wonderful.

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After about an hour and half, they started to serve first meal.  My choice was Chicken cutlet Milanese.  ANA’s food was delicious.  It was more filling than I thought it was.

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Surprisingly, they also served ice cream, as well!

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After the first meal, the lights became dim, and because I took sleeping med, I was already sleepy by the time I was done with the meal.

I guess about at the half of the flight, they served a sandwich as a snack.

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The way they seasoned it was really Japanese, and that made me feel at home.

Ok the last meal were served 2 hours and half before the aircraft arrived in Narita Airport.

My choice was scrambled egg with chicken sausage.  It tasted real good.!

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OK now, the second flight, from Narita, Tokyo to Bangkok!

 

The flight was actually on time.  They made an announcement that at the very moment of taking off, one of the passenger decided to not to get on board and cancelled his/her trip.  I never heard anything like that before, but I thought it was really interesting

The second aircraft was B-777-200, which was actually older that I thought it was going to be. But the seat were comfortable, and there was enough leg room.

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The service was excellent, and the ANA flight attendants were always smiling, as well.

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As you can see, unfortunately,  the entertainment system were rather old, and I had a difficulty operating it.  But I thought it was enough for 5 1/2 hours flight.

About an hour later after take off, they started to serve dinner. My choice was Japanese Hamburger stake.

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Although, ANA flight attendant recommended Japanese food, but to me this is a real Japanese food. I have not had Japanese style Hamburger stake for a while, so it was so satisfying.

OK, about an hour and half before the arrival, surprisingly, they served a danish.

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I was surprised that they actually gave out something before landing.

Overall, my experience with ANA was excellent.  I will take their flight again from Jakarta to Tokyo on the way back to the U.S.

So I am excited. Go ANA!

I will fly to Laos tomorrow, so I will do more reviews as of tomorrow, so check em out, and bon voyage!

 

 

“Halal Restaurants” open in Tokyo, Narita Airport

Hi Everyone, and for my Muslim viewers, I hope you are having a good Ramadan this year.

I wanted to share an interesting information.

At Narita international Airport, which is the largest international airport in Metropolitan Tokyo area, will open two restaurants which carry Halal food.

Two them of are certified by Malaysia Halal Consultation and Training.

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One is a Soba restaurant called KINEYAMUGIMARU.  The restaurant is located at Terminal 1 Center building, 5th FL.

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Entrance to Kineya Mugimaru

 

Another one is Tempra restaurant called TENTEI, which is located on the Main building 4th FL in terminal 2.

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Entrance to Tentei

 

In addition, I just found out that Narita Airport has Muslim Prayer Rooms.

I am so glad that Narita Airport is Muslim friendly now.

Well, as for me, I will be off to Bangkok, Luang Prabang, Hanoi,  KL, Bali, Tokyo, and Singapore in two weeks, so I will update my blog as I visit these cities.  I am so ecited.

So until next time, Bon Voyage!

 

 

 

How to ride the subway in Tokyo

tokyo_metro   Hi all!  Well, I am back.  I had to deal with many issues and it took a while for me to post a new blog. Well, here I am now.

Today, I want to talk a little about how to take a subway in Tokyo. If you know how to take a subway, most likely, you can go almost anywhere in Tokyo.

I was born in Tokyo, I so I do not have much anxiety taking subways, but even Japanese people who are from outside of Tokyo always tell me taking a subway in Tokyo is too complied.

Well,  it must be very complicated because Tokyo is such a big city, and there are 13 different subway lines running through the city of Tokyo.

Each subway line has its own “hub” stations which are connected with other subway lines, as well as to many different trains on the grounds which is owned by many private train companies, such as JR East, Tobu Railway Company, and Tokyu Railway. The entire map looks like this!

 

a8751e3db1a23b715150b23775309b7b   Shocking right? Well do not worry,  I will tell you how to take a subway step by step.     GET A SUBWAY MAP! Since subway system in Tokyo is too complicated, I recommend you to download subway map or obtain subway map at train station nearby you.

You can download subway map HERE!

BUT A TICKET

You buy ticket at the ticket vending machine at at the airport.  It is usually situated next to ticket gates.  It usually look like this.

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Ok, do you notice that you see the map above the machines?  The map will tell you the fare to your destination.

In Tokyo, subway are varies depend on the destination.  You need to buy the right fare to ride subways in Japan?

Do you think you can fake it?  NO I will tell you later why you can’t.

So how can you choose the right fare of the ticket.

Here is the screen of the vending machine.

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The machine will give you a choice to display in English or Japanese.  You choose English, and the rest follow the instruction of the screen,  Then you are good to go.

TICKET GATE

In order for you to get to the subway station, you need to get through ticket gates.  You insert the ticket yo purchased in the machine, and if there is not anything wrong, they will let you in.

The thing is you need to get through the gate at your destination to get out from the subway station.  I you did not pay the right fare, you are going to be stopped by the machine, and will be asked to pay the right are by the staff at the station, whose office is locate right next to the ticket gates on the way out.

The gate looks like this.

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 I guess you see the pink booth.  They are the customer service, as well as, where you will fix your are, if your are is short.

So now you are about to take a subway.  You may lost or wander in the subway platform, because it is so large.  I recommend you to follow the direction boards.  It look like this.

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Or like this… CA250188

 

You will get where you need to get to.   GETTING ON THE SUBWAY CAR Ok, you get to the platform, which look like this…

 

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SUBWAYS IN JAPAN IS SUPER PUNCTUAL If you know the timetable of the subway, you cal always get to your destination on time.  All the trans including subways, trains on the grounds and Bullet Trains are all punctual. You can also see how soon your train will come by checking the display above you.

 

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You do not have to worry about running late, because 99% of all time time.

But just in case, PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR TOKYO SUBWAYS PLANNERS AND FARE FINDER.

 

STAND ON LINE BEFORE WHILE WAITING FOR YOUR TRAIN

You NEED to stand on line to wait for you to board on the train.  The line looks like this

(courtesy of Omiya Express)

As you saw on the Youtube video,  people will be on line while waiting.  When the trains comes, you will let the passenger out first, then you get in later.  This rule applies all the time, and as you saw on  Youtube, the rules are strictly  enforced.

 

BE AWARE OF “LADIES ONLY”  CARDS. There are some “Ladies only” cards among all the cars connected.

 

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For prevent women from groper, in Japan, Ladies only cares are available during the rush hours in subways of Tokyo. Gus, do not get in there, you will be in trouble.

 

 

NO CELL PHONE PLEASE!

Lastly, it is strictly  prohibited to use cell phone either in the car or in the platform of subways in Japan.  This rule is extended to most of the public transportation, maybe except taxis.

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TURN OFF YOUR MUSIC

In all the public transportation system, it is important to mind others privacy and secure peach.  Tuen off your music in the train car please.

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NO GROPING! (LOL)

Groping is a serious offense under the criminal law of Japan.

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OK, You got it? Now you can ride Tokyo subways like a pro.

I hope you will enjoy the ride with world’s safest, cleanest and most convenient subway.

I hope you have a good day, and Bon Voyage!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Be a IKI or Good Customer at Sushi Bar in Japan

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Sushi Chefs in Japan

 

When you go to Sushi bars in Japan, you may feel little different, rather confused, because there seems to be many rules and manners you should keep at Sushi bars in Japan.

Overall, in Japanese culture, people live within may unspoken agreements and rules.  So naturally, there are some unspoken agreement between customers and sushi chef s when you visit sushi bar in Japan.

 

For example, at sushi bar in Metropolitan Tokyo area, where Edomae  (meaning Tokyo style) Sushi or what we call “sushi” in America (Maki and Nigiri) originated from,  it is important for the people to keep their “cool,” or so called IKI.  Tokyo natives need to be IKI all the times, and that rule applies to the chefs and customers in sushi bars, as well.

 

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Kyo-Zushi from Kyoto

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“Kaisen” or sea food Chirashi Sushi of Kishi Sushi, Kyoto

In IKI spirit, people have to be generous and trustworthy.  Therefore, if you go to an established sushi bar, they do not have menu.  The chef provides the best he has for the day and the customer enjoy the best of all, and if customer is satisfied, they will pay.

Sometimes the bill is higher than you thought. But you need to pay up without asking, The logic of this is that you went to eat at the restaurant because you trust the quality and service of the restaurant.  And the chef is not supposed to rip you off.

SCARED?

Do not worry, many sushi restaurants in Japan welcomes foreign customers, and if you have some tips, you can be a IKI customer in sushi bar in Japan.

 

 

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President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at legend sushi restaurant  Sukiyabashi-Jiro (April 2014)

 

Here are some tips you may wanna know TO BE A IKI CUSTOMER:

 

1. Portions?

If you go to sushi bar during the lunch time, it may be easier for you to order lunch menu. For dinner, I would recommend you to order 10 PAIRS OF SUSHI.  (Remember, in Japan, sushi always comes with a pair, not a piece!)  You can also ask sushi chef to give you a small portion of rice balls.

Say “Shari Chisame De!”  It means I’d like my sushi rice portion smaller.

10 pairs should look something like this.

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2. What toppings of sushi should I start with and end with?

In IKI culture of Tokyo, it is recommended to order sushi by “Omakase.”  Omakae means menu of the day or a course assorted by chef.  People say, if you are IKI customer always  starts with EGG CAKE.  I sort of agree with them  because, taste of egg determines the skill of the chef.  I you feel funny with the taste, you can always leave the restaurant, and if you are IKI customer, you should do so to let the chef know that he/she is doing something wrong.

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Sushi with Egg Cake

Then, you wanna go on with WHITE MEAT, RED MEAT, RICH, and lastly, MAKI, to be a IKI customer.

For example, you can stat with Egg. Then go to Flatfish, Fatty Tuna, Eel, then lastly, dried gourd strips.

 

 

3. Ask the price of toppings

Even as an IKI customer, you can still ask chef approximate prices of the toppings, especially if the toppings are seasonable and you do not have any idea how much they are.

It is ok to ask!   Especially if you are not familiar with the toppings, you can always ask the chef for an idea. Communication with chef is a key to be a IKI customer.

 

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Communicatioin between chef and customers is a key at sushi bar in Japan. At one of the most well know sushi restaurant in Tokyo, Ginza Kyubey .

4.  Eat quickly!

IKI customers eat sushi as soon as it is served.  Freshness is important for sushi.  Also IKI customers do not stay at the restaurant for a long time.  IKI sushi customers usually spend 20-3o minutes at sushi restaurant and go.  Staying at sushi bar too long for nothing is totally against the law of IKI culture.

 

5. Eat with hand or with chop sticks?

Both of them are ok.

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Dipping sushi with fingers

 

 

6. Dip the topping side of sushi in soy sauce!

It may sound silly but there is a recommended ways for IKI customer to pursue when eating sushi.

Dip only the toppings in soy sauce, and put the topping side of sushi on your tongue.

Also, SO NOT EVER PUT TOO MUCH SOY SAUCE ON SUSHI!  This is a no-no for sushi master, and it really damages the sensitive taste of the sushi.

if you keep this rule, not only you are a IKI customerm but also you can enjoy the best out of your sushi order.

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How to dip sushi in soy sauce. Look at the amount of the sauce. Only little bit is always appropriate in eating Japanese food.

 

7. Refrain from smoking!

IKI sushi customer does not smoke in the restaurant because it bothers other IKI customers and it actually damages the taste of sushi.

 

8. Do not drink too much!

IKI customer go to sushi bar to enjoy the taste of sushi and communication with sushi chef.  Getting drunk is another no-no for IKI customer of sushi restaurant.  IKI customer will never get drunk and mess up other customers time and money at sushi restaurant.

 

9.  Do not wear too much perfume!

Again, combination of sensitive taste, smell of the food and the looks of the food is the three major elements of Japanese food on whole.  Wearing too much perfumes damages all those three elements.  IKI sushi customers will not dare to do so.

 

Got it?  Try these rules on your next trip to Japan, and I guarantee that you will be the coolest IKI sushi Customer in Japan!

Until next time, Bon Voyage!

 

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Taxis in Japan: “Do not open the door by yourself、let the driver do it for you!”

 

 

You may have a chance to take a taxi if you visit Japan.  Taxi’s in Japan are rather expensive, but very comfortable and safe.

Click here for taxi fare calculator in Japan.

Services provided by taxi drivers are excellent.  They always use meters.  They are very polite.  They always ask passengers the route they use to take them to the destination, and if they know the short way to the destination, they always make a suggestion polity.

But most distinctive about Japanese Taxi is that that the doors of taxis in Japan are AUTOMATIC.

Meaning, you do not open and close the door by yourself when you get in and get off the car.

Let’s see the YouTube video! (Courtesy of CZero Productions and Video Ariane)

Yes, it is not magic.  It opens and closes automatically.

Here is how the inside one of the taxi in Japan. (courtesy of Ruth Jarmam Shiraisi)

Did you like it?

If so, when you come to Japan next time, enjoy your ride with Taxis in Japan!

 

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Inside a taxi in Japan.

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Taxis in Tokyo day

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Taxi stand for smaller sized taxi smaller taxis are cheaper. Shinjuku Station, Tokyo

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Sign that taxi is for hire, Tokyo, Japan

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Taxi by night, Tokyo Japan

Taxis are parked as drivers wait for customers on a road in Tokyo

Taxi on the line the pick up passengers Tokyo, Japan

And lastly, please enjoy one of my favorate sights, Shinjuku At Night!

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Shinjuku at Night

 

 

See the link below to reserve a taxi for you when in Tokyo.

NIHON KOTSU

HINOMARU TAXI

KM TAXI

TOKYO MUSEN (Japanese language only)

CHECKER CAB

EDS Expert Drivers Service for hire a taxi for city tour and for your transportation in Tokyo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Culture of Japan: Kids Menu in Japan, “OKOSAMA LUNCH”

 

Japan is a food heaven.  As a matter of fact, the capital city, Tokyo is that has most numbers of Zagat rated restaurants in the world.  It also has variety of food, frpm the Western to the Asians to the Africans. You name it, they got it.  Unlike in NYC you don’t have to spend much money to  eat “good food,” in Japan.

You may find food which is found only in Japan. As a matter of fact. Japan has a unique food culture.  They are very good with merging foreign food to theirs.

You curious?  may I introduce one.  One of the menus which can only be found in Japan is called “Okosama Lunch,” or “Kids Lunch.”

In major department stores in Japan, they usually have many restaurants on the top of the floor of the building. They usually have main diner, where they serve variety of food.

You can usually find displays of famous fake food samples at the entrance.

 

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Menu at the entrance of the diner at a department store

 

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Menu at the entrance of the diner at a department store

 

 

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Mitsukoshi family Restaurant, “Landmark

 

They usually have menu called “OKOSAMA LUNCH.”

Okosama lunch is a kids’ menu said to be invented in 1930 by a chief manager of Mitsukoshi food department, Taro Ando.

Mitsukoshi is one of the most prestige department store found in 1673.

Ando came to an idea to have variety of  food kids like in one plate and decorate it nicely.  The plate usually has molded rice with a flag of a country (could be any country) thrust on top.

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Okosama lunch with Japan and US flags on top of rice

Since it was during the Depression, Ando thought it would be nice to have something for kids to enjoy looking and good in their mouths.

Okosama lunch usually have kids’ favorite, such as, hambagu or hamburger steak, red Vienna sausages, Spaghetti Neapolitan, Ebi Fry or Fried Shirim,  Pirafu or Pilaf rice and Purin or Flan.

 

 

Now you can find Okosama Lunch anywhere in Japan.  At some restaurant, they have age limit for this fun menu and serve the menu only for kids. But it really depends on your luck if you can enjoy this fun food or not.

The food is very fun to look at to and enjoyable to eat.

Next time when you visit Japan, you should try this Okosama Lunch to have a good time with food and enjoy a diversity of Japanese food.

 

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Bullet Train Okosama Lunch

 

 

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Chinese Kid’s Menu at Kobe Concerto

 

 

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Okosama Lunch at a French restaurant, Hayamaan, Tokyo

 

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Okosama Lunch at Fujiya Restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only In Asia!: Special Menu at McDonald’s in Japan and Other Asian Countries

Whenever I visit Japan, right after I clear the immigration and pick up my bag, first thing I do is going to McDonald’s in the airport and grab a burger.

Why to McDonald’s?  Because there is a menu available only in Japan. That is TERIYAKI MC BURGER. of McDonald’s Japan.

The burger consists of burger patty seasoned with special teriyaki sauce, topped with Japanese Style Mayonnaise (It tastes different and we Japanese are pretty specific about the mayo) and Lettuces.

Other hamburger restaurants in Japan sell “Teriyaki Burger,” as well.

Burger King Japan have “Teriyaki Whooper Burger.”

Mos Burger, which is a Japanese Burger restaurant which also has branched throughout Asia and Australia, also has their version of  teriyaki burger on their menu.

The combination of Japanese Mayo and sukiyaki sauce creates unique and exquisite taste of the burger.

McDonald’s Japan also have exclusive burger called “Ebi Fillet-O,” meaning Fillet-O-Shrimp.

It is a burger consists of fried croquette filled with shrimp with mayo and tomato based sauce, Sauce Aurore, which is one of the famous sauce in French recipe.

I always order the burger with ice Japanese tea calles “Sokennbucha.”

Sokenbicya is another exclusive menu only in McDonald’s  in Japan.

Because Sokenbicya tea at McDonald’s in Japan is SUGAR FREE, so it is so healthy and good  in my mouth.

McDonald’s Japan sometimes offer seasonal menu including “Teitama Burger” and “Chicken Teritama.”

Teritama Burger is basically Teriyaki Burger topped with fried egg.

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Teritama Burger

Chicken Teritama has chicken cutlet instead of burger patty.

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Package of Teritama Burger

Beside food, one thing that makes Mikky D’s In Japan stands out from Mikky d’s in the U. S. is their services.  At McDonald’s in Japan service is faster and the employees are always polite and smiling. They always tell customers things like “We are running out of French Fries.  We are making a fresh ones.  Could you wait for another three minutes?” As a matter of the fact, on the menu board of each McDonald’s in Japan has a price of smile, which is ZERO Yen or $0.00.

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Smile 0 Yen at McDonald’s

As a matter of fact, when I was a kid I asked one of of the worker, “Can I have a smile?”  Surprisingly the young lady at the contour smiled at me. I am dead serious! I linked a YouTube video of services at Mikky D in Japan.

By the way, Japan is not the only area that have special menus catered for local needs.

For example it is pretty famous that at McDonald’s in India, they do not serve beef due to the religious issue. They serve burgers made with veritable or chicken. They serve a burger called Chicken Maharaja Mac. It is a triple” chicken burger with onion lettuce  and tomato.

They also have “McAloo Tikki,” which patty is made with potato and peas, and “Veg Pizza McPuff,” which is Vegetable Pizza Roll.

I heard in McDonald’s in Hawaii serves Local Local Deluxe Breakfast Platter which features Spam meat and Rice.

They also have a local menu,  “Saimin” which is noodle soup developed in Hawaii.

At McDonald’s in the Philippines, they serve Chicken with Spaghetti set.

In McDonald’s in Malaysia, they sell “Bubur Ayam McD,” which is congee or rice soup which is a popular breakfast in Malaysia.

In Indonesia, a neighboring country of Malaysia, McDonald’s Indonesia sells Bubur Ayam, too.

They also have “Panas Special,” meaning “Hot Special,” which is a plat of friend chicken and white rice. In Indonesia, they have a dish called “Ayam Gorneng,” which is Indonesian style Fried Chicken. Ayam Goreng is most love dish among Indonesians and always accompanied by a bowl of rice. That is why they sell this product.

In McDonald’s In Thailand, they serve corn or pineapple pie.

McDonald’s in Hong Kong sells Sausage N’ Egg Twisty PastaGrilled Chicken Twisty Pasta and Ham N’ Egg Twisty Pasta. They are basally macaroni Chinese style soup and toppings.

They also serve rice dish called ‘Rice Fun Bowl.” It is a rice with corn, broccoli sauteed, and and choice of beef or chicken.

Wherever you go, anywhere in the world, you can find McDonald’s.  It would be fun to taste the exclusive menu of McDonald’s of the world and have comparisons.

Please message me if you find any special menu of McDonald’s of your next destination!