After his fictional hometown and stomping grounds of Gotham City, there are few metropolitan areas with whom Batman shares more of a bond than the real-life city of Hong Kong. He leaps from the top of the iconic IFC tower in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, has inspired legions of Occupy Central protesters clad in his signature black and yellow color scheme, and – perhaps most importantly – spurred the recent creation of a limited edition “Diner Double Beef'” burger available at McDonald’s restaurants located in the Hong Kong SAR.
In the wake of President Paxson’s controversial comments on superheroes last year, we at BlogDailyHerald decided it was absolutely essential that our Hong Kong correspondent sample the Diner Double Beef and rule on whether it’s truly a dish fit for the Caped Crusader himself.
The Diner Double beef costs HK$ 30.80 (slightly under $4 US) – a full meal, with accompanying “squeezy cheese fries” and “apple-green tea,” will run you HK$ 37.80 ($4.87 US). The burger comes in a snazzy box emblazoned with the Bat-mask (is that the term for his mask? it should be), as do the squeezy cheese fries.
The BatBurger (McDonald’s, you’re welcome to use this title for your next campaign) comes with two beef patties, an egg patty, a slice of cheese, and onions. Sauces include steak sauce and a white sauce that tastes like a cross between Big Mac special sauce and tartar sauce – whatever that may be called. The Squeezy Cheese Fries are french fries, bacon bits, and “squeezy’ cheese.” The Apple Green Tea is green tea, flavored with apple and served with ice.
The verdict? There are many ways one could go about describing the Diner Double Beef, but “Bruce Wayne would visit a McDonald’s restaurant and order this burger” is not one of them – that is, of course, unless we’re talking Batman Begins-era Bruce Wayne, where he tried to undergo as many hardships as possible in a quest to train himself to become the Dark Knight. Why? The flavors just don’t work.
The egg-beef pairing, so marvelous in the franchise’s legendary breakfast McMuffins, simply doesn’t work with regular hamburger buns and steak sauce mucking about with the balance of flavors the McMuffin perfected. The unidentified white sauce tastes strangely acidic, and the onions simply don’t provide sufficient crunch and firmness to what is otherwise a very squishy sandwich. Maybe an addition of pickles – even tomato – might have improved the burger, but I don’t think anything could have saved it. Not even Batman himself.
The squeezy cheese fries, moreover, are about what you’d expect from a meal where the cashier literally gives you the squeezy cheese and “bacon-flavored bits” to add to the fries yourself. The feeling in one’s stomach after consuming a whole box of these things was what I imagined going to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and eating a handful of soil from the ground around the reactor complex would feel like (and everyone knows radioactive powers are Spiderman’s area of expertise).
The only bright spot in this extremely dark (k)night of a meal is the Apple Green Tea, a delightfully fizzy, fructose-filled blend of apple and standard green tea – a combination that sounds like it doesn’t work, but ended up being so good that I might go out of my way to visit a McDonald’s and order about six of these drinks again in the relatively near future. Forget the fact that this thing has enough sugar to kill a small pony – green tea has antioxidants. That means Bruce Wayne would probably drink it, right?
The ultimate takeaway? If you’re seeking to follow in the footsteps of Batman in his travels and adventures through Hong Kong, save your hard-earned HK dollars and skip the trial of tastebuds that is the BatBurger and accompanying meal. Instead, protest against the Chinese government or jump off the top of a skyscraper.
Images via and via Liam Trotzuk ’16.