McDonald’s latest ploy to woo the Chinese palate, Spicy McPork balls are basically chicken McNuggets with pork instead of chicken. They reminded us of the minced fillings of pork baozi if they were smaller, misshapen, and fried – like down-on-their-luck lion’s head meatballs.
Literally translating to “crispy spicy piggy balls” (脆辣猪猪球), they fortunately aren’t pig genitalia (though if they were, at least you’d know for sure what went into them). Rather, they entail minced pork that’s breaded, fried, and distributed in the classic unevenly sized meat-pellets inside a paper carton. Their crispy casings crunch audibly like chicken nuggets, but the inside is darker, richer, and more filling, albeit a tad dry.
No need for dipping sauce here, the spicy dressing is built in, lending them some tingle. It’s not the organic burn of Sichuan or Hunan food, but a more artificial, MSG-laced heat, like someone dumped in a packet of that spicy powder used for instant noodles – which is to be expected. So far it looks like they’re a hit amongst Chinese patrons, and if you’re a fan of chicken McNuggets you’d should definitely give these a crunch.
9.5RMB for a box of 14, 29RMB for a box of 55.
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].