McDonald's Fries Around The World

Though fast food in America offers a kind of mind-numbing consistency — you're pretty much going to get the same stuff, made the same way, no matter what state you're in — things can be weird and wonderful elsewhere in the world. This is particularly true for McDonald's, a fast food juggernaut that has conquered the globe by matching the tastes of international markets. According to its website, McDonald's has over 38,000 locations worldwide, and while iconic items like the McFlurry and Chicken McNuggets have all received twists beyond the American standard, its classic French fries might take the prize for the most variations.


The Big Mac may be named after the company, but fries are arguably the most famous and inimitable item in the McDonald's repertoire. If you're not going to make your own French fries at home, a red cardboard sleeve from Mickey D's usually hits the spot, but imagine grabbing one in Japan, Norway, or India, where a plain, salted French fry is far from the only option. From the gravy-loaded fries of Australia to the sweet corn-seasoned fries of the Philippines, here are some of the most exciting variants McDonald's has offered.

India: Mexican Cheesy Fries

Yes, you read that right: In India, a favorite McDonald's menu item is Mexican Cheesy Fries, which get a dual drizzle of tangy salsa and nacho cheese. What makes this fry fusion food so popular? Funnily enough, Indian-Americans and immigrants to the U.S. have long had an affinity for the Tex-Mex chain Taco Bell, finding familiarity in its use of spicy sauces, flatbreads, and vegetarian options. Perhaps this explains why a salsa- and cheese-topped dish would go over well in India. 


Tasty sauces aren't the only thing that separates Indian McDonald's fries from the original American version: the ones in India are a vegetarian product. You might not even know that typical fries from the chain contain beef extract, which are meant to imitate the flavor of beef tallow, the original cooking medium for the potatoes (the company switched to vegetable oil in 1990). In India, there's no beef to be found, with respect to the nation's large Hindu population. The religion views the cow as a sacred animal not meant for human consumption. We're sure that the spicy punch of salsa in the Mexican Cheesy Fries makes up for the lack of (near-undetectable) beefy flavor.

Japan: McChoco Potato

McDonald's Japan branch has released so many fry variants that it's hard to focus on just one. To start with, there's the Kaketemiyo Carbonara fries, which boasted a sauce with a triple-threat of bacon, cheese, and black pepper. Still, one of the wildest examples has to be the 2016 limited edition McChoco Potato fries. This specialty product paired classic fries with a special double pack of white and milk chocolate sauce. Customers are encouraged to drizzle two sauces on the still-warm fries for the ultimate sweet and salty experience. 


First envisioned as a way to pump up sales in Japan, this cocoa-accented dish proved successful and spawned another sweet crossover, the Halloween Choco Potato. This version also offered a milk chocolate sauce, but traded the white chocolate for a neon orange spiced pumpkin icing. The Pumpkin Spice Fries, as they came to be known globally, proved to be a more controversial dish than its predecessor. Most reviewers seemed to have the same verdict: If you want a sweet and salty combo, stick to dipping your fries in your milkshake.

Australia: Gravy Loaded Fries

In Australia, McDonald's is known as Macca's, so if you want to try items exclusive to the Land Down Under, be sure to use the proper name with your cab driver. You'll want to do just that, too, because Maccas has offered many exciting menu items over the years. Australia was the first country to test out McCafés way back in 1993, but Gravy Loaded Fries were an even more beloved fixture. This item added a rich brown gravy to the fried potatoes, creating a substantial and savory snack. 


This dish was one part of the McDonald's "loaded" fry line, which offers its signature fries smothered in luxurious sauces. While gravy was a popular option, others included Loaded Guacamole Fries, Loaded Italian Fries, and Loaded Cheesy Bacon Fries. The latter enjoyed some Stateside fame when it was released for a limited time through the McDonald's Global Menu campaign. Unfortunately, the Gravy Loaded Fries would meet an unceremonious fate — they were discontinued in Australia in 2021. One die-hard fan has a petition on to bring the gravy-laden side dish back, but as of right now, there's no sign that it will return.   

Norway: Truffle Mayo & Parmesan Fries

Norway can brag about its own delicious version of loaded McDonald's fries. The country's Truffle Mayo & Parmesan Fries are not to be confused with the seasoning-coated Truffle Fries once offered in Singapore. This dish trades a seasoning packet for a truffle-infused mayo sauce, and finishes the whole thing off with an umami-rich sprinkling of Parmesan cheese flakes. Offered at one time in both Australia and Sweden, the mayo sauce also offers a nice hit of garlic. 


This gourmet dish isn't the only French fry innovation that has probably caused jealousy across the pond. Norwegians also get to enjoy the epically spicy McFlavor Fries Jalapeno & Cheese, a dish topped with seeded slices of jalapeño and a generous drizzle of nacho cheese sauce. These items might be so good that they could have caused a few road accidents. No, really — during the pandemic, a wave of car accidents across Norway reportedly occurred due to the popularity of restaurant takeout, which led to too many people eating while driving. McDonald's itself helped raise awareness for this issue with an ad asking drivers to keep their "eyes on the fries" – except in this case, the "fries" in question are the gold stripes painted on the road.


The Netherlands: Boerenfriet

Sometimes, changes to McDonald's fries have nothing to do with a rich sauce or flavorful seasoning pack; it's more about the shape. A perfect example is the Netherlands' Boerenfriet. Also known as farmer's fries, McDonald's Boerenfriet are meant to imitate the thick-cut, skin-on potato fries that one can find in almost every restaurant in the Netherlands. In addition to mimicking the country's favorite style of fried potatoes, it's also served with the people's favorite fry condiment: mayonnaise. 


McDonald's first unveiled this rustic fry in an attempt to boost flagging sales in the Dutch market. The Boerenfriet were made to accompany the chain's Maestro Burger, a double Angus beef patty burger complete with slices of bacon, aged cheddar cheese, fresh lettuce, and red onions. Meant to serve as a more high-quality option amongst less expensive fare, the Maestro meal was a massive success. While its popularity can't be chalked up solely to the homey charm of the Boerenfriet, the new fry shape seemed to suit the tastes of Dutch customers just fine.

Malaysia: Twister Fries

Another entry into the fun-shaped French fry category is McDonald's Malaysia's Twister Fries. Essentially the chain's take on curly fries, these spiral-shaped treats have long been a favorite among customers. Much like the Boerenfriets, Twister Fries were created to go with a specific sandwich; this time, it's the Prosperity Burger. First rolled out during Lunar New Year season in 1994, this burger features either a chicken or double beef patty slathered in pepper sauce and sautéed onions, then finished off with a long sesame bun. And that's not the end of it — you'll want a Prosperity McFizz, a tropical soda in Pink Guava or Pineapple flavors, to complete the meal.


If you read any fan buzz around the Prosperity meal, you'll see much of it directed toward the fries and their undeniably addictive quality. Unfortunately for Americans, the only time these beauties came to the United States was during a brief stint at McDonald's Chicago International restaurant. But if you're lucky enough to make a trip to Malaysia during Lunar New Year, chances are you can get a taste of these twisted fries to celebrate. 

Canada: Poutine

Some of us can probably guess how Canadian McDonald's likes to dock up its fries. Poutine is one of Canada's greatest culinary contributions to the world, so of course locations in the Great White North offer a take on the Quebecois classic. Featuring rich gravy and salty cheese curds, McDonald's Poutine was first offered in Quebec province. It proved to be such a hit that it quickly spread to the rest of the country. To maintain the quality that Canadians would come to expect from the dish, McDonald's version uses authentic Quebec cheese curds. 


It's only natural that the fast food giant would release a variation on a variation to get even more sales. The company has since rolled out a Spicy Buffalo Grilled Chicken Poutine in Quebec. These special edition fries keep the gravy and cheesy curds, but add in fried chicken, spicy buffalo sauce, and sliced green onions. This brings both a tangy kick and about a thousand extra calories to the original dish, but who's counting calories when heading to McDonald's? 

Fiji: Sweet Potato Fries

Just like Australians, Fijians call McDonald's Maccas, and locations on the island country don't vary much compared to ones in its neighboring nations (though it does boast an outstanding tropical locale to go with your Big Mac). One thing that does set Fiji's Maccas apart is its fries. Instead of ordering a different flavor or shape of the chain's classic potato fries, you can enjoy rustic Sweet Potato Fries with an assortment of delectable sauces, including garlic aioli, barbecue sauce, and sweet Thai chili sauce.


Like some of the other fries mentioned on this list, this dish made a brief appearance at the McDonald's international restaurant in Chicago. In fact, before Fiji started peddling the sweet potato fries, McDonald's did a limited test run of the dish in Texas back in 2015. It doesn't seem that the crispy orange fries will be coming back to the States (or anywhere else) anytime soon, so you likely have to head to Fiji for a taste in the meantime.  

The United Kingdom: Halloumi Fries

If mozzarella sticks are more your speed than French fries, this next dish is for you. In the United Kingdom, McDonald's occassionally serves up Halloumi Fries, which eschew the potatoes for sticks of the melty, chewy cheese. Featuring a rich tomato dipping sauce (that isn't quite the same as marinara nor ketchup), customers can order either a small four-pack or a "sharebox" of 12 fries.


This halloumi fry idea followed on the heels of a 2022 Taste of Cyprus and Spain menu campaign. The breaded cheese treats proved to be a smash success, returning the following year  and even into 2024. The fries come and go with random seasonal promotions, sometimes popping up in summer, and other times at Easter. Much like the McRib in other nations, it seems like the fries' rarity only solidifies its cult status among U.K. consumers. 

The Philippines: McShaker Fries

Also known as Shake Shake fries, McShaker fries are a super popular option in Japan, China, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The concept is simple yet fun: Customers receive a plain bag of french fries and a packet of seasoning, and are encouraged to combine the two and give it a vigorous shake before enjoying. What's unique about the Philippines' version is that customers can enjoy some seasonings not found in other countries.


At McDonald's or (McDo's, as Filipinos call it), the McShaker trend offers flavors like Sour Cream and Cheddar, Creamy Truffle, Pizza, Cheesy Butter, and Garlic Butter. For a more exciting option that skewed on the sweet side, customers could also try Honey Butter Shake Shake fries or a spicy-sweet BBQ version. Most recently, McDonald's has catered to a nostalgic, distinctly Filipino flavor by offering a sweet corn seasoning. This flavor is meant to imitate a popular Filipino street food, which combines cheese, corn kernels, and sweetened condensed milk. 

Belgium: Smokey Chili Tomatoes McFlavor Fries

Belgium takes its fries extremely seriously, so McDonald's has to go all out to keep customers happy. Just like the Dutch, diners in Belgium like their fries with mayo, so rest assured that you can find lots of this condiment at a local Mickey D's — but you can also find more exciting options, like the overwhelmingly loaded Smokey Chili Tomatoes McFlavor Fries. Combining fresh pico di gallo and a warm chipotle sauce with its standard fries, the crunch of the raw onion and the juiciness of the ripe tomato provide a satisfying complement to the crispy potatoes. 


While these loaded fries are one of the most popular options, McDonald's has also offered up several other McFlavor options, including the Jalapeño Cheese McFlavor Fries, which are different from the similar Norwegian menu item and include guacamole-flavored mayo, cheese sauce, and crunchy fried onions. There's also the Cheesy Bacon McFlavor Fries, which are self-explanatory. All of these flavors come and go with seasonal promotions in Belgium, adding a level of mystique not unlike the U.K.'s halloumi fries.

France: Veggie Fries

In 2023, France became the first country to enjoy McDonald's Vegetable Fries. Made of beets, carrots, and parsnips, these colorful fries are certainly eye-catching and likely to drum up curiosity, but they might have actually come about due to global potato shortages. This issue has already affected McDonald's operations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Japan. In the latter country, customers were only allowed to order small-sized fries for a time in 2021. 


France's veggie fries have an almost identical nutritional value as the traditional McDonald's fry, so it seems like health isn't the aim of the product. For a less extreme departure from the standard, you can try another innovation courtesy of French McDonald's: Winter Fries, a wavy, more wide and flat fry with a decidedly rustic look (think of a ruffled potato chip, but thicker). These fries were recently offered at the McDonald's international restaurant in Chicago, and the menu recommends a traditional side of ketchup for the more unusual-looking dish.

Mexico: McPatatas

South of the border, Mexico enjoys a truly delicious McDonald's potato dish known as McPatatas. These special thick-cut fries are modeled after patatas bravas, a Spanish fried potato dish served with a smoky tomato sauce. McDonald's version skips the bravas sauce, but keeps the thick wedge shape and well-spiced coating on the potatoes. If you're still craving a bit of sauce, many locals opt to top off their McPatatas with — what else? — McQueso, a neon orange cheese condiment befitting of the chunky fries. 


Outside of Mexico, you can occasionally find McPatatas at some McDonald's locations in Panama, but that's it. And you won't find the Mexican Cheesy Fries that are so popular in India anywhere in Mexico. Why? Perhaps because the fries are always more golden on the other side. While the items on this list are meant to cater to a single country's tastes, you might have noticed that many of them carry an influence from other nations. After getting familiar with these mouthwatering fry variants, we're sure you can empathize with wanting what another country has.