We put this McDonald’s claim to the test using the power of spicy sauces.

Summer is the time when many want to kick it up a notch in terms of spice, and McDonald’s in Japan is no exception. For their annual summer menu, they’re offering Spicy Chicken McNuggets for a limited time! While these spicy nuggs have appeared on the menu before in Japan and other countries, this release comes with new sauces to make them even spicier.

Our Japanese-language reporter Yayoi Saginomiya is known as a “spice hunter”; she’s always on the lookout to try the spiciest foods available. So when she heard that these Spicy Chicken McNuggets were advertised as being “so spicy that they’ll knock you out,” she had to get in on that.

▼ The fire-red color of the chicken does look pretty promising.

On the underside of the lid is a message that reads, “Make sure you don’t get KO’ed by the spice!” A promising omen.

Yayoi liked that she could see the chili pepper used in the recipe to make it bright red, a promising sign in the world of spice hunters. The recipe also includes garlic, onion, white pepper, and black pepper to give the nuggets more flavor.

And here’s the part you’ve probably been waiting for: the sauces. Unlike their 2018 Spicy McNugget options of spicy sauce and sour cream and onion, this year only offers spicy options: Black Mapo Sauce and Jalapeno Cheese Sauce.

Let’s start with the Black Mapo Sauce. If you’ve ever tried mapo tofu, you’ll know about the tingling–not stinging–spice of the Chinese peppers used in a typical recipe. This sauce tastes a bit ketchup-y compared to a traditional mapo sauce, but the flavors of the sweet bean sauce and soybean sauce used in the mix come through.

Yayoi was worried that the two spices wouldn’t mesh well together, but she was happily proven wrong! And it was pretty spicy.

The clear winner, though, was the Jalapeno Cheese Sauce. Unlike Japan McDonald’s previous Cheddar Cheese and Cheese Fondue sauce releases, this one has a strong but refreshing kick from the spicy green peppers. If you love cheese and spice, you might want to ask for an extra packet of this!

In conclusion, while Yayoi thought these McNuggets had some legit spice, it wasn’t nearly enough to knock out a spice pro like her. She did like that you were able to basically customize the level of spice with your sauce choice, though! If you just want a bit of spice, you could also ask for one of the standards like Honey Mustard or BBQ. Oh, and it might be too much for kids that are sensitive to spice.

A five-piece Spicy Chicken McNugget is available for 200 yen (US$1.88) at McDonald’s restaurants around Japan. Both the nuggets and the sauces are only out for a limited time, so get your hands on them before it’s too late! (We’re already missing the Creamy Corn Sauce…)

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[ Read in Japanese ]