Panko-covered nuggs appear to be missing one vital element.

McDonald’s customers in Japan are used to being treated to exclusive releases that cater to local tastes, so when the Golden Arches announced they would be bringing out Katsu Curry Chicken McNuggets, we immediately thought Japanese customers had struck it lucky yet again.

However, as it turns out, this Japanese-inspired menu item isn’t going to be available in Japan at all — instead, it’ll be on McDonald’s menus in the U.K.

▼ McDonald’s dropped the bombshell yesterday with this tweet on their official U.K. Twitter account.

While the U.K. might seem like an odd home for such a Japanese menu offering, katsu curry has become hugely popular there, largely thanks to British restaurant chain Wagamama, which was one of the first to familiarise diners with the dish.

In fact, katsu curry has become so popular throughout the U.K. that it’s taken on its own identity. Here in Japan, katsu curry consists of katsu, or “fried cutlet” — a piece of breaded fried meat, usually made with pork — and curry, traditionally made with Japanese curry roux, which has a distinct flavour.

However, over in Britain, the Japanese-style curry roux has widely come to be known as “katsu curry”, and anything featuring that flavour is marketed as such, with or without the important katsu cutlet, which, from a Japanese point-of-view, makes it katsu curry.

The Embassy of Japan in the U.K. even put out this explanatory video on their Twitter account to explain what katsu curry really is.

So, with all that in mind, it’s heartening to see that the new Katsu Curry Chicken McNuggets puts the breaded meat, or the “katsu” in the spotlight, and covers them tantalisingly in a generous-looking coating of Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs. 

The coating really makes the nuggets look legit, but what about the sauce? Strangely, instead of adding a Japanese curry roux sauce, which would recreate the Japanese dish perfectly, McDonald’s has decided to serve the nuggets with the chain’s classic sweet curry dip.

This decision is one that will no doubt clench the fists of katsu curry traditionalists, but we’ll just have to wait and see what the verdict is once customers get a taste of the new nuggs when they’re released in stores around the U.K. from 30 December.

A box of six McNuggets will set customers back GBP3.59 (US$4.80), while a nine-piece box will be priced at GBP4.09 and a 12-piece box priced at GBP5.99.

And remember, there’s nothing stopping you from making up your own batch of Japanese curry to dip the new nuggs in if you so desire, which is what we’d definitely be doing if they were ever released here!

Source: Twitter/@McDonaldsUK
Top image: Flickr/House Buy Fast 
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