It’s not just the Prosciutto Burger on the menu. 

It’s been over a month now since our Japanese-language reporter Ikuna Kamezawa landed in Spain, and after trying out the local ramen, she decided to visit McDonald’s to find out how different it was to what she was used to back home.

From what she’d heard, one thing she had to try at McDonald’s in Spain was the Prosciutto Burger. However, after visiting a few branches of the chain, she couldn’t find it on the menu anywhere.

After doing some research online, Ikuna found that the Prosciutto Burger is part of the chain’s morning menu. However, there was one problem with that, because most McDonald’s branches in Spain only open from midday or 1:00 p.m.

Ikuna was surprised by the late opening time, but after talking to her friend Pablo, she learnt that it was all due to the Spanish lifestyle. Pablo’s daily weekday schedule, for example, goes something like this:

8:00 a.m. Wake up
9:30 a.m. Go to work
2:00-4:30 p.m.  Lunch break (lunch, nap, etc.)
7:00 p.m. Leave work
9:30 p.m. Dinner
12:00 a.m. Bed

▼ Pablo describes himself as “a typical Spaniard”.

On weekends, Pablos’ schedule looks like this:

10:00 a.m. Wake up
10:30 a.m. Breakfast
1:30-2:00 p.m. Light meal before lunch
2:00 p.m. Lunch
3:30 p.m. Nap
6:00 p.m. Light meal before dinner
8:30 p.m. Dinner
11:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m. Go out to a bar with friends

For Pablo, and a lot of people in Spain, daily life revolves around eating, and mealtimes often stretch late into the night. It’s certainly a world away from what Ikuna is used to in Japan, especially as the sun sets about two hours earlier in her home country during summer, which means meals are eaten much earlier than in Spain.

▼ That’s why, if you go to McDonald’s even after it opens at midday in Spain, you’ll find it looking pretty empty like this.

If Ikuna was going to get her hands on a Prosciutto Burger, she was going to have to do some planning, because the McDonald’s branches near her all opened at “正午” (“noon”).

▼ Ikuna might be in Spain, but the language on her phone is still in Japanese.

Her research revealed that only one out of every five or six branches in major Spanish cities will open before midday, so Ikuna would have to aim for one of these to find that elusive Prosciutto Burger. After even more searching, Ikuna finally found one in Madrid that wasn’t too far from her, so she set off on her journey with an empty belly and dreams of raw cured ham.

▼ Finding a McDonald’s open before midday felt like a major achievement in itself, but Ikuna now had to navigate the touchscreen ordering system.

▼Sure enough, though, when she scanned the menu she found a side panel with the option for “Breakfast”.

Hitting the “Breakfast” button opened up a bevy of choices, some of which she’d never seen before. However, she was here for the Prosciutto Burger, listed here as “Tentación Ibérica“, so she selected that…

▼ …and found it came with a free drink, so she opted for green tea.

The burger came to 2.95 euros (US$3.42), which wasn’t bad considering it came with a free drink. You can also add some sides at an extra cost, and Ikuna opted for an apple to help freshen her palate at the end of the meal.

▼ Time to tuck into a McDonald’s breakfast in Spain!

For Ikuna, it seemed odd that she was given a pack of sugar with her green tea, but hey – whatever floats your boat. The Pickwick Green Tea was delicious, and she was happy it came separately to her cup of boiled water so she could adjust its strength to her liking.

Ikuna could hardly contain her excitement as she unwrapped the main star of the breakfast, and she was immediately impressed with the look of the buns, which were made in the same rustic style as French bread.

Peering inside, she saw there were no fancy ingredients to sully the meat here — it simply contained a few slices of prosciutto and a little sauce.

Ikuna has always been a firm believer of the adage “simple is best“, and this burger was a great testament to that. The buns were slightly crunchy and they tasted fresh and moreish, helping to carry the salty flavour of the prosciutto and slight tartness of the tomato-based sauce to perfection.

▼ Ikuna could’ve eaten another one of these, and she says she prefers it to anything on the morning menu at McDonald’s in Japan.

Ikuna held back her temptation to order another Prosciutto Burger, and instead polished off her apple wedges, which were served up in very cute packaging.

The pre-cut apples were surprisingly fresh and crunchy, and Ikuna reckons McDonald’s Japan would do well to add these to their morning menu too.

As Ikuna pondered over the differences between McDonald’s in Spain and Japan, she worked out that according to the “Big Mac Index”, that all-important index to gauge the economies of different countries, a Big Mac in Spain costs 4.65 euros, which works out to about 599 yen. Compared to Japan’s 390 yen for a Big Mac, it turns out that McDonald’s in Spain is quite expensive by comparison.

A Big Mac set in Spain costs well over 1,000 yen, which is significantly more than Japan, where the same set costs 600 yen. The main difference Ikuna found is that she doesn’t feel that McDonald’s is a “cheap restaurant” like it is in Japan, and perhaps because of that, the number of stores in Spain are relatively few as well.

▼ At Maccas in Spain, you can even order beer, making it feel more like a casual restaurant than a fast food joint.

Priced at 2.65 Euros, it’s actually the beer that keeps calling Ikuna back to the golden arches in Spain, and when she adds some chicken and fried potatoes to it’s almost like she’s enjoying her very own izakaya.

By the time she returns to Japan, she’ll have a few things to teach our other reporters about McDonald’s…and how to nail a home senbero, Spanish style!

Photos © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]