We find out if the Puripuri Ebi Purio lives up to the hype.

On 20 September, McDonald’s released an all-new type of nugget in Japan, containing shrimp instead of chicken. Called the Puripuri Ebi Purio — “Puripuri” means “tender” and “Purio” is a play on “Filet-O”, which is what the Filet-O-Fish is known as in Japan — the new nugget quickly attracted attention in Japan, with people wondering what on Earth it might taste like.

▼ According to McDonald’s, this is the first time in 15 years that a side menu item containing shrimp has been released.

Image: Press release

With fries and nuggets already on the sides menu, pundits have been claiming a product like this might just have the power to overtake the popularity of other side menu items. Our reporter P.K. Sanjun was ready to test that claim, heading down to his nearest branch to purchase a pack of five for 260 yen (US$1.76).

▼ He also purchased a pack of Chicken McNuggets so he could compare the two.

Conducting a visual check, P.K. found that the Puripuri Ebi Purio was far smaller than the nugget. By his estimate, it was around half the size, but what it lacked in size it certainly made up for in the bread crumb coating, which looked crispy and golden.

As for the taste, the crunchy batter and plump shrimp was a good combination, and the texture was excellent. However, while each morsel is said to contain an “addictive” black pepper and garlic finish, P.K. thought it had very little flavour, and it lacked the punch that he’d been expecting.

▼ He couldn’t help but think it was like a mini fried shrimp cutlet from a McDonald’s shrimp burger.

Sure, it was delicious when eaten on its own, but as a side menu item that purportedly has a strong flavour, it left a rather unsatisfactory impression.

Then again, the chain’s McNuggets are famously good with sauce, so perhaps the solution would be to create a dipping sauce for the tender shrimp bites?

▼ If they were able to add a selection of sauces, then they might be onto a winner.

In P.K.’s humble opinion, the shrimp bites, as they are, just don’t have what it takes to overtake the fries or McNuggets. While they certainly look good, they’re just too light on taste for his liking. If you are thinking of trying them, P.K. suggests trying them first, as a starter, because if you were to eat them after a juicy burger like the spicy Tsukimi Burger, you’d barely be able to taste them.

Or you could simply purchase them on their own, as a single menu item, and maybe take them home, mash then up and cook them with rice in your rice cooker. Having tried weird rice cooker meals before, that’s an idea P.K. wouldn’t mind trying!

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[ Read in Japanese ]