THE DISH: Forget the burgers, try the ice cream at McDonald's

Wednesday September 12 2018

The wondrous ice cream at McDonald's. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA


It really does feel like Americans eat out a lot, and I don't necessarily think it is on purpose. I think it is because there are so many options available. America is nothing if not full of options – from giant menus with 16 pages to the opportunity to supersize almost anything.

Speaking of supersizing, my post today is actually about McDonald's.

Now, before I am tarred and feathered, I just want to mention that I do love McDonald's. This may be a traitorous statement to food and health lovers everywhere, but we all have our flaws, ok?

McDonald's is my flaw and my weakness – every time I land in America, it is one of the spots that gets a visit from me within the first three days.

Because I haven't been here in a while, my friend Diana was giving me tips about what to expect and what to avoid, and more importantly, where to eat (more on that list in a later article).

And she said something interesting: she said when I go, I must check if the ice cream machine at McDonald's is working, because she's never been to McDonald's at a time when it actually is. Because I love McDonald's and I was going to be in that general area anyway, I thought, challenge accepted!


McDonald's Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken. The salad contains grilled chicken, cheddar and jack cheese, chili lime tortilla strips and a Southwestern vegetable blend of tomatoes, corn, black beans and peppers. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA

The first few times I went, I had no success. Go figure! The day that you're told to try something that you have tried before and found with success is the day that your challenge refuses to go right. They didn't have any hot chocolate or coffee either, and I am on a path to try and not be tempted by the promises and siren-like wailings of bottomless soda, so I settled for a (too cold) water (is it just me or do developed countries have an unhealthy addiction to air conditioning, even when it isn't that hot?).


The next time I tried to have some ice cream after the last time (we went straight to the more expensive but also more reliable Dairy Queen for a blizzard, which is a sugar laden miracle), the machine. Was. Working!

I generally like ice cream, but even ice cream comes in categories, for me, same way back home there's a difference between Dairy Land, Lyons Maid, Ooh!, Amore Mia and, say, London Dairy or Delia's. The irony is, I can list six different brands but I swear I don't have a sweet tooth.

As such, the levels of ice cream for me here are, Wendy's Frosties at the lowest part (Wendy's is more or less always last place for me, in terms of food as well). Their ice cream machine always works, and it is about Sh50 for cold and creamy goodness. Then comes McDonald's, which is leaps and bounds ahead of Wendy's, but whose ice cream machine, even in 98 degrees of summer, is only working for a third of that time (the machine, as well as the drive-thru window), for about Sh200 – cold and creamy betterness.

And at the top of the list is Dairy Queen. Even though it is more expensive, their machine is always working. They know business. And their ice cream is so tasty. The smallest one is like Sh400 (wails in diabetes prevention) – the cold and creamy best.


The even more wondrous McDonald's fries. Seriously, you can ignore the burgers. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA

If you're going to get ice cream, go all the way and get fries too. McDonald's fries are incomparable – they're perfectly salted, so much so that you don't even need ketchup because the fries probably won't make it home anyway.

Somehow I manage to keep one hand on the steering wheel and one hand in the packet. And if you're feeling guilty after your fast food binge – McDonald's has a great Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken. :D


Wondering where to get the 411 on what's happening in Nairobi's foodie scene? There's a lot of places you could go, but here's where we want you to be – getting the dish on the dish. Get it? We knew you would.