Friday, 22 February 2013 17:37

Kulinary Korner: We ate Fish McBites so you don’t have to

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"Apprehensive as we were, we dug right in. We peeled back the foil lid from the tarter sauce, popped open the origami cardboard box containing our golden treasures and got busy munching."

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Go ahead and admit it: you’ve sneered at the commercials but still been curious about new heavily advertised McDonald’s Fish McBites. You’ve joked that nobody would actually eat the things but still contemplated hitting the drive through for an order of your own.

Thanks to South Stands Denver you don’t have to. We’re here for you, Denver Sports fans. We visited an actual McDonald’s restaurant, ordered a regular sized serving of McBites and a medium Coke and sat down in the dining area to give the little fried bits a proper review.

Fish McBites are offered in three sizes: snack ($2.29, 250 calories), regular ($3.29, 370 calories) and “sharing” ($5.49, 740 calories). The “sharing” size made us giggle thinking about how few people actually order it intending to “share” with anybody. We ordered the middle size.

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Our McBites were served on a plastic tray fitted with a McBites promotional place mat. They were contained in a folded French fry style box designed to fit conveniently in an automotive cup holder. Beside the box of bites were two small dipping containers filled with tartar sauce. One of the two tarter sauce containers had sprung a leak. Its exterior was coated with yellowish greasy tarter goo. They were lucky that I wasn’t working for the health department because that probably would not have gone over very well.

We discarded the faulty tarter sauce container, filled our Coke at the soda fountain and sat down to eat in the spacious dining area. Several tables in the vicinity of ours had not been wiped down since the previous patron had departed. The remaining trash and bits of food did little to enhance the atmosphere but we did our best to put the unclean surroundings out of our minds and focus on the fresh-from-the-fryer order of McBites on our tray.

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Apprehensive as we were, we dug right in. We peeled back the foil lid from the tarter sauce, popped open the origami cardboard box containing our golden treasures and got busy munching. We realized that, like diving into a chilly swimming pool, eating McBites was something we were better off not contemplating. Prepared for the worst, we dipped our first McBite into its sauce and bit off half of it.

Our initial response was one of relief. The McBite actually had a fish-like texture and. Looking at the interior of the little ball of fish we could actually see the “wild-caught Alaskan Pollack” that McDonalds claimed was in there. In this sense the McBites were far superior to Chicken McNuggets which we are convinced are molded from some kind of chickeney pink slime. Fish McBites are also less frightening to consume that McDonalds burgers are. There’s nowhere in there for horse to be hiding. Sure, there might be a little dolphin or maybe some sea turtle contained in each fried fish ball, but we were not able to detect any.

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The flavor of the fish was surprisingly, well, fish tasting. It’s hard to say whether or not the folks at McDonald’s corporate phoned Dow Chemical to inquire about their newest fish flavored flavoring, but McBites truly do taste like what they claim to be.

The breading was quite nice, also. Not surprisingly, it’s greasy. That’s what breading is meant to be, though. No points were deducted for oiliness, although the grease stains the McBites left on the McBites themed paper place mat was disconcerting. The breading was tasty. Little black bits of what we hope was pepper flecked the outside of the McBites giving them an appetizing appearance. The breading provided a nice crunch and helped hold the heat of the fish inside.

After having been hesitant to munch the first McBite, we leaped into the second one, popped the third one without hesitation and found ourselves enjoying the snack. These were not as bad as we thought they would be. We took a long sip of our Coke (McBites are salty) and savored our fourth McBite, taking time to really analyze it. We found the texture and flavor to be pleasing enough that we almost forgot how grossed out we were by eating a seafood product in a McDonald's.

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Fish McBites do leave a residue on your fingers. They are not health food – but they’re not intended to be. They greasy, grody fast food items. They are not, however nasty. Not at all.

Will we buy Fish McBites again? Probably not. Within about a half an hour of consuming them we had tummy aches. That said, Big Macs don’t make us feel very good either but we’ve never held that against them. Overall, Fish McBites are what they are advertised to be and they’re not at all offensive. And, when it comes to McDonald’s grub, that’s pretty lofty praise.

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