McDonald’s Thailand special menu items

McThai cover
Images adapted from: Punpromotion, Picuki, and McDonald’s

When travelling, there always seems to be a McDonald’s around the corner, and some countries even have their own special menus. In Thailand, there have been dozens of menus based on local street dishes.

This is a list of McDonald’s Thailand’s menus over the years, with current ones and others we wish could stay a little longer.

1. McKao Mun Kai

McThai kao mun gai
Image credit: @omlstw

Status: Available, seasonal
Last seen: 2020 

Kao mun kai is a popular rice dish consisting of oily rice and chicken, but often includes blood tofu and cucumbers on the side. Personally, it was the only rice dish at the food court that wasn’t covered in spice, so it quickly became a childhood favourite. This tongue-in-cheek commercial has people trying to find words to describe their first time…with the McKao Mun Kai, that is.

While there are plenty of small shops with a choice between poached or fried chicken, McDonald’s chickens are crispier with thicker batter and why people go there in the first place. If you grew up with McThai, you may remember they did a similar thing by selling sticky rice at one point. It’s a proper excuse to have fast food that looks healthier and, as a kid, any chance to have fast food fried chicken was awesome.

This menu came back just in time for this summer (฿79 set with a Coke), so be sure to try it before it’s gone.

2. McKao Nam Tok Fried Chicken Rice & Salmon Burger

McThai nam tok
Image credit: menuinthai

Status: Unavailable, seasonal
Last seen: 2019

McDonald’s marketed this dish’s first appearance with flashy dancers and energetic luk thung music to show how saab (spicy) the nam tok was, whatever your choice of chicken, pork or beef.

Though, like other Thai-inspired menus at McDonald’s, the nam tok can be eaten by most customers. Its spice level was closer to the larb moo sticky rice burger from 7-11, so even those who can’t eat spicy can enjoy it as well.

McThai hokkaido
There was also a rice dish and a double patty option
Image source: McDonald’s Thailand

Aside from the Nam Tok Hokkaido Salmon set (burgers and a rice menu) in 2017, there was also a Nam Tok Kurobuta burger in 2018. But the fried chicken hasn’t made a return yet.

3. Green Curry Chicken Pie

McThai green curry pie
mage credit: Punpromotion

Status: Unavailable
Last seen in: 2018

If memory serves well, the pie’s kaeng kiew waan kai taste was mild enough for children to enjoy. Despite its friendly flavour, we haven’t seen a green curry dish in McDonald’s since and we wonder why not. If holding off the bird’s eye chilli, Green curry is the mildest compared to others like red and yellow. 

KFC Thailand currently has Green Curry Crispy Chicken Rice (฿59) bowl that reportedly ran out at one point. Also, McDonald’s Malaysia recently introduced their Thai Green Curry Burger (chicken or fish; single or double patties) to much hype. It’s baffling that McThai hasn’t jumped back on the bandwagon and brought back a green curry menu.

4. McKao Nam Prik Kapi (Fermented Shrimp Paste)

McThai nam prik
mage credit: Wongnai

Status: Unavailable
Last seen: 2018

Usually, shrimp paste rice has more than just one topping, but McDonald’s very simplified McKao Nam Prik Kapi only included fried chicken with the shrimp paste rice. This was another rice menu where the local flavour complemented their signature fried chicken – the real star. Sadly, it didn’t catch on because it was paired with the already popular McKao Krapao.

5. McKao Panang

McThai panang
Image credit: Brand Inside

Status: Unavailable
Last seen in: 2019

Despite the chilli peppers on the advertisements, the McKao Panang was an entry-level Thai curry for some. Out of all the Thai curries, panang curry is considered the mildest of the bunch. It is very similar to red curry, but has a sweeter, nuttier flavour because of crushed peanuts. 

Additionally, this menu had the most choice of meat (chicken, pork, beef, fish, and shrimp), so it was clear McThai wanted to include everyone.

The advertisements instead mentioned the flavour’s authenticity rather than hyping the spiciness like their other curry menus. At one point, it was paired with the McKao Kee Mao – another dish that hasn’t made a comeback.

6. McGrilled Chicken (Red) Curry Rice

McThai red curry
Image credit: McDonald’s

Status: Unavailable
Last seen: 2013

Notice that the flyers for this dish do not include a chilli pepper next to its name. The advertisements for the McGrilled Chicken Curry Rice did not put chilli peppers next to its name, and instead mentioned how authentic the flavour was.

Perhaps McDonald’s thought toning down the red curry’s spiciness would get more people to order it. But a few of their rice dishes already have mild spiciness, so it tasted too similar to stand out.

It was reportedly not too spicy but sweet and salty like other curries on this list. While it might not have sated appetites for those looking for really spicy red curry, it was a good start for people who just wanted a sampler before trying the spicier real deal.

7. Curry Crab Sticks Pie

McThai crab curry
Image credit: Wongnai

Status: Unavailable
Last seen in: 2017

Thai crab curry is a dish often found in bigger Thai restaurants and seafood places. It’s a favourite among children because of its greasy sweetness and squishy crab meat hidden under blankets of yellow Thai curry.

The first noticeable thing about McDonald’s Curry Crab Sticks Pie was that they swapped out crab meat for the more kid-friendly crab sticks. The pie had a texture similar to a curry puff which, while different from expectations, is better for a snack form.

This pie came back at least three more times before bowing out, so it was a pretty popular pie at the time. The Thai crab curry dish got popular enough to have a Lay’s flavour based on it, so it undoubtedly has a large following. Who knows if we’ll see this pie return again.

8. McKao Krapao Chicken

McThai krapao chicken
Image credit: McDonald’s

Status: Unavailable, seasonal
Last seen in: 2019

Pad krapao is a popular staple of Thai cuisine because it’s so easy to make. It’s also what people usually order when they can’t decide what to eat. Even this is acknowledged in the flyers and a commercial, where office co-workers unanimously decide on McDonald’s for lunch and dart off Road Runner style.

Fittingly, McDonald’s mixed the convenience of fast food and Thai street food together to make the McKao Krapao Chicken (฿79), a combination of krapao and McDonald’s fried chicken. Like the McKao Mun Kai, the selling point for this menu was the fried chicken.

Since other places usually used minced meat, McDonald’s was the only one to pair fried chicken with pad krapao and called it a special recipe – even McThai’s Facebook admin admitted to eating this dish daily.

9. McKao Krapao Angus Beef

McThai krapao angus
Image credit: @McThai

Status: Available
Last seen in: 2020

Sadly, the McKao Krapao Chicken didn’t make a comeback this year. However, there is a new Krapao Angus Beef (฿139) currently available in its place, and it’s just as good as it sounds.

Similar to the Hokkaido salmon menu, McThai tried mixing Thai street food style with gourmet tastes and finer meat. While the taste is distinctly Thai, you get a very different meat quality compared to minced meat, more so than the fried chicken. The only complaint would be the small proportions, but perhaps that’s why we’ll miss it more once it’s gone.

10. McKao Yum

McThai yumImage credit: McDonald’s

Status: Unavailable
Last seen in: 2019, seasonal

The commercial here shows cooked-to-order vendors finding out all their customers have flocked to McDonald’s for the McKao Yum. Upon trying it themselves, they are blown away by the taste and exclaim how deliciously spicy (“saab!) the new dish is. The flyer’s tagline reads “sour to the core and spicy to the soul”.

Funnily enough, some joked that McDonald’s was turning into a cooked-to-order restaurant because of all the rice menus.

11. Black Sticky Rice With Young Coconut Pie

McThai black sticky ricce
Black Sticky Rice With Young Coconuts Pie
Image credit: Jungceylon

Status: Unavailable
Last seen in: 2018

Out of the whole list, Black Sticky Rice With Young Coconuts Pie seemed like the one that should’ve stayed available. It had the usual brittled crunchiness of a McPie combined with the sweet chewiness of sticky rice mixed with coconut milk and the stringiness of coconut.

The filling is inspired by the dessert khao niew dam piek maphrao awn (wet black sticky rice with young coconut), although personally, it was closer to khao lam*. Khao lam and khao tom mat** are similar to pies in that they are eaten as snacks with fillings. You were putting the best of both worlds together by combining them, and the customers seemed to agree at the time.

*a type of dessert where they put sticky rice in bamboo with coconut milk and red beans. There is also a similar dessert called khao niew dam piek maphrao awn.

**a type of dessert that consists of sticky rice, usually with a banana or taro filling.

12. McParfait

McThai mcparfait
Images adapted from:
@McThai, THpromotion, @McThai 

Status: Unavailable
Last seen in: 2018

Having a McParfait from McDonald’s was once a go-to dessert after a long shopping walk. We haven’t heard the word “McParfait” since 2018, and with it, three flavours based on iced Thai desserts:

McThai mcparfait durian
MonThong Durian McParfait
Image credit: Wongnai

The Durian McParfait was McDonald’s answer to summer heat when Dairy Queen and Swensen’s were serving mango ice creams, but unlike the last two, we haven’t seen it since.

Pungent durian (alongside mangoes) has always been a summer staple for Thais, especially when it comes to ice cream. McThai once joined Swensen’s and Dairy Queen one summer with their own trio of durian-flavoured ice creams (sundae, McFlurry, and McParfait) and mysteriously never brought it back.

McDonald’s also once had Water Chestnuts in Coconut Milk and Pandan Rice Flour in Coconut Milk ice creams you could self-serve at the counter.

McThai mcparfait lod chong
Thapthim Krop* (Crispy Rubies) McParfait and Lod Chong** McParfait
Images adapted from: McThai and Picuki

The McParfait came with ice cream topped with main ingredients from Thai desserts, and a bottom layer of cornflakes for those who like to dig deep for a little crunch.

Even though the McParfait got discontinued, McDonald’s still occasionally comes up with experimental flavours from time to time. One of the McParfait’s last flavours was Crunchy Ovaltine that, while not traditional, is still a local flavour.

*Thapthim krop is syrup-soaked water chestnuts in coconut milk

**Lod chong is pandan rice flour in coconut milk. There are many regional variations of cendol besides this Thai version.

Acquiring local taste

McDonald’s is probably not everyone’s first stop when it comes to krapao or green curry. Still, it probably introduced people to dishes they wouldn’t otherwise try.

While it is strangely sad to see McDonald’s special menus go after a month or two, they sometimes do come back in the near future, so never say never. Otherwise, you can find the same tastes just down the street. 

Enjoying The Smart Local Thailand? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for all things Thailand