Japan loves cheering on its sports teams in international competitions, and with the World Cup just a few weeks away, soccer is set to dominate TV programming, advertising, and the national consciousness in general.
If you’re not personally a fan of the Beautiful Game, you might feel a little left out of the conversation for the next couple weeks. So since you won’t be using your mouth for talking, why not stuff it with some of the 14 new World Cup-themed menu items McDonald’s is rolling out in Japan?
While the tournament doesn’t get started until June 12, the first commemorative munchies are hitting McDonald’s locations on May 27. Just as the World Cup is a stage for the participating countries to show off their finest athletes, the special World Cup menu takes its cues from eight different nations.
Starting with sandwiches, just as the opening match features host Brazil, so too will the Brazilian barbeque beef burger be available from the start, along with the German pork schnitzel burger and the breakfast-only Spanish omelet muffin. While the Spanish sandwich will stick around until early July, the Brazilian and German burgers will only be available until June 17, after which they’ll be replaced by the Japanese mincemeat beef burger and French chicken cordon bleu burger. Prices range from 269 to 399 yen (US$2.65~$3.90).
▼ Clockwise from top right: representatives for Germany, France, Spain, Japan, and Brazil
If you’re not in the mood for a sandwich, from May 27 you’ll also be able to pick up chicken McNuggets with Italian basil cheese or German curry sauce (195 yen for a small order, 595 yen for a large), or deep-fried Italian risotto balls in tomato or squid ink flavors for 199 yen each.
The two special World Cup sodas take their cues from the blue and orange of the uniforms for Japan and the Netherlands, respectively. The Japan Makku Fizz tastes like ramune (a popular soft drink in Japan with a sweet apple/citrus taste), and the Holland Makku Fizz is flavored with orange and mango juice. The basic versions cost 237 yen, and adding a scoop of ice cream and turning either into a Makku Float ups the price to a still-affordable 299 yen.
Finally, there’s a pair of desserts, which like the beverages go on sale May 27. The two special McFlurry flavors, Belgian chocolate and French crème brulle, are both priced at 276 yen.
Tempting as all this sounds, bear in mind that just as playing the entire tournament on a single day would result in serious injuries, so too would working your way through the entire menu in one sitting lead to serious indigestion. Instead, we recommend taking a page from the tournament itself, setting up a bracket, and ordering two menu items at a time in a single-elimination experiment to determine your favorite. That way, even if you’re sick of hearing about soccer, you’ve still got something to look forward to in the days leading up to the World Cup championship match on July 13.