Fresh off the most recent stint of Big America burgers released in McDonald’s restaurants across Japan like the Texas Burger, Idaho Burger, and Broadway Burger, the taste of the month now has turned its eye toward France.

This time though McDonald’s Japan has completely copied one of French McDonald’s sandwiches, the Le GrandTo see if it lives up to the original I tried one in France and Japan for a tête-à-tête taste test.

Le Grand Sausage Doesn’t Make the Cut

Before heading to France I ordered both a Le Grand Tomato and Le Grand Sausage in Japan.  The two sandwiches are nearly identical except for the addition of either tomato or sausage in each.

However, the Le Grand Sausage was eliminated from competition off the bat for simply being to plain.  It wasn’t really great or terrible; it was just kind of there.  The root of this problem seemed to be the lack of any separation between the sausage and beef patties.  This caused the two lumps of meat to congeal into one lump of meat.  The newly formed lump of meat isn’t necessarily bad but it turned out weaker than the sum of its parts.

So, for being too banal, the Le Grand Sausage was cast aside as I boarded a plane for France.

Japan’s Le Grand Comes Out On Top

Comparing a Le Grand Tomato bought at a McDonald’s in France with the one previous eaten in Japan there isn’t a huge difference between these two, but if I had to make a final judgment Japan’s Le Grand is the winner.  Here’s why.

Sauce and Toppings

The crucial factor in my decision was the moistness of the burgers.  France’s Le Grand had a lovely aroma that made my mouth water.  However, when I got to eating it the juiciness of the tomato and beef were not what I was expecting.  It had a kind of drier, almost fluffy feeling.

Japan’s burger, on the other hand, managed to balance sauce density with firm yet fresh and juicy vegetables to create a nice balance of taste and texture.

Japan Learned From “Big America”

The running theme of the Big America series seemed to always be focusing on strong tastes to give the sandwiches more character and individuality.  For example, they may make an extremely spicy or salty sauce that overwhelms the other tastes in the sandwich (see our Texas Burger review).

The Le Grand was clearly an attempt to correct this misstep by making a more balanced sauce with the other ingredients and ultimately make a more satisfying and well-rounded burger.  However, I feel the Le Grand Tomato fell short of this somewhat.

Classic + Original = Interesting Taste

It’s got to be hard coming up with new ideas for McDonald’s burgers.  On one hand you have to create an original taste but at the same time you have to retain the qualities that people like about the original burgers.

This was certainly in mind with the Le Grand by marrying the classic patty taste with fresher tasting bread and vegetables.


There are some great blends going on in this sandwich.  For starters the separate but equal tanginess of both the sauce and the tomato are a great match.  Also while the cheese is plentiful, it’s proportioned enough to not drown out the taste of the beef.  While it’s not a sandwich for the ages to remember and celebrate, it is very good and worth taking for a test buy at least once.  It’s certainly a step in the right direction for new McDonald’s sandwiches.

Follow the further adventures of Kuzo on twitter in Japanese.

▼At a McDonald’s in France

▼And at the McDonald’s in Japan

[ Read in Japanese ]