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FOOD REVIEW: I tried McDonald’s PH’s entire Christmas menu this year—and what a Pinoy adventure it was

By Brooke Villanueva Published Nov 12, 2021 1:56 pm Updated Nov 19, 2021 7:09 pm

As the pandemic continues in the country, more and more restaurants are getting creative to appeal to the ever-changing taste and preferences of the public. The latest one is McDonald’s Philippines, which highlights two Filipino favorites in its Christmas 2021 menu: ube and Brazo de Mercedes. Instead of the usual halaya and rolled cake forms, however, the Golden Arches name turned them into ice cream, iced coffee, and frappe.

Without a doubt, the fast-food chain made its new products really attractive, so much that when Philippine STAR posted about its new sundae flavors on Facebook, it went viral in no time. As of this writing, it has generated over 22,000 likes, 6,000 comments, and 7,000 shares. Just looking at the pictures and hits alone, I knew it was worth a try.

I received samples of the new line on the day of its release, and I’m so glad to have been one of the first to delight in it. I had to make it a point to time my meals right to enjoy each item in all its glory and, well, manage a possible sugar binge.

Does Mcdo PH’s 2021 holiday menu live up to the hype?

In all honesty, I experienced a brief pang of disappointment when I had a first look of the ice cream sundaes in person. The toppings were less colorful than I expected and the entire presentation didn’t really appeal to me. But note that it’s completely understandable, given that the nearest McDonald’s branch in my area is a 10-minute ride from my home.

McDonald's Philippines' Brazo de Mercedes Sundae and Ube Pastillas Frappe

When I had the new Brazo de Mercedes Sundae (P38), all was well and good again. The fudge tasted exactly like the custard filling of the Brazo cake. That, mixed with McDo’s creamy vanilla ice cream? Heavenly. The milky delight perfectly cut through the lusciousness of the fudge, making it an incredible alternative to the classic dessert that we all know and love. 4/5

Brazo de Mercedes Sundae

Before lunch, I proceeded to try the Brazo de Mercedes Iced Coffee (P59). The unique beverage tasted nearly identical to McDo’s good ol’ vanilla iced coffee at first sip, but the Brazo flavor later added a new dimension that dominated its different notes and undertones. The hint of coffee was still there after all, so it deserved much praise. 4/5

Brazo de Mercedes Iced Coffee

It’s also available in a frappe version, which I imagined as simply a mix of the aforementioned sundae and iced coffee served in a cup. The Brazo de Mercedes Frappe(P159) is a bit sweeter than its iced coffee counterpart, but the slush provided the balance it needed in terms of texture and flavor. 3/5

Brazo de Mercedes Frappe

As for the Ube Pastillas Sundae, let me put it this way: I am not a big fan of ube, so it’s difficult for me to give a seal of approval to anything made with it. McDo PH’s ube pastillas sundae was just okay. While the fudge tasted like ube, I’d have been happier if it was more fudgy and less sweet. If you’re looking for a different take on ube pastillas, this offering would be fine. But if you really want to get the best of it, what I will mention next would be a much better alternative. 2/5

Ube Pastillas Sundae

On to the real deal: McDo’s Ube Pastillas Frappe (P159). I thought I wasn’t going to like it because I kind of frowned on its sundae version, but my my my! This was love at first sip. The slushy drink was really creamy, but not overwhelming. For some reason, it even tasted quite powdery, resembling the taste and texture of freshly made ube pastillas. It was so delicious that it made me pause mid-sentence just to have a look of it inside the cup. However it was made, it was an absolute winner. 5/5

Ube Pastillas Frappe

There are certain offerings that show that we don’t have to eat at luxurious restaurants to satisfy our taste buds. McDonald’s Philippines’ holiday menu this year is one. For me, everything in it could be best accompanied with fries. It’s simple, but it does the trick. At times, that’s all we really need.