McDonald’s released its newest celebrity collaboration meal with music artist Saweetie on Monday. The Saweetie Meal marks the first partnership by the fast-food company with a woman in its signature order series. The meal series
Saweetie debuted with the platinum-selling single “Icy Grl” in 2018. You may have heard the American rapper’s hits “My Type” last year on TikTok, or “Best Friend” as one of the songs of this summer.
The Saweetie Meal includes a Big Mac burger, four chicken McNuggets, a medium-sized order of french fries, a medium Sprite, plus barbecue and sweet-and-sour dipping sauces, the latter relabeled as Saweetie ‘n Sour.
Price varies according to location.
At the Global Menu headquarters restaurant in the West Loop area of Chicago, the Saweetie Meal is priced at $9.99. At the location formerly known as the Rock ’n’ Roll McDonald’s in River North, the meal rings up at $11.79. At a franchise in a bungalow neighborhood on the Northwest Side of the city, it’s $11.19.
The meal may be bagged in a branded Saweetie paper bag, with fries in a branded box, or not depending on supplies, but how does it taste?
The Saweetie ‘n Sour sauce is the only edible element designed for this meal. McDonald’s states it’s their same sweet-and-sour, just renamed. The packet I opened looked different though, remarkably lighter in color with a textured puree.
Was this a small yet delightful surprise from the fast-food company? Of course not. My first taste revealed only sweet, no sour. The first ingredient on the labels of the new and original sauces does not lie: high fructose corn syrup. There’s supposed to be apricot or peach puree in there somewhere, but any trace of the coveted stone fruits has been completely lost.
McDonald’s claims that this is Saweetie’s favorite order, as with their previous celebrity collaborators. The other so-called Famous Orders lineup featured Travis Scott, J Balvin and the aforementioned BTS.
What might be the tiniest saving grace of the newest meal is not the food, but the creativity that’s encouraged. Promotional photos start with fries in the burger progressing to sauce on the bun and burger patties as buns. I tried some of the hacks. My editor (who initially asked about said hacks, “wtf is this!!!!!!” and “why have two sauces for four nuggets??”) inquired if I had time to get my nails done beforehand, presumably in the creative nail art style of the music artist.
I did not.
My editor suggested that I listen to Saweetie while eating to see if I felt the synergy.
I did so, and did.
As a food critic and trained chef, I found the hacks, or remixes, as the artist calls them, impractical yet insightful. Instead of trying to drizzle the sauces, I dipped into them with fries and nuggets, then placed the soaked pieces. They did nothing to improve the sticky, sweet flavors for me, but showed that the creative process is complicated and personal. That message may be the unintended prize to the meal.
Imagine if McDonald’s would’ve actually collaborated with Saweetie. It’s infuriating since they could’ve drawn on her all-American, Black-Filipina-Chinese culinary culture. Yet again, a company with global resources served up the bare minimum to a public that wants more.
Meanwhile, The Saweetie Meal is available at participating McDonald’s until Sept. 5.
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