A Taste of Yesteryear: The Quiet Return of McDonald’s Chicken McCrispy

Kubo Loh Hidenobu
5 min readNov 3, 2020

Like most Singaporeans, McDonald’s has played a huge part in my life through Ronald McDonald birthday parties, lazy weekend breakfasts and drunken suppers. However, nothing stands out for me more than eating Chicken McCrispy’s in late 90s and 2000s. Chubby primary school me would always revel at how juicy it was and enjoy the explosion of oil and juices coating my fingers every time. Furthermore, how could you forget the marketing? McDonald’s paraded superheroes Fast Fry and Steam Marinade, saving the world one fried chicken at a time.

Fast Fry and Steam Marinade had their own comic. Source: Debbie Ding, Flickr

It signaled better times and was the kind of optimism we needed coming out of the Asian Financial Crisis then. Fast forward to present day against a similarly bleak backdrop of Covid-19, you could imagine my excitement when I caught whiff that this demonstration of poultry perfection would be making a (hush-hush) comeback.

So much goodness in one photo

Available only at 10 McDonald’s outlets, I was extremely lucky as my nearest Maccas’ was one of the chosen ones. I strode in at 11.07 am, just as the in-store monitors flashed to the Lunch Menu and ordered a two-piece set meal. At $6.00, it was complete with medium fries and a small drink. Looking to share (or not)? $16.90 will get you a bucket of six pieces.

I expected fanfare (even warfare) but there was none. Before coming, I had braced myself for long queues and a melee but nobody around me ordered the McCrispy. In that moment, I felt a little sad that poultry perfection had become yet another forgotten relic of yesterday. I stood around waiting for 10 minutes and realised there was some commotion in the kitchen. I heard the words “fried chicken” being thrown around and saw worried faces on the prep staff. Recipe issues? Teething issues? The manager apologised and told me they would take awhile and advised me to take a seat. However, during this period, I was able to gather that this chook was here for a limited period (staff couldn’t reveal until when) at selected stores. I also posed the all important question: Could you choose parts? Unfortunately no — the thigh and drumstick pairing was standard. I tested this by putting on my best Aunty charm but was still denied.

Nice, clean packaging
What a beauty

In what seemed like eternity, my chicken came after 25 minutes. I smelt the chicken from a few steps away. That familiar mix of paprika, chilli, unidentified spices (or MSG) and oil shifted my salivary glands into overdrive. My body trembled from excitement and I could only mumble a “thank you”. I dove right in!

Chicken Thigh Teardown. Note the Juice

The chicken was served still steaming hot and I felt that all familiar sensation when I tore into the chicken — Hot oil and juice running down my fingers. I was immediately transported to the time when my biggest worry was completing Chinese tuition homework on time. The chicken was as moist as before and the chicken’s fragrance was rising into my nostrils. The skin was crispy and coated with a thick batter. The batter was flavoured with a spice mix, judging from its peppery taste and freckled, jagged covering. It was thicker than what I remembered it to be. I wondered however, how it would be if it was left out longer. I suspect the thick batter would become hard when it gets cold.

The meat was moist, tender, well marinated and slightly spicy. It was marinated to the bone for the thigh and less so for the Drumstick. However, I enjoyed the drumstick more as the marinate wasn’t as overwhelming and I could actually taste the chicken. But hey, who goes to fast food to taste the ingredients right?

The thigh was slighty larger than palm-sized and the drumstick was comparable to what they serve at KFC — slighty larger than a hand. I felt two pieces was enough for me as it was savoury and extremely flavourful from start to finish. This portion size was the maximum stimulation my tastebuds could handle and reminded me I was no longer a chubby 12 year old fast food monster.

Taste rating: 8/10 — Good to reminisce good times but overly savory taste won’t replace my fast food go-to’s.

Special report:

Sauce Boss (Sauce: Fendercat, Blogspot)

Since you’ve made it this far, I will throw in an extra review. I heard rumours that McDonalds did not bring back the McCrispy sauce this time.

Not McDonald’s but Maepranom Brand Sweet Chilli Sauce

Hence, I took the liberty to procure a bottle of Sweet Chilli Sauce (similar!) from a nearby Sheng Shiong. The Sweet Chili does well to balance out the saltiness but I don’t think it’s necessary to bring your own sauce. Save yourself the trouble and weird looks. I felt that even dipping it into Curry and Garlic Chili sauce didn’t do much to elevate the taste but instead only served as a distraction. The chicken is best eaten as it is, in all its oily and juicy glory.