Major fast-food chains have global reach, and in most cases they tailor their menus to incorporate local tastes and cultures. In Japan, for example, Burger King sells a Premium Black Kuro Burger with squid ink-flavored ketchup, and in India, where a large percentage of the population doesn't eat beef, McDonald's sells the Maharaja Mac, which replaces the beef patties with chicken.
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And while it makes perfect sense to sell sandwiches and burgers tailored to the local audience, it might not be obvious that desserts also get the global treatment. In honor of National Pie Day, we're taking a look at five of the craziest McDonald's pies from around the world.
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For our list, we chose the ones that are legitimately flabbergasting. Who would have thought that in Japan pies would be filled with mashed potatoes and bacon? That's certainly bridging the snack/dessert divide. And while cherry, chocolate, lemon, peach, strawberry, and pineapple pies all grace McDonald's menus somewhere on Earth, they're just not as jaw-droppingly surprising to encounter.
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While every McDonald's location sells the classic apple pie, which was first introduced by Knoxville owner/operator Litton Cochran in 1968, offerings in some countries are truly unique (you can find photos of some of their crazier offerings on their Flickr and Pinterest pages). In Latin America alone, for example, you'll find a chocolate mousse, banana, passion fruit, and chocolate-filled "Brigadeiro" pie. But the craziest of all? Why, that would have to be the one filled with sweet cheese, of course.
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Read on for the craziest pies you'll find on a global tour of McDonald's.
The s'mores pie was released in the summer of 2012, and is the only one on our list that can actually be found inside the borders of the United States, as well as Canada. It's a side-by-side pairing of marshmallow and chocolate filling, wrapped up in a graham cracker crust.
4) Sweet Potato
Only available in select U.S. markets, and for limited runs only, the sweet potato pie fills up a flaky crust with mashed sweet potato. Launched in 2010, there are plans to possibly re-introduce it later this year in several U.S. cities.
In Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica, a visit to a McDonald's will present you with the opportunity to pick up a cheese pie (top). The pay de queso fills a pastry crust with a rich mixture of sweet, creamy cheese.
One of the more interesting McDonald's menu items, period, is the potato-bacon pie, only available in Asian markets, and Japan in particular. This decidedly savory offering suspends chunks of bacon inside a filling of mashed potatoes, encased in a deep-fried shell.
The oddest filling for a McDonald's pie the world over? That would have to be taro, a purple tuber that only grows in the Pacific Islands. Sold in Asian markets (it also got a test run in Hawaii) the crust is filled with a concoction similar to chunky mashed potatoes, only it's sweet and very purple.
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-Dan Myers, The Daily Meal