McDonalds provide endless entertainement and curiosity with the way they culturally adapt and alter their products. It is something I discuss in my book when referring to the consumption of halal food in Hong Kong. McDonalds in Singapore has halal certification, first introduced in 1992. But Hong Kong doesn’t, despite having a sizeable Muslim minority.
The two photos above are simple curiosity pictures and they resonate with my theme of everyday hybridity. In one sense McDonalds is very much a cultural ‘cut and past’ hybridiser using the simple symbols, or superficial elements of other cultures to enhance their appeal. But at the same time because McDonalds hold so firmly to their corporate identity every new imagining of the brand is deeply banal, only a nuance of their typical presentation. The Thai Ronald McDonald is a great example of this everyday hybridity at its most trivial and banal. ‘Sawadi McKaap’ indeed.
In Hong Kong at present you can buy a Wasabi Filet-O-Fish. A curious product, a fish sandwich with the ubiquitous spicy Japanese sushi paste. The mashing of this complexity is all the more curious as tensions between China and Japan have recently escalated regarding the status of the Daiyou Islands. Yet, and despite Hong Kong’s history, Japanese food tends to me amongst the most popular in the territory, as is its music, anime and fashion.
At a tangent, I know that many Pakistani and Indonesian Muslims in Hong Kong love to eat Filet-O-Fish as they generally regard it as halal. WIth their penchant for spicy food I do wonder if they will also regard this wasabi offering has halal too? Is Wasabi halal?