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Signature dish: McMadness

Susan Jung

 

I don't have the same disdain for the McDonald's fast-food chain that many of my fellow food writers have. Yes, the food is unhealthy (what fast food isn't?), but the company is making more of an effort to offer dishes with fewer calories and less fat and sodium. And while I don't like the way it tries to "hook" children onto fast food with Happy Meal gifts and ads targeting youngsters, the responsibility for a child's dietary habits ultimately lies with the parents. Besides, I like the way Maccas tailors its menus to suit whatever country it's in - which translates to having a wine menu in French McDonald's, and a beef-free menu at its outlets in India.

I like to eat a McDonald's myself every once in a while - although only the chicken wings, fries and McFlurries. What I dislike, however, are the bullying tactics the company employs. This massive multinational has a history of suing companies that dare to use Mc (or Mac) in their name (which stands to infuriate countless families in Scotland), as if the fast-food giant should have sole, universal rights to the prefix.

The latest victim is Alvin Leung, best known for his Michelin-starred Bo Innovation, in Central. The self-named "demon chef" opened a less expensive restaurant in Kwun Tong earlier this year, calling it MC Kitchen. MC could stand for any number of things - molecular cuisine (which he cooks at Bo), modern cuisine, modern comfort … the list goes on. The logo of MC Kitchen in no way resembles the Golden Arches, the food served there is nothing like that of the fast-food chain, and it's pronounced "em-cee kitchen", not "McKitchen". But just this month, Leung, under threat of legal action by McDonald's, had to change the name of his restaurant to MIC Kitchen. In past cases where the company has sued for copyright infringement, its lawyers have argued that the public might not be able to distinguish between legitimate spin-off McDonald's businesses and others that just happen to have Mc (or Mac or MC) in their names. Many companies capitulate - and change their names - because they can't afford to fight such a deep-pocketed corporation.

McDonald's doesn't give much credit to the public if they think people are unable to differentiate between a business that specialises in burgers, fries and milkshakes, and another that serves wagyu beef, truffle and "har mi" oil (dried shrimp simmered in oil).

 

 

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