REVIEW: McDonald’s The Kid LAROI Meal

Harry Gay does not need this meal to stay.

Celebrity tie-ins, endorsements and meal deals are bizarre staples of popular culture. From Donald Trump eating a delicious slice of Pizza Hut pizza to Kendall Jenner solving racism through Pepsi, the intersecting world of celebrities and food is a weird and wacky place to be.

Since September 2020, McDonald’s have been pumping out meal deals in conjunction with celebrities from the music world, such as BTS and Travis Scott, simultaneously promoting the artists and the brand. The gimmick involves the creation of a meal based on what an artist usually orders from McDonald’s. Australia’s very own The Kid LAROI is the latest musical artist to have a meal made in partnership with the international conglomerate. 

Charlton Kenneth Jeffrey Howard, or The Kid LAROI, hails from Redfern, and is a rapper, singer and songwriter of Indigenous heritage. After skyrocketing to success in 2020, he cemented his newfound fame last year with his TikTok-dominating collaboration with Justin Bieber, ‘Stay’.

While I am not a fan of The Kid LAROI’s music in the slightest, I was intrigued to try his tie-in meal, especially considering he is currently embarking on a tour of Australia and New Zealand. The timing couldn’t be more perfect.

The Kid LAROI Meal includes 6 Chicken Mcnuggets, barbecue sauce, chips, a cheeseburger without pickles, and a frozen coke. I opted, instead of the coke, for a coffee, as I was eating this on my morning commute to Uni and needed a pick-me-up to combat the painfully chilly wind. Judge me all you want for not authentically sticking to the full experience of the Kid LAROI Meal, but I think I can live with myself.

As I sat on the train to Central, I opened up the paper bag and lifted out the meal onto my lap. The food was contained in specially designed packaging, giving a cool space age feel. I quite liked the look of it, but from what I’ve learned in the past, all that glitters is not gold.

Opening up the burger wrapping, I stared at the deflated buns and pondered everything that led up to this moment in my life. The burger was just a typical cheeseburger, despite the obvious absence of pickles. This suits me as I (controversially) hate pickles, so I was glad to finally have a burger I could sink my teeth into without worrying whether or not there would be a devious green spectre haunting my patty.

The cheeseburger was my go-to meal as a child, but after having perused the rest of the menu in my 22 years on this godforsaken Earth, returning to this nostalgic feast was as underwhelming as rediscovering your favourite movie as a kid was shit. I guess the meal’s namesake was fitting as this felt like a return to the kid’s menu, minus the toy.

The nuggets and fries were quite nice. I would say there’s not too much you can do to fuck these things up, but having known many Maccas workers in my lifetime, I am afraid I might offend them. In any case, I decided to rip open the barbecue sauce and dip them in. My usual go-to sauce is aioli, but I was willing to give the barbecue sauce a try.

I am sad to say, dear SURG readers, that I found the Maccas barbecue sauce to be quite mid. After dipping two or three chicken nuggets in, I just couldn’t do it anymore. My head collapsed in my hands and the thought of continuing became too horrible to contemplate. I plucked up my courage and continued on, but chucked the sauce, raw dogging the rest of the meal. It was dry, it was salty, it was Maccas.

I stepped off the train that morning after having gorged myself on the meal, feeling a sense of both relief but also regret. Relief that it was over, but also that I had quenched my curiosity. After all, don’t knock it till you try it. But perhaps, there are some stones better left unturned. I regret getting the Kid LAROI meal. In fact, I regret any instance I get Maccas – that greasy feeling on the fingertips, the sore stomach, the slowing down of my breath, the clogging of my arteries, and the deep spiralling slump of depression I spin out into.

Ultimately, my thoughts on the Kid LAROI meal are not too dissimilar to my thoughts LAROI’s music itself: it’s shit. The meal is a hollow, vacuous trend; a brief momentary lapse of happiness and dopamine before a sharp decline into nothingness.  A cash grab, a flavourless slog, a reminder of the meaninglessness of this absurd existence. Worst of all, it’s boring. Eat this if you hate your life.

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