I’ve been doing Friday fast-food fishtacular reviews for a few years now, trying my best to give an honest opinion about various fish sandwiches from ubiquitous fast-food franchises. All the while, I’ve avoided The Big Two: McDonald’s and Burger King. My reasoning was that their fish sandwiches are year-round menu staples (opposed to some other chains which offer them seasonally around this time of year). Also, probably everyone has had a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish by now (they’ve been around for a half-century) and, well, I don’t really have a good reason for avoiding Burger King’s BK Big Fish except that I remember (and prefer) The Whaler. Well, McDonald’s went ahead and debuted a new fish product — the Fish McBites.
Not a “fish sandwich” at all, Fish McBites are more like Chicken McNuggets. They come in three sizes and come with tartar sauce pack(s).
The first thing I notice is the carton itself — the lid opens like double doors, and one door doubles as a sauce holder. Ingenious! Since I haven’t had Chicken McNuggets since the days of styrofoam containers, I don’t know if all sauce-friendly foods from McDonald’s do this… but I thought it was handy. In fact, if you’re wondering what to do with the sauce-pack foil lid, just stick it on the other door.
The fish itself is pretty good. The Alaskan pollock is somehow portioned into nickel-sized spheres and covered in a seasoned breading that’s different from the Filet-O-Fish. Darlene and I each tried a Snack-size Fish McBites (10 fish balls, $2.29) from two different McDonald’s and she described her experience as having an oily aftertaste. I thought mine were fine, if boring. Should they be paired with a sandwich, salad, soda or shake? I don’t know. But it was refreshing to eat fish from McDonald’s without a tarp of oddly melted American cheese draped over it. Ten McBites didn’t conquer my hunger, so I guess it truly was a “snack.”
A few days later I tried the Regular portion (15 fish balls, $3.39) from another McDonald’s. My experience was identical to the Snack except it came with two tartar sauce packs. I recommend this route, as you get a better ball-to-sauce ratio than the Snack size.
In all, I can’t really find any problem with the food. They tasted fine and the calorie count was not bad (250 calories for the snack size, 370 for regular). I have yet to order the $5.59 “Shareable” size, but judging by its calorie count of 740, I assume it’s 30 fish balls and would come with four tartar sauces. Total fat on a Regular order is 20g and sodium is 630mg, which weighs in a tiny bit more than a Filet-O-Fish, though the McBites’ calorie count is less.
An afterthought — I would recommend using a fork because it’s pretty easy to get your fingers sauced up during the dipping (plus, one order came to me piping hot from the fryer).
Ba-da-bop-bap-baaa… I’m almost lovin’ it. McBites are available in San Diego; check your local McDonald’s for availability.
Read other Friday Fast Food Fishtacular posts here.
I don’t know why, but the idea of McD’s fish balls scares me. Even with your review and “they’re totally fine!” thoughts, I’m still scared of them. They should make fish sliders w/o cheese – that seems like the perfect compromise!
Ball to sauce….
Oh wait a minute…actually when I saw that McD’s was offering this new fish product, I immediately thought of you! Fish with cheese = barf.
I once tried Chicken McBites last year and, like a dumb @$$, ruined the containers that were supposed to hold the side sauces.
Nice write up. The breading / “popcorn seasoning” kinda ruined it for me. I also didn’t care for the tartar sauce for these, thought they were too heavy on mayo and not enough sweet relish ratio. I’m personally looking forward to Wendy’s premium fish filet to come back.
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