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Guten tag, McNoodles

(Ariel Alexovich/for RedEye )
September 24, 2012|Ariel Alexovich | For RedEye

AUSTRIA — When normal people have a layover in Vienna, they make the best of it by seeking out a flaky strudel or, if they're fancy, maybe some marzipan chocolates shaped like Mozart's violin. This girl, however, thinks to herself, "Ooh, I wonder if there's a McDonald's." Not, however, because of visions of dancing Big Macs, but rather because I read a story on RedEye about how McDonald's recently introduced McNoodles, ONLY IN AUSTRIA! Win!

Sure enough, there is a Euro-trendy renovated Mickey D's outside the arrivals gate, where, you guessed it, McNoodles are McAdvertised prominently. Here is this Chicagoan's quick take:

Choices: Curry chicken or sweet and sour. I chose sweet and sour because that's my go-to nugget sauce.

Presentation: They give you chopsticks!! At McDonald's!! They might do this, however, to distract you from the actual product, which looks suspiciously oily and doesn't even fill the box. The veggies -- red peppers, baby corn, broccoli, carrots, red cabbage and lettuce -- appear bright and crisp.

Taste: Hey, not bad! It doesn't taste like the McNuggets sauce, but the sweet and sour is light and tangy. The chicken breast is of good quality and the noodles are done well, neither too mushy or al dente. Also, most Chinese/Thai food I've eaten is greasier.

Spice quotient: If you love spicy food, McNoodles will barely register. But if you don't like spice, steer clear because the dish surprisingly has a kick that lingers.

Price: 4.99 euros. Not bank-breaking by any means, but the portion is relatively small. They should include more than five pieces of chicken.

Conclusion: Totally acceptable non-specific Asian cuisine if you're craving noodles and you're somewhere that lacks authentic Asian food, such as an airport or Ronald McDonald's birthday party. But I can see McNoodles having a hard time competing with the restaurant's already awesomely bad-for-you cheeseburgers and McNuggets.

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