McLobster vs The Lobster Sub: May the Better Claw Win

Name: McDonald’s and Subway Restaurants
Where: Atlantic Canada
Cuisine: Fast food
Affordability: $10+ depending on the sandwich

You were probably thinking I have invented these two items just to blog something. I wish that were the case. If you live in Atlantic Canada, and I hear New England, you will likely find both McLobster and the Lobster Sub in these regions during the summer months.

I’ve heard of McLobster’s existence for years but thought it’s only a myth. I’ve traveled to the Atlantic a few times but never actually seen an ad for it, seen it on McDonald’s menu let alone try one. But a recent trip to Antigonish (pronounced Auntee-gonish said really fast), Nova Scotia near the end of lobster season just happened to be the perfect time to find this sandwich in existence. Why the lobster season time frame you ask? Well, to make it as believable as possible, the McLobster is only available when “in season”. I quote in season because whatever was on that sandwich could not have been caught or trapped in the sea or needs a season. Other than the red colour or what appear to be chunks of lobster meat, it neither resembled nor tasted anything like the real thing.

The McLobster

McLobster

At first bite, all I could tell was the overpowering saltiness of the “thing” drowned in some kind of worrying mayo mix, shredded iceberg leaf lettuce, and some bits of celery between hotdog buns. Whatever concoction this sandwich was, it wasn’t lobster. My colleague’s reaction was far worse than mine. He picked up what appeared to be the “claw” part and asked if the meat should look like that. It wasn’t the shape of the thing he was asking; he was asking about the texture of the “meat”. It looked like a cleaning sponge complete with air pockets instead of something meat-like, or that of a shrimp, or something that resembled something from a lobster. He took a few more bites then he pulled something he bit into from his mouth; something that appeared to be like a squid’s cartilage. A bit confusing, I know. We thought we were having lobster too. At this point, I am not really sure any more. For all we know, it was some kind of ocean creature that is beknownst to the culinary industry…Filet-O-Fish comes to mind. But I digress. I finished my McLobster, regardless, to completely give it a full shot at impressing me. I only wish I didn’t later as I felt slightly ill.

Subway Lobster Sub

Subway Lobster Sub

Subway, however, fared better with their Lobster sub. I tried subway’s version while on a trip in Lewisporte, Newfoundland. I had a 12-inch toasted sub with the usual sub fixings: lettuce, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, mayo and sub sauce. The lobster meat was thawed and heated in the microwave first since it was stored in the freezer. I guess I feel better knowing it was frozen so I know it hasn’t been out a while that could potentially make it go bad. A good sign, if you will. And I got to say that it was. The saltiness of the lobster meat is present, as one would expect from canned or preserved lobster meat. But the fixings balanced the flavour and made it slightly more enjoyable than its McLobster counterpart. With it being warm made it more enjoyable too and not too bad of a sub sandwich. The only complaint I would have with it was that the lobster was portioned too well between the foot long sub making it really “thin” in the “meat” portion of the sub. And for something almost $20 with tax, I’d expect a little bit more meat. Then again, some people may say that was more than enough of something we’re not sure what is exactly. But I’d probably have the Lobster sub again more than I would want to try the McLobster. It’ll just have to be long successions in between much like my travel to the Maritimes. Plus, I’m too afraid to find out what its sodium content is and will do to my body.

So who has the better claw at serving up lobster sandwiches? I would have to go with Subway even though Jared would probably run at the thought of having one. Overall, it was just better presented as a sandwich and the lobster seem authentic. “Seem” being the operative word. It looks like lobster meat, albeit canned, and the taste isn’t really all that bad. I’ll trust that more than the sponge-like “lobster meat” at McDonalds. So if you ever find yourself in the Maritimes or New England, try the Subway Lobster Sub. Don’t even try the McDonald’s one in hopes of proving me wrong unless you have the stomach for it. I know I was glad I got to try it and know that it was not a myth…although now I wish it remained such. Oh well. Lessons learned.

McDonald's (Antigonish James St) on Urbanspoon

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