McDonald’s releases potato scallops, igniting age-old debate

McDonald's released a Potato Scallop as part of its Summer Menu.

McDonald's released a Potato Scallop as part of its Summer Menu. Photo: McDonald's

McDonald’s has expanded its summer menu and one item might stir up a bit of a debate, depending on where you live.

In addition to the Aussie Angus Deluxe, the McSpicy Deluxe and the hokey pokey thickshake, McDonald’s will also be offering potato scallops with chicken salt.

A true Aussie icon … the perfect combination of crunchy tempura coating and fluffy potato,” McDonald’s promises.

But while the appeal of the battered treat is universal, the name of the potato dish is not, and customers in some states are scratching their heads.

What spud lovers in New South Wales, the ACT and Queensland all call a potato scallop, other Australians refer to as a potato cake or even a potato fritter.

Some parts of southern NSW will refer to it as a potato cake, along with Victoria and Tasmania.

To confuse matters, some South Australians prefer to use both names, and may also call it a potato fritter in some parts.

Linguistics Roadshow has actually mapped out what every state calls the humble potato snack.

pictured is the map that shows what Australians call potato scallops

Potato scallop or potato cake? Australia has many names for the potato treat.

Judging by an ABC Darwin radio segment, potato cake or potato scallop will work up north and it’s also a mixed bag in Western Australia.

In some parts of the country it’s also called a hash brown, which is just a completely different thing altogether.

The Macquarie Dictionary dissected the term, with many contributors noting that in Tasmania and Victoria, a “scallop” referred to shellfish.

The different names have led to some real-life mishaps.

“As a Brisbanite who moved to Melbourne in the mid-1970s,” one Macquarie Dictionary contributor said of the matter.

“I fell into the trap of ordering a scallop at the local fish and chip shop, when I really should have asked for a potato cake according to the local lingo.”

Potato scallop v potato cake debate reignited

It is somewhat controversial for McDonald’s to deem the item “potato scallops”.

To be fair, the fast food giant’s head office is located in Sydney, which is pretty safe “scallop” territory.

The summer menu items, all of which are making their debut, will be available for a limited time only.

However, this could mean people in safe ‘potato cake’ states will have to swallow their pride and just order a ‘potato scallop’ at the drive-through.

Potato Scallop‘?, @maccas really woke up one morning and chose violence didn’t they?” one person wrote on Twitter.

Maccas For the love of all things holy – there is time to fix this – it’s Potato Cake – don’t make the parmi mistake again!!!” someone else said, while another asked when McDonald’s would release the potato cakes.

Though someone did pick up on the fact there was a missed opportunity here, saying on Twitter McDonald’s should have gone with “McPotato”.

But at the end of the day, if the McDonald’s potato scallop tastes good, does it really matter?

What’s in a name?

The whole potato scallop, cake or fritter debate isn’t the only instance where Australia is divided over food.

If you want to start a lively debate at the pub with your interstate friends, just ask, “Is it parma or parmi?”

YouGov asked people what they called a chicken parmigiana and it was pretty even.

Victorians are adamant it is “parma”, with 71 per cent surveyed affirming it is, while 51 per cent of West Australians go with “parmi”.

Of course, there’s also the spelling of “parmy” to consider.

Overall, 34 per cent of Australians call it a “parmi”, 34 per cent call it a “parma” and 21 per cent call it a “parmy”.

Other terms that will surely ensure some sort of hot debate include – tuckshop or canteen, jaffle or toastie, and bathers, swimmers, togs and cozzies.

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