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McDonald's Has a New Dessert That's Not Your Normal McFlurry

The meaty dessert will be available in McDonald's restaurants across Thailand until April 5.

Different countries have different tastes and, in Thailand, that comes in the form of Chili Paste Pork Ice Cream: the meaty dessert will be available in McDonald's  (MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation Report restaurants across Thailand until April 5.

The dessert dish, whose launch in Thailand was first reported by the site ChewBoom, features the restaurant's signature vanilla soft-serve ice cream cone with a topic of chili paste and shredded pork floss. 

Different Tastes, Different McDonald's Menus

While some on social media immediately dubbed the concoction a "monstrosity," McDonald's is known for adapting its menu to fit different tastes and cultures — restaurants in China and Hong Kong sell its typical handheld pies filled with taro instead of apple or cherry while India has a range of vegetarian options like the McAloo Tikki Burger (the burger patty is made of potatoes and peas) and the McSpicy Paneer Burger made of salty cheese.

And if you're still balking at the meat-and-sweet combination: ice cream with chili oil and burgers with spam and Oreos have been brought back as limited-time menu and members-only options at McDonald's restaurants in China in the last year. 

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When the chili oil ice cream known as the "Youpo Lazi Sundae" was first launched in the Chongqing and Chengdu regions in 2018, the internet went nuts and made it go viral.

How's That Veggie Meat Going For You?

That said, the meat-forward ice cream is coming at a time when, at least in North America, fast food restaurants are facing strong pressure to expand their vegetarian options.

While Americans still eat record numbers of red meat and poultry a year, an explosion of new options from companies like Beyond Meat BYND and Impossible Foods has sent demand for alternative and vegan meat options soaring — data from CB Insights found that this market could be worth $2.7 trillion by 2040.

Earlier today, shares of meat substitute producer Beyond Meat BYND surged when McDonald's expanded the testing of its McPlant burger to another 600 restaurants in the U.S. (Already years behind restaurants like A&W and Burger King, the fast food chain committed to launching its vegetarian burger on Feb. 14.)