By Annie Cui,
Step aside mozzarella sticks. Burger King is changing the fast-food world by unleashing the beast: the Flamin’ Hot Mac n’ Cheeto.
Starting Nov. 30, select Burger King locations will be selling their second product in collaboration with Cheetos. Burger King describes the limited edition product as “a unique portable snack of creamy mac n’ cheese coated and dusted with the flavor of CHEETOS® crunchy FLAMIN’ HOT® cheese snacks.”
The iconic, original cheese flavor shook fast-food customers last summer but this year, the chain is re-introducing the savory, saucy snack with a spicy twist, the Flamin’ Hot flavor, for the bold.
The exterior of the product resembles a Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Puff: a scarlet red complexion with a slight soft curve, about the length of a pinky finger. However, the inside of the Mac n’ Cheeto is where it ventures into the land of the unknown and combines two childhood food favorites: macaroni and cheese.
In the simplest terms, the Mac n’ Cheeto can be described as fried macaroni and cheese with Cheeto dust. However, this is a major understatement and does not convey the complexity and ingenuity of the product.
Every bite goes through a journey of layers: first through the crispy skin, then into the plush macaroni noodles and all in-between, the creaminess of the cheese.
Instead of the two features of a traditional mozzarella stick, the Mac n’ Cheeto sports three distinct factors. The mix of the different textures definitely makes it unique and could be a compelling factor as to why it is so appealing.
The fried skin alone earns its title of futuristic fast-food. Without failing to maintain a firm external shell despite the easiness of it to be soggy because of the gooey inside, the addition of the Cheeto dust is an innovative and impressive move.
The only downside of the outside is that although the product claims to be “Flamin’ Hot,” it does not meet the same level of spice as a regular Hot Cheeto chip. The picante tang is noticeable, however, it is subsidized by the cheesiness. More people might be able to enjoy it, but those looking for a taste bud challenge will be disappointed.
Unfortunately, perfection does not exist within this small snack. In the images that Burger King advertises and in my dreams, the rich cheesy sauce would be the bridge connecting the fried outside and the delicate noodles. Ideally, it would have filled the interior and any gaps between the skin and mac.
In reality, the cheese was too clumpy and thick to perform its duty of being the bond between two paradises. Instead, it clung onto the noodles and refused to take shape of its surrounding. The sad, empty spaces between the macaroni and the skin made the product seem like two different entities rather than one revolutionary item.
Another heart-breaking and heart-damaging factor is the nutrition facts. In one serving of Mac n’ Cheetos, there are 390 calories, which is only 10 calories more than Burger King’s medium serving of french fries. However, compared to the french fries, there are five more grams of fat, totaling in 22 grams.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, the recommended fat intake is 44 to 78 grams per day for a 2,000 calorie diet. So with just five Mac n’ Cheetos, you already achieve 30 to 50 percent of your recommended fat intake for the day. Keep in mind that one serving of Mac n’ Cheetos is only a snack; it is not big enough to be a sufficient meal.
The sodium in the Mac n’ Cheetos is especially alarming– a whopping 1,170 mg in one serving. In comparison, a large serving of fries has 640 mg of sodium and a Burger King Whopper Sandwich has 980 mg.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day for adults, but they suggest that ideally an adult has no more than 1,500 mg per day. The Mac n’ Cheetos might please your taste buds but not your blood vessels.
Because Burger King is a fast-food chain, it should not be surprising that the new Cheeto is unhealthy. The very idea of fried mac n’ cheese with the combination of cheetos is enough to clout artierites. It is disappointing, however, that with such a small snack comes big health sacrifices.
Mac n’ Cheetos might be a recipe for heart disease but the experience was worth it for only $2.69. Overall, the five pieces did its job of being an unique snack that satisfied my curiosity, even though it wrecked my body.
Although I would say the Flamin’ Hot Mac n’ Cheeto deserves the hype, I do not plan on sacrificing my digestion again for it. The one-time experience was enough to prove that the fast-food industry is moving in the right direction in terms of innovation.