Hong Kong Food Studio, opened in June pegged at a cost of $2 million, was built entirely to come up with menus such as burgers and sandwiches that would cater to 50 million McDonald’s Corp. customers from Japan to South Africa.

The McDonald’s cooking space is found in a modest metro station in Hong Kong’s residential North Point district. McDonald’s develops menu items like the McCurry Pan for India and the Bulgogi Burger for South Korea.

McDonald’s refer to this test kitchen in Hong Kong as “The Forbidden Kitchen” named after China’s historic Forbidden City.

One half of the kitchen is designed for chefs like Romeo Leu and Leslie Bailey who play use their expertise to come up with ideas for products that might be sold in some of McDonald’s 7,600 restaurants in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The other half of the space is similar to the kitchen of a typical McDonald’s restaurant and is where employees test the new products formulated to see if they can be made and delivered to customers in under 55 seconds, the imposed fast-food chain’s global standard.

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