Visiting fast food joints while abroad is a little guilty pleasure of ours. While we rarely eat McDonald’s and the like at home, we love to experience what it’s like in other countries, especially when they have unique, local menus. Japan is no different, offering some interesting takes on the all-American burger. During our visit to Tokyo we tried 3 different fast food burger joints.
Mos is fast food chain that was first opened in 1972 in Japan. Being the second largest burger chain in Japan, they have branches all over Tokyo, so you’ll surely encounter some on your visit. Going into a Mos Burger conveys the sense of some familiarity and at same time it feels quite different to other burger places you know.
Their burger menu includes item such as: Tobikiri Cheese Burger, Most Bistro S\W Beef Stew in Red Wine, Teiyaki Burger and Soy Parry Mos Aurora Yasai Burger. But the most intriguing item on the menu is the rice patties burger, which was first introduced in 1987 and was quickly imitated by competitors.
We visited one of their Akihabara joints and ordered three different burgers and a side of fries:
Kaisen Kakiage (¥340) – Soft rice patties with seafood and vegetable tempura and Seafood Kakiage Sauce. Interesting taste but was a bit hard to eat since the rice patties kept falling apart.
Shrimp Cutlet Burger (¥390) – Fried shrimp with cabbage, mustard and tartar sauce. The shrimps provided a nice variation of texture and flavor in the flavor.
Tobikiri Cheese Burger (¥440) – “Superb” burger that includes Japanese beef, soy sauce, Hokkaido Gouda cheese and onion topping. This was our favorite among the three.
It was immediately evident that the burgers and their ingredients are fresh and that the burgers are prepared after you place the order. We were provided a tray with 2 glasses of iced water and our table number. Not long after a staff member came with a basket full of burger. The meal was filling and pretty cheap – we payed ¥1470 ($12.5) for three burger and one large fries which is a pretty great deal.
Tokyo was full of ads for Burger King’s new black burgers. Online, people describe these as “harrowing” and “disgusting looking” so of course we had try them for ourselves.
The two black burgers are: Kuro Taisho (￥590) and Kuro Shogun (￥690), “Kuro” meaning black. They both have black buns, kaiser buns, black cheese and black sauce. The black color in the bun and cheese comes from bamboo charcoal, while the sauce gets its color from squid ink.
The Shogun has a flamed grilled beef patty, with deep fried eggplant, cheese and sauce.
The Taisho has a flamed grilled beef patty, topped with hash brown, cheese and sauce.
Along with the burgers we took sides of: ChijiFurai , aka Cheesy Fries (￥330) and 4 pieces of Cheese Bites (￥100), which were excellent. And since we were all about eating weird looking things, we couldn’t help but get one of those cyanide – colored float drinks ￥150, which actually had a nice melon taste. Look how happy it made me!
We have to admit, the burgers were actually quite good. The eggplant went well with the meat patty and the hash brown was also an interesting addition. If Burger King Israel served these kinds of items we would actually go there from time to time. For the sake of our diet, maybe it’s a good thing that they don’t.
Our experience in McDonald’s was the most disappointing out of the three. First of all they didn’t have an English menu. Second, Tokyo was full of ads for a special avocado burger, but none of the three branches we tried were selling it. What a shame. The rest of the menu looked pretty mundane.
Eventually we settled on the Shrimp Fillet-O:
and the Chicken Tsukimi Hokkaido Cheese Burger:
The chicken Tsukimi is a special seasonal dish, which celebrates the end of summer and beginning of autumn. As japan-australia mentions: “The poached egg in the burger is said to resemble the Autumn full moon with the egg yolk representing the bright Autumn full moon and the egg white the white sky”.
In the bottom line, while sounding interesting, the McDonald’s didn’t bring anything new or exciting to the table.