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U.S. hamburger chain restaurants offer some unusual items in Japan

35 Comments

Famous American hamburger chain restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s have had varying degrees of success in Japan over the years. Many foreign food chain restaurants have flopped (Nathan’s, Arby’s) because they have not been able to adapt their menus to suit Japanese consumers.

The hamburger chains generally have had better success than most. While their menus are predominantly the same as in the U.S., they are also selling original items for Japan.

Here are a few examples.

McDonald’s Japan

The Teritama burger is selling for a limited period only. Based on the popular McDonald’s Teriyaki McBurger, it consists of a juicy pork patty with ginger flavored teriyaki sauce, fried egg, lettuce and sweet lemon sauce. Teritama’s “Teri” is from Teriyaki and “tama” is from Tamago (egg). There are also “Cheese Teritama” which is “Teritama” with cheddar cheese, and “Sakura (Cherry blossom) Teritama” which is “Teritama” with light pink sakura sauce for spring.

Teriyaki McBurger is very popular in Japan. It contains a juicy pork patty with ginger and garlic flavored teriyaki sauce, fresh lettuce, sweet lemon sauce, and buns with sesame to make a rich and delicious taste.

Ebikatsu (shrimp cutlet) contains crunchy shelled shrimp. Its taste is enriched by Thousand Island sauce with many vegetables such as onions, olives, and so on, fresh lettuce, mustard and buns with sesame.

McDonald’s Japan often runs campaigns to sell unique burgers in Japan, such as Gurakoro Burger which contains cream croquette with macaroni and shrimps in winter, Tsukimi Burger which contains fresh egg, 100% juicy beef patty, smoky bacon, original sauce (mayonnaise with tomato sauce), and buns with sesame in September and October, and so on. Furthermore, McDonald’s Japan sells not only original burgers but also original side menus such as American cherry shake.

Burger King Japan

In March, Burger King released an apple-topped burger called BK RiNGO for a limited time. BK RiNGO is a Whopper Jr-sized burger sandwiching a grilled beef patty, lettuce, honey-mustard sauce, and a 7mm slice of a flame-grilled apple.

Grill Teriyaki is Burger King Japan’s original item. It uses a 13-cm bun, a 100g smoked beef patty with a blend of dark soy sauce and teriyaki sauce. The kids can try the Grill Teriyaki Jr, which uses a 10-cm bun and 60g beef patty.

Wendy’s Japan

Two years after exiting the Japanese market, Wendy’s returned to Japan last December. It has four types of “Japan Premium” products only available in Japan, including the Foie Gras Rossini with original foie gras terrine. Wendy's says the burger accounts for 15% of its sales.

The three other “Japan Premium” items are the Avocado Wasabi burger, the Truffle & Boletus Grill Chicken which contains expensive mushroom truffles, and The Chili Burger featuring chili sauce and double cheddar cheese.

© Japan Today

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35 Comments
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The Japanese do to Burgers what Americans do to Sushi.

21 ( +22 / -2 )

@motytrah - sometimes the results are good and sometimes not so good.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

How is one supposed to get that Foie Gras Rossini burger into one's mouth?

I'm not into Foie Gras anyway.

McD's should bring back that "Hotate Sando" they had years ago for a very short time - a couple of fried scallops on a bun with lettuce and tartar sauce - yum! Probably no one else remembers that.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Editors,

Teriyaki McBurger is very popular in Japan. It contains a juicy pork patty with ginger and garlic flavored teriyaki sauce, fresh lettuce, sweet lemon sauce, and buns with sesame to make a rich and delicious taste.

Nice repeat of the previous paragraph. Of course, taste is subjective; we all have different opinions about what is 'delicious' or not.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I miss Nathan's. Their dogs were the best in Tokyo. I thought they always looked pretty busy when I went in.......

The Ebikatsu is not great.

Some of the fails were because the marketing was poor. Freshness, Homeworks et al survuve without too many outlandishly different recipes..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There always has to be innovation and adjustments for local tastes. Pork in the Middle East or beef in India are obviously out of the question.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I tried the Cheese Teritama, it was utterly gross. One bite and it was all over the place. They put way to many ingredients on these burgers, I mean, just look at the monstrosity in the main picture or at any of Macd's "Big America" burgers...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

wendy's is back? i only noticed that KFC's twister is suddenly half the size then a few years back

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't mind the speciality burgers sold at some chains. Can't stand the cheese they put into cheeseburgers, etc though, just vile.

Said that looking forward to my yearly Naan-Tacos at Mos-Burger.

As for localising foods, McD had to change the Oil for their Fries in some Countries.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Used to enjoy the MdD's Tatsuta Chicken.

Recently, however, I choose onigiri over McD's or KFC. Have not had a MosBurger for quite a while...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The headline here is very misleading. McDonalds America is NOT to blame for these god awful campaign burgers.

Japan is just having fun butchering something from America's culture. When it comes to burgers I consider myself to be a guru. There are countless Hamburger joints in Japan and for the life of them they can't get the original formula right. It's like making Coke at home, "You can come close but it's still a low grade imitation".

There's really no point in trying to reinvent the wheel now is there? Especially when you have it down perfect. Look at George Lucas. The guy had a great creation. A master piece, cinematic art. What did he do? He ruined it.

The same logic applies to these burger joints. You don't mess with the original formula.

Japan would like nothing more than to see the bastions of America's entrepreneurship and capitalism fail. These leaders in the food industry have much to lose as the world shift's to cleaner energy and healthier lifestyle's.

Bottom line is this. These companies had better put a leash on their counterparts here in Japan. Stop allowing them to destroy the hamburger.

You know if we put french fries on rice and called it Sushi, Japanese would be in an uproar.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

There are countless Hamburger joints in Japan and for the life of them they can't get the original formula right. It's like making Coke at home, "You can come close but it's still a low grade imitation".

Well, I suppose any imitation of a low-grade sugar-water concoction is bound to be at least equally low-grade.....;)

But all this kerfuffle about ground beast patties between bits of white bread......how can anyone get het up about that? Just go to a restaurant where they sell proper food. Or make your own. Home-made food easily tops anything a chain can produce.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Bottom line is this. These companies had better put a leash on their counterparts here in Japan. Stop allowing them to destroy the hamburger.

lmfao at how serious you are about hamburgers

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Waiting for Wendys to open more stores other than the one in Omotesando, their burgers are a cut above the other rubbish readily available.

Burger King is rubbish here, Lotteria is absolute rubbish, mcdonalds is rubbish everywhere, Mos burger can be good though as can Kua aina burgers. For decent burgers you need to hit the Boutique burger shops around the place.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

These cuisine burgers have (with lots of local variation) popped up everywhere now. Hamburgers are big business all over. Very odd. No idea why burgers are suddenly popular in the last few years.

Given the amount of food and energy to create 1 pound of meat is ridiculous it seems we are approaching a crescendo before a fall

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

But all this kerfuffle about ground beast patties between bits of white bread......how can anyone get het up about that? Just go to a restaurant where they sell proper food. Or make your own. Home-made food easily tops anything a chain can produce.

Cleo - you said it!

Eating fast food, whether the startlingly original (sarcasm) burgers described above, or the standard fare, produces figure and body problems that nobody wants.

100% beef, sure. But I'd rather not think about what parts of the cow are used!

Do as Cleo says, make your own food. Then you know what goes in it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

My personal favorite (I'm being sarcastic here) is the Big Boy chain of restaurants in Japan. Not a single one of them serves the actual Big Boy, a double-decker cheeseburger sandwich for which the restaurant chain gained its namesake in the U.S. The restaurants even go so far as to have the Big Boy mascot himself standing out in front of the entrance, holding up a platter with . . . sadly, nothing more than a simple a rehashing of Gusto's hamburg platter motif. Massive disappointment when I went to the place for the first time.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There was a chilli burger a few years back at McDs I really liked. Went back about a year later and was diappointed it was no longer sold. I always thought Wendys and Mos were better though..

Found a place that had really nice ishiyaki bibimba. And then, due to people burning their fingers on the bowls, they reduced the temperate to barely hot and the bibimba didn't "cook". Not the first place I've avoided due to this kind of thing. Not a gourmet, but will go out of my way for something I know is good.

@cleo

ground beast patties

Intentional error? It's funny until we remember all the poor animals in pens.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just for the record, I saw a TV program about worldwide fast food companies and how they adapt to foreign cultures. For all of Asia McDonald's has a research center and food lab in Hong Kong. I believe that there was input and advise from chefs and food scientists from most of the Asian countries ( yes, from Japan also).

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

for some inexplicable reason, once a month I crave for junk food. I don't go as low as McDonalds, but I satisfy this need at MosBurger. And speaking of unusual items, we should not forget the rice burgers MosBurger (used to?) have. I never liked those though

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just go to a restaurant where they sell proper food. Or make your own. Home-made food easily tops anything a chain can produce

Not all of us have the time or money to do this, Cleo. Fortunately, I usually have enough of both, so that's what I do. The biggest difference is the bread. I have never seen a decent fast food bun. It can't be done. Home burger on a proper bakery bun? Heaven. You can mimic it with roast eggplant if that's how you...roll.

For MacDonald's, the seasonal sandwich campaign is also a way of saving money by cutting the beef with pork. The flavor of the meat is noticeably different from the usual burgers.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Bottom line is this. These companies had better put a leash on their counterparts here in Japan. Stop allowing them to destroy the hamburger.

didn't Mcdonaldo do it themselves?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This isn't just Japan. In fact, one thing I try to do whenever I travel to another nation is, if they have one, pay a visit to a local McD's to see what unusual local creations they have. I don't necessarily buy them, or anything for that matter, and I really don't like McD's at all, but there are some interesting cultural differences in every nation (be it service or products).

Anyway, some of the things created here by said chains (and probably elsewhere) are utter monstrosities, but some aren't bad. The only thing that baffles me is how many Japanese talk about food and flavor and say 'simple is best' (contrasting Japanese cuisine with 'over-flavoured' foreign food), and yet a Fois Gras Rossini burger to name one example caters to 'Japanese tastes'.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

One thing the burger joints here don't do it put sliced beetroot on the burgers. Ask any Aussie and they will tell you - it just has to have beetroot!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

My wife with a MBA in marketing tells me that McDonalds, Burger King and Wendys wouldn't be selling the different burgers if there wasn't a market for them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Elsewhere on JT right now is a story on US approval for an obesity drug!

Many foreign food chain restaurants have flopped (Nathan’s, Arby’s) because they have not been able to adapt their menus to suit Japanese consumers.

Generally this means reality sized portions that meet the need (i.e. enough) but don't require a doggy bag to take home so you have to keep eating the same thing day after day!

I'll pass on these specials.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Best without any burger places as they make you fat !! They should all come with a government health warning, even cigarettes is safer

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

That being said, I have managed to avoid anything fast food since I saw that "pink" stuff and the video of the french fries looking brand new months after being put in a jar. Don't eat meat anyone but have to say, it scared the crap out of me. Shakes that come in a bag that can be cooled to be like real milkshakes? Yikes.

I will say, India has an amazing McAloo burger that is to die for.

And Denny's if we're going to add to the WTF? I rocked up there years ago and well, nearly cried when I looked at the menu. Haven't been back since. You Kanto folk are lucky to at least have Jonathon's! Though will agree with Cleo, the older I get, the better and safer my cooking is - and that doesn't say much!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"I don't go as low as McDonald's"

Heh heh, McDonald's is doing fine without your business.

The article missed Beck's - their burgers have the best buns.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Becker's!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The headline here is very misleading. McDonalds America is NOT to blame for these god awful campaign burgers.

While I admit the burgers as-described don't sound very appetizing to me, the headline seems fine. The restaurants being talked about ARE U.S. chains as that is where they have their corporate headquarters and where they established themselves. McDonalds-Japan is a franchisee of McDonalds Inc.

I understand that your restaurant needs to cater to the tastes of your customers, so I can't knock these chains too much for experimenting to find the ideal combination of ingredients. After all, experimenting by a manager in one Pittsburgh, PA McDonalds is what created the BigMac­­® - McDonalds' main product in America now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm a sucker for coffee and ice cream, and can not help eating them. Black coffee can galvanize me. I'm just wondering what the Avocado Wasabi burger tastes like. Mesmerizing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What the Japanese do with American fast food burgers is no problem. What freaks me out is how CLEAN their stores are compared to the dumps we have here in the U.S.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What the Japanese do with American fast food burgers is no problem. What freaks me out is how CLEAN their stores are compared to the dumps we have here in the U.S.

On the whole, service is a different league too.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not that these "Picasso burgers” are all bad. It's just going to McD and getting a cheese1/4 lb. taking it home, putting lettuce, tomatoe, mayo and sliced raw onion with some mustard, ketchup and a little relish on the bun. My only complaint is that the buns are often too small. I need to find a Wendy's near me to try one out for kicks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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