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Taco Bell opens its first restaurant in Japan in Tokyo's Shibuya district on Tuesday. How do you think they'll do?

29 Comments

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29 Comments
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I will visit next time I am in shibuya. Taco Bell isn't great but it's not bad. Wonder if they will change the flavor/menu.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The last (and last) time I ate at Taco Bell it was one of the most disgusting meals I have ever eaten. Stay away Japan.

-12 ( +4 / -17 )

Think outside the bun. Although Taco Bell aint "real" mex food, at least it brings a twist on the common burger joints here; Mos burger, lotteria, mc d, BK.

I just hope the menu is as cheap as it is in the states.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Interesting move by Taco Bell. They were in South Korea for years before their unpopularity there forced them out. Taco Bell may work in Tokyo, but elsewhere? Not sure.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Was it Taco Time or Taco Bell that was in Japan back in the 90s or so? In any case, whenever a student or associate ate there they came away with stomach problems, notably diarrhea. Then the chain closed up and left Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'd definitely go, although I've been in the States and it really isn't that good..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

(PNS reporting from WASHINGTON, DC) A new Food and Drug Administration study has detected a questionable strain of genetically-engineered corn in taco shells produced for Taco Bell.

“It could cause digestive problems, cramping, spasms, allergic reactions and even night blindness,” Colonel Ben Enoso of the FDA’s Genetic Corn Division told a press conference Monday. “Unfortunately, this makes it pretty hard to distinguish from other Taco Bell food items.”

Even Taco Bell admits their beef is only 88% beef, and the remaining ingrediants are a secret.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

well for a while until novelty wears off and people realise not good quality or proper mexican. Chipotle will do better. already a few Chipotle alikes around Tokyio and they seem to be doing a roaring trade.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well, if it's the same as in the US it's still going to be better fake Mexican food than the other fake Mexican food I've had in Japan. I don't eat at Taco Bell in the US because there are better options. Not so much here, unless we make tacos at home. Which we do.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japanese would never like real mex food like those in N. America. Guess they don't dig refried beans, flour/corn tortillas & hot chili- the trinity of mex cuisine.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japanese would never like real mex food like those in N. America.

Why not? Other ethnic foods do quite well. There's an Indian restaurant on every other block in Tokyo.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The "access rap" on their website was fun, but I can't see TB being competitive on any restaurant KPIs.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not very well considering their prices (800 yen for a "set")

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It'll be over-priced, and small-portioned.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If Japanese customers confuse 'Taco' with 'Tako' they may hang in there for a while.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I just hope it isnt forced to adapt to Japanese tastes, which one local place in my neighborhood did: lots of wasabi-mayonnaise, purple-colored chicken breast heavy with oil with rubbery skin, and piles of rice where there should have been tortillas or something corn-based, no or very little hot sauce, sour cream or guacamole.

Otherwise, I welcome it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Remember the Taco Bell restaurant in the film Demolition Man?

http://tacobell.wikia.com/wiki/Demolition_Man

That's how it's gonna have to be to survive in Tokyo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have yet to be served a decent taco in Tokyo--American, Mexican or otherwise--so stick to making them myself. But judging from the reaction of my friends who will wolf down four or more at a sitting, I think even Taco Bell stands a chance. As long as they don't pull a Nathan's...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'd be happier if it was 'Del Taco'.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I just hope it isnt forced to adapt to Japanese tastes

A lot of kebab shops in Japan are like that with those hand-held buns. Oh well, one may hope

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Think outside the bun. Although Taco Bell aint "real" mex food...

It isn't even real food. Just some highly processed stuff trying to resemble food.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

It isn't even real food. Just some highly processed stuff trying to resemble food.

It is real food... unless you're going to claim that Taco Bell is somehow making imitation lettuce and tomatoes, or making imitation ground beef, chicken, and steak? No. It's real food, but just in a form you apparently disagree with.

I LOVE Taco Bell as dinner every once in a while. The only complaint I have with the company is what's on their menu boards in no way resembles what you actually get on your tray. That awesome burrito (that looks like it's too big to eat in one sitting) pictured on the menu... fits in the palm of your hand when you actually get it. The disparity between what you see and what you actually get is such that I once complained to the Better Business Bureau that Taco Bell was conducting false advertising with their menu boards. The food IS good, though... once you get enough of it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well they will certainly have to adjust their target audience to a different group. Young male and female in their teenage to mid twenties single would probably their initial target here in Japan since kids would too young to appreciate the spicy food. Same with families and middle aged men and women who may not be familiar with tex-mex cuisines.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sorry, Taco Bell is too weird.

That strange brown paste and the orange stuff (cheese?) always has the gooey texture of oily rubber. It's not as if the taste is bad but the eye appeal is hard to get over. Maybe they will do well enough as a fad and there is no question they do their research. Mexican inspired food is really hard to recreate in fast food.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I'd be happier if it was 'Del Taco'.

Man, you are speaking my language. I will never forget the late nights studying and driving out to Del Taco to 3 or 4 soft tacos and a veggie works burrito. Taco Bell is great too and can't wait for it to open in Kansai. I love Mexican food and I know it isn't authentic Mexican food but it is easy, cheap and filling.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Fadamor

It is real food... unless you're going to claim that Taco Bell is somehow making imitation lettuce and tomatoes, or making imitation ground beef, chicken, and steak?

Read the book, "Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food" and investigate about the industrial food system even a little and then see if you'd still like to make the claim Taco Bell or any fast-food giant is making what you call "real food".

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Well they will certainly have to adjust their target audience to a different group. Young male and female in their teenage to mid twenties single would probably their initial target here in Japan since kids would too young to appreciate the spicy food. Same with families and middle aged men and women who may not be familiar with tex-mex cuisines.

Taco Bell doesn't count as "Tex-Mex". It's barely spicy at all. I would imagine the beloved curry in Japan carries more "heat" than Taco Bell food does.

That strange brown paste

My best guess is you're talking about the refried beans. It may look strange, but refritos are a basic staple of Mexican cuisine.

and the orange stuff (cheese?) always has the gooey texture of oily rubber.

I'm assuming you're talking about the cheese sauce they put on their nachos. Yeah, I don't get that. The grated cheese they put on the tacos is real, though.

It's not as if the taste is bad but the eye appeal is hard to get over. Maybe they will do well enough as a fad and there is no question they do their research.

I'm with you on the "eye appeal" thing. In October I was in Tokyo and walked by a Burger King where they were advertising a blue-black Whopper with a blue-black bun and some blue-black sauce covering the patty. I'm guessing a squid ink Whopper? I took one look at the poster and had only one word in multiple languages: nyet, non, iie, NO! Anybody know if it was popular with Japanese people?

Do not eat American junk, it will give you cancer.

Wow! Good to see that cancer is only a problem in America! I guess that means that before there were McDonalds in Japan, there were ZERO cases of cancer in the country! What? I'm wrong? Hmm I guess cancer is caused by something OTHER than eating "American junk", eh?

Read the book, "Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food" and investigate about the industrial food system even a little and then see if you'd still like to make the claim Taco Bell or any fast-food giant is making what you call "real food".

The book's point is that food has become a commodity to be traded on the financial markets - sometimes to the detriment of the global population, but just because that is so doesn't mean the food being grown doesn't still supply the nutrients and minerals you eat food for. IT'S STILL FOOD despite your claims to the contrary.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Some of the comments here are unbelievable. I lived in Tokyo from 1995 to 2005 and I visit annually for a couple of weeks every summer. Here is my humble perspective: I'm reading a lot of negative comments about Taco Bell and for sure it's not for everyone, however, stop with the hate. If you don't want to eat there for whatever reason then don't. Complaining that Taco Bell has "mystery ingredients," "it's not healthy," or "it causes cancer" is so silly. It's a fast food restaurant for Christ's sake, of course it's not healthy. If you want a healthy meal go eat some Kaiseki Ryori, Natto Maki, or something like that. I can remember the days in Japan when foreign food options were extremely limited (i.e. no Outback Steakhouse, no TGIF, no Krispy Kreme Donuts, etc., etc.). I realize all of my examples hold wait mostly from an American perspective only, but I'm sure other nationality long-term Japan residents can cite examples of their countries' restaurants and retail chains making inroads into Japan. Having more choices is usually a good thing and should be celebrated. I also remember the times when you could count the number of ATM(s) in Tokyo that accepted foreign bank cards could be counted on the digits of one or two hands. Now they are everywhere. My point of this diatribe is that Japan is changing little by little and any little slight change such as the harmless addition of a Taco Bell should not be hated, but rather, celebrated even if it doesn't directly change your daily life.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Taco Bell opens its first restaurant in Japan . . . How do you think they'll do?"

JT has asked an open ended question.

Comments about quality, texture, appearance and price are relevant. Some feel more strongly than others about health impact.

Taco Bell is different and has qualities unique to the brand. The Japanese will try and decide across a gamut of responses.

When 'Hooter's' opened that was also cause for strong reaction. The strength of reaction was also across the gamut. Hey, try it, but that brown paste is strange and the BK blue black bun was polarizing yet, it is all food for convenience and Japan has more good than bad in that category.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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