2014 has not been a stellar year for McDonald’s Japan. The tainted chicken scandal of midyear rocked the fast-food chain so much that it’s core audience of netizens decried every offering since. It wasn’t for lack of trying as they hauled out some alternative tofu nuggets only to float back to chicken nuggets offered for free. The company then tried offering the sophisticated taste of mushroom risotto balls and a tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) burger with sauce selected by a nationwide search.

However, all of these efforts fell on deaf ears and itchy typing fingers hammering out comments such as “Never again” and “It’s too easy to see they’re fine with using dodgy meat.” It had gotten to the point that you might think Japan had turned its collective back on McDonald’s forever, but as the New Year’s song goes: Should old acquaintance be forgot?

Maybe so as McDonald’s Japan’s latest offering has been getting a relatively warm response, and all it took was a little crabbiness.

In Japan, one of the premier sandwiches has always been the Croquette Burgers. Similar to the McRib in Western countries, McDonald’s has frequently tickled customers’ taste buds with the feather of deep-fried mashed potatoes in a heavily flavored white sauce, only to yank it away again leaving us hanging.

This time they are smothering not potatoes, but snow crab meat in a Sauce Américaine made with pounded lobster meat and shells along with other seasonings. This is all topped with crispy lettuce and smothered with a hearty dab of tomato sauce. all placed on a moist yet flour dusted ciabatta bun which has become a recent favorite among Japan’s tastes of the months. All this can be yours for 390 yen or 690 yen in a combo (US$3.25/$5.76) when it hits heat lamps on 17 December.

This might sound like the typical fast food carnival barking that jaded internet commenters have scoffed in the past months…actually this sounds exactly like that, but in all honesty I was already won back by the risotto balls. And yet, something about this sandwich seemed to have resonated strongly  with the masses resulting in fairly positive feedback such as:

“That looks good.”
“I thought it was the beef croquet…”
“As long as they didn’t use anything bad…It looks pretty good.”
“McDonald’s images are BS. The real thing won’t look the same.”
“McDonald’s is unpalatable crap.”

While that might not sound overwhelmingly positive, it is a marked improvement over past vitriol and signs that Japanese McDonald-customer relations are steadily improving to nearly the same levels as before the chicken scandal. If it holds for this taste of the month, then who knows what other peace may be brokered in 2015.

Source: Excite News via Golden News (Japanese)
Images: Digital PR Platform