McDonald’s Japan recently introduced two new burgers representing Japan and the U.S. in a sandwich showdown. We conduct a taste test with our Japanese sister site to see which takes burger supremacy.


When it came to light that McDonald’s Japan would be giving hungry fast food enthusiasts two great variations on the chain’s classic burgers, each vaguely representing the flavors and styles of McDonald’s introductions to both Japan and America, our interest was understandably piqued.

Our Japanese sister site already got the jump on us in doing a taste test, though, so in a fit of rage and jealousy the name of journalistic objectivity, we decided we’d walk our American taste buds down to the nearest Micky D’s to throw our own hats in the ring and see if our impressions lined up with our esteemed Japanese co-workers.


Seiji, a writer over at RocketNews24 Japan, sampled each burger and pronounced the “1955 Smoky America Burger” the winner by a close margin. He noted that both burgers were delicious and that which of the two any given cholesterol connoisseur would like probably comes down to personal preference, but in the name of Uncle Sam, Raptor Jesus and all other things American, we had to have a go for ourselves. Here are our thoughts:


As much as we would have liked to say that the Aburi Shoyu Japan Burger took the cake here, thus sparking an intense fast food debate with Seiji, we have to largely agree with him – the Smoky America Burger is the definite winner.


There’s a genuine smokiness to the American offering’s sauce and an additional, slightly mustardy sweetness that’s pronounced but not cloying. On the other hand, the Aburi Shoyu (aburi literally meaning “broiled”) ought to be bringing its own smokiness to the table, but the burger’s sauce ends up just tasting like a significantly less sweet teriyaki.


In my opinion, if we were talking gourmet burgers here, the aburi shoyu sauce very well could have won out, as its mildly sweet and salty profile might perfectly compliment a plump, medium rare patty without overpowering the meat. But this is McDonald’s we’re talking about; the burger patties are just a half-beef, half-sawdust vessel for ferrying sauce and maybe a pickle or two into your face.


Other than the sauce, the two burgers are basically identical. Each comes with the usual fixings, some bacon, and the Aburi Shoyu Japan Burger’s bun comes with an attractive cleft down the middle, but Seiji and I both noted it’s just for looks; it’s the same bread. Long-time Japan residents may be pleased to know that, while the bacon is still the same limp, chewy cut you find (falsely) labeled as “bacon” in Japanese grocery stores, it’s so thin and unsubstantial that it doesn’t detract from the burger’s texture for either of the offerings.


Both burgers are definitely a worthy and unique addition to McDonald’s Japan’s typical menu items, but I also noticed that, in the crowded Osaka location I chose for this taste test, almost no one else was actually eating these burgers, possibly indicating that their novelty isn’t quite justifying the significantly higher price point. You can taste them both for yourself at McDonald’s Japan locations until the end of the month, for about 490 yen a piece (US$4.80).

Images © RocketNews24
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