We have the technology. We can make it better, crispier, fresher.

Since 1971, the Filet-O-Fish has graced the menu of Japanese McDonald’s. Here these simple fish burgers never demanded attention like the ostentatious Big Macs or Quarter Pounders (now extinct in Japan), but stood strong in the background, always confident in its own deliciousness.

This modesty and quiet strength has made it especially popular in Japan where you can even find it on the breakfast menu.

▼ Just look at how much our own Seiji Nakazawa loves them

The last big change for the Filet-O-Fish occurred in 1994 when the fish meat changed from Pacific cod to Alaskan pollock, and since then, the simple recipe of a breaded fillet of fish, slice of cheese, and tartar sauce on a bun remained untouched.

The old rule, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” certainly applies, but a lot can happen in 25 years, so sure enough, a way to make the Filet-O-Fish even better has come along.

As the video outlines, the improvement comes by changing the way the fillets are produced. You might be surprised to learn that fish aren’t naturally square-shaped and need to undergo a process of skinning, deboning, and molding into a “fish block” first.

Up until now, this process had been entirely done in Thailand, which meant the Alaskan cod would have to be caught in the Bearing Sea and frozen. Then, it would be shipped to Thailand, thawed, processed, frozen again, and shipped to Japan.

But now the Japanese-owned Thai-based processing company Delmar has set up shop in Alaska, so the fish can be made into fish blocks on-site. From there it is still getting shipped to Thailand to be squared and breaded but doesn’t need to be thawed, resulting in a fresher fish meat that has only been frozen once instead of twice.

▼ I’m not sure how I feel that fish blocks do more traveling than I do.

It’s a revolution in the Filet-O-Fish industry, but netizens were largely unimpressed and suspicious.

“I think it’s gotten smaller recently.”
“They should put more mayo in the tartar sauce. It’s too tart.”
“Personally, I would like it if they put a full slice of cheese on it like in the old days.”
“Everyone I know hates the Filet-O-Fish, but I like it.”
“Mos Burger has a better fish sandwich.”
“I heard it was all just earthworms anyway.”
“Whenever I hear a product is getting ‘improved’ I expected it to become smaller and more expensive.”

The new Filet-O-Fishes will be sold at the same price of 340 yen (US$3.12) and have already hit most stores. All locations in Japan will have made the conversion by the end of October, so thanks to our vast archive of McDonald’s chronicling we now can see if it has really changed sizes at all.

▼ Classical Filet-O-Fish (circa 2017)

▼ Modern Filet-O-Fish (late 2019)

So, it would appear that while people’s tolerance of the term “weak sauce” has shrunk considerably since 2017, the Japanese Filet-O-Fish has not.

Still, given the fact that they are now frozen only once instead of twice, the argument over whether the Filet-O-Fish has become “much better” or simply “less crappy” really boils down to whether you’re a glass half-full or half-empty type, as well as personal preference.

▼ Isn’t that right, Seij…KEEP EATING!!!

But for fans of the Filet-O-Fish, this is good reason to rejoice. The battle for a full slice of cheese, however, will have to wait for another day…

Source: McDonald’s Japan, With News, My Game News Flash
Photos ©SoraNews24
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