Do Japanese ingredients like mentaiko and shiso make a good sandwich?

Dom Dom Burger: the underdog of burger chains in Japan. Well, “underdog” might be an exaggeration. Having just celebrated 50 years of business, Japan’s oldest burger chain is entirely unbothered by being overshadowed by other, more international burger chains. Their aim, after all, is to serve quality over quantity, and they consistently deliver on that promise with a regular rotation of stellar limited edition sandwiches like the Whole!! Crab Burger, which was so popular that its limited time-frame was extended by several months to February 2021.

In fact, they’ve just come out with a new concoction, which we, of course, had to try: the Meintai Atsuyaki Tamago Burger, or the Spicy Cod Roe Thick Egg Omelet Burger. This time, they’re offering a mixture of Japanese flavors…so how does it taste on a sandwich?

The Spicy Cod Roe Thick Egg Omelet Burger was released on the menu on January 23, so we wasted no time in heading to our closest Dom Dom Burger, the Asakusa Hanayashiki branch in Tokyo. There we saw a poster that looked a little familiar…

And that’s because the Spicy Cod Roe Thick Egg Omelet Burger is a new version of the super popular Thick Egg Omelet Burger from December 2017, which we have fond memories of. It’s been three long years since that delicious sandwich graced our lips, far too long in our opinion.

This new version had us salivating, so we quickly proceeded to the counter, forked over our hard-earned 400 yen (US$3.84), and waited just a moment for the staff to hand it over.

▼ The new Spicy Cod Roe Thick Egg Omelet Burger

When we opened it up, we saw that it looks similar to the 2017 version, but now has a generous glob of mentaiko spicy cod roe sauce that awaits underneath the top bun!

The new sandwich also incudes a shiso (Japanese basil) leaf on top of its plump omelet. It did look delicious, but…it also looked like it might be lacking something. There was also the question of whether the distinctly Japanese flavors of shiso and mentaiko would go well with bread, which we felt a bit uncertain about.

A cross-section of the burger changed our minds entirely, however, because the new view offered us a startling discovery…

There’s mayonnaise on the bottom of the sandwich!

With the powerhouse combination of eggs and mayonnaise and the added benefit of mentaiko and shiso, we were pretty certain at this point that this sandwich was going to be a home run.

We couldn’t resist taking a bite any longer, and our hopes were instantly answered: this sandwich is tasty. The super fluffy eggs, made with dashi for extra flavor and softness, combined with the slightly spicy and grainy mentaiko sauce and the fresh flavor of the shiso leaf make for a flavorful combination. The mayonnaise is a major player, too. It has the weighty responsibility of tying everything together, a duty it carries out superbly.

Another pleasant surprise is that there’s an appetizing smell to the sandwich as a whole. This sandwich doesn’t have any meat on it, and the eggs and mayo were mild, so it couldn’t be those. While the mentaiko and shiso have their own potent fragrances, that wasn’t what we were smelling. Could it have been the bun? It was an ordinary-looking bun, by all accounts…

But as (self-proclaimed) culinary experts, we believe that the superb combination of the ingredients of the Spicy Cod Roe Thick Egg Omelet Burger may have really brought out the potential of the bun. Perhaps it elevated an otherwise ordinary ingredient to higher levels simply by association? By contrast, heavily flavored ingredients of an ordinary burger, such as a beef patty or chicken, or even a deep fried whole crab, tend to overwhelm the bun, leaving it with no chance to shine.

But that’s merely conjecture. What we can say for sure is that, all-in-all, this is a well-rounded sandwich, and though it isn’t technically a burger since it lacks a patty, we’re willing to let the misnomer slide because it’s just so darn tasty. In fact, in terms of flavor, price, satisfaction, and the likelihood of us ordering it again, this burger, in our opinion, is actually a better Dom Dom menu item than even the Whole!! Crab Burger.

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