The Gohan Fish is more than just a Filet-O-Fish with rice.

In Japanese, the phrase “gohan wo taberu” literally means “eat rice,” but it’s used as a catch-all for “eat a meal,” regardless of whether or not the country’s representative grain is part of the menu. So, for example, if you were going to McDonald’s to grab a hamburger, you’d still say “gohan wo taberu.”

But these days that can be true in both senses of the word, as McDonald’s Japan has gotten into the rice burger game. This week saw the arrival of the newest member of that family, the Gohan Fish, and so our piscatorial proclivities led us to our local branch to try it for ourselves.

Our willpower was slightly tested, though, as the Gohan Fish is part o the Yoru Mac, or “Nighttime McDonald’s” menu, which the chain only starts serving at 5 p.m. On the plus side, though, we’re always happy for an excuse to not cook dinner.

▼ The 390-yen (US$3.75) Gohan Fish

Now, since McDonald’s already has a Filet-O-Fish sandwich, you might think that the Gohan Fish is nothing more than a simple swap of grilled discs of rice for the Filet-O-Fish’s buns. In actuality, though, we’ve been overly informal by calling the new rice burger the Gohan Fish, as its full name is the Gohan Fish Wafu Kurokosho, or “Rice Fish Japanese-Style Black Pepper.”

As we bit into it, it wasn’t plain old tartar sauce that was waiting for us, but a bold, peppery sauce with the subtle but unmistakable addition of garlic. Neither of these seasonings overpowered the fish itself, pulling off an exquisite balancing act with the flavors of the fish itself and the melted cheese all contributing without covering each other up.

If you’re not into fish, or simply want to eat as many different types of meat as possible, McDonald’s is also offering the beef-patty Gohan Bacon Lettuce and pork-patty Gohan Teriyaki, pictured on the far left and right, respectively, in the group photo above, (all three will be available until early April). We enjoyed them all, but for those of you not in the habit of three-burger dinners, if you’re going to get just one, we recommend making it the Gohan Fish.

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