Four valiant contenders battle it out on our taste buds. 

In April last year, McDonald’s decided to add a touch of warrior spirit to its menu for a limited time in Japan, with two new burgers called the Roasted Soy Sauce Style Double Thick Beef and the Roasted Soy Sauce Style Bacon Tomato Thick Beef.

Their battle for supremacy over our taste buds was due to end in mid-May when, like the short-lived sakura petals of spring, they were set to disappear from existence. However, the burgers proved to be so popular they sold at a rate of four per second, and so the Samurai Macs lived on, becoming a mainstay on the menu in Japan.

To celebrate the start of 2022, McDonald’s decided to add a couple more warriors to the menu: the Umakara Double Thick Beef and the Smoked Mayo Triple Bacon Thick Beef, which are only available for a limited time until early February.

Our reporter Egawa Tasuku had never eaten a Samurai Mac before, so he figured now was a good time to try them, given that there were four different kinds available, each priced at 490 yen (US$4.23). Which ones would conquer his taste buds with flavour and irresistible texture?

▼ Let’s find out, starting with the beef heavyweights — the Roasted Soy Sauce Style Double Thick Beef (left) and the Umakara Double Thick Beef (right).

The Roasted Soy Sauce Style Double Thick Beef has already proved its worth with customers, and when Tasuku bit into it, he immediately knew why. The roasted soy sauce gave the two thick beef patties a unique Japanese flavour that clearly distinguishes the burger from all others on the menu, creating a moreish, homely flavour that’s just perfect for local tastes.

The poppy seed bun also gave this burger a unique flair, and upon opening his Umakara Double Thick Beef, he was happy to see the same buns here as well.

While this burger also contained two thick beef patties, these ones were slathered in a red sauce and topped with a darker cheese. “Umakara” literally translates to “Tasty Spicy”, so these orange-red hues clearly meant one thing — heat.

According to the chain, this burger contains spicy cheese and an “aged chilli sauce”. A close look at the sauce revealed flecks of chilli powder, and it was slathered on both the top and bottom buns, so our spice-loving reporter knew he was in for a treat with this one.

Tasuku took a big bite of the burger, and as he chewed, his tongue began to dance with the spices. The flavour was mellow, but the heat continued, buoyed by the richness of the spicy cheese. This was a stellar combination, as it kept the party going on the tongue before winding down with a long, tingling aftertaste that had the taste buds wanting to dance again.

Spice lovers will definitely want to choose the Umakara over the Roasted Soy Sauce, which now seemed less flavourful to Tasuku by comparison. Now, though, it was time to move over to the bacon contenders:

▼ The Roasted Soy Sauce Style Bacon Tomato Thick Beef (left) and the Smoked Mayo Triple Bacon Thick Beef (right).

▼ Both these burgers had those delicious poppy seed buns…

…however, when Tasuku looked inside, he found that the Smoked Mayo Triple Bacon looked somewhat superior at first, with its three pieces of bacon.

Looking beneath the Roasted Soy Sauce Bacon revealed a nice surprise though — while the Smoked Mayo contained only cheddar cheese, this one had regular cheddar on top and a white cheddar on the bottom. 

▼ This was going to be a tough battle.

The Smoked Mayo Triple made its first move, prodding the taste buds with its thick beef before smacking them with triple bacon and dousing them in lettuce and a smoky, creamy sauce. It was a good, satisfying experience, but Tasuku felt like it could’ve aimed a bit higher and punched a bit harder in terms of flavour.

Perhaps if the bacon was thicker and crispier, and the smoky mayo sauce didn’t blend in with the cheese so much, it may have won the fight, but for this battle, the winner for Tasuku was the Roasted Soy Sauce Style Bacon Tomato Thick Beef.

What gave it the edge was the fact that it too contained bacon and beef, but there was a more harmonious blend of flavours. Plus, this one contained tomato whereas the other one didn’t, and surprisingly, this ingredient helped to lift the flavours and prevent them from becoming too cloying.

So which Samurai Mac out of all four won the approval of Daimyo Tasuku?

That esteemed honour goes to…the Umakara Double Thick Beef.

Congratulations, brave warrior. You floated like a butterfly and stang like a bee, and succeeded in making Tasuku’s taste buds dance with glee.

The other samurai put up a valiant fight, though, and depending on whether you like your burgers spicy or creamy or bacon-y or soy saucy, you might want to award them differently. You’ll just have to play Daimyo for a day and try them out!

Photos © SoraNews24
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