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Move aside, Big Mac — the Big Bet is in town!

The rivalry between Burger King and McDonald’s is strong in Japan, where the chains have been known to make rather conspicuous digs at each other from time to time.

So when Burger King recently announced the release of a new burger called the “Big Bet“, it set tongues wagging for more reasons than one. First of all, there’s the two-syllable name, which isn’t far removed from “Big Mac“, and then there’s the fact that it contains two beef patties…and a special aurora sauce.

▼ The promo image for the new burger describes it as “Big, right up to the plentiful aurora sauce“.

Image: Burger King Japan

After hearing whispers online about how similar the new burger is to a McDonald’s Big Mac, our reporter P.K. Sanjun knew he had to compare them for himself, so he went out and brought them back to the office for a taste test.

Starting with the price, there’s really no comparison, as the Big Bet is priced at a whopping 1,190 yen (US$9.03), while the Big Mac is priced at 450 yen. However, the difference in price is reflected in the size, with the Big Bet being noticeably larger.

Inspecting the cross section of each, it was clear to see that the Big Bet places an emphasis on the meat, with the two large patties pressed up against each other on either side of a slice of cheese, while the Big Mac adds fillings and an extra slice of bun in between.

▼ Big Bet

▼ Big Mac

There were some obvious differences here, but some similarities as well. P.K. was most curious to get a taste of the aurora sauce, though, because while the Big Mac sauce recipe is a closely guarded secret, it’s generally known to be a type of aurora sauce, so that left him with the tantalising question…how similar would they be?

Taking a big bite out of the Big Bet and then a big bite out of the Big Mac, P.K. swallowed and told us: “They’re not dissimilar, but they’re completely different“.

The sauce was fantastic, and similar to a Big Mac sauce, but P.K. had been hoping it would make them taste identical. However, the difference in the flavour of the meat patties turned out to be far greater, outweighing any of the similarities in sauce. The Burger King burger was so heavy on the meat flavours it was almost like a punch to his taste buds, and while he was initially disappointed with this outcome, after eating both burgers he came to actually appreciate the difference.

After all, Burger King prides itself on its flame-grilled cooking process, which gives its beef patties a distinct smoky flavour that many might argue is better than what you’d get at the golden arches.

By adding a touch of Big Mac-esque aurora sauce to this burger, Burger King was able to highlight the greatness of its beef patties. It was as if Burger King was telling the world it doesn’t need to rely on aurora sauce to make a great beef burger, while also pointing out that the McDonald’s Big Mac sauce might be the chain’s greatest strength…but also its greatest weakness.

Whether or not Burger King’s Big Bet is intentionally ripping off the Big Mac — and by past records, we think they might be — it’s definitely a great burger. It’s only available for a limited time , though, so if you’d like to try the Big Bet be sure to pop by before 20 April while it’s still on the menu.

Reference: Burger King “Big Bet”
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