We recreate The Real Cheese Burger in Japan. 

Just last week, we discovered that Burger King Thailand had a new item on the menu called The Real Cheese Burger, consisting of two halves of a bun with nothing but 20 slices of cheese in between.

The new menu item caught the attention of burger lovers around the world, including our reporter Seiji Nakazawa, who was desperate to try it. The only thing was, he couldn’t afford a trip to Thailand, and the burger was only on the menu there until 13 July, so he had resigned himself to the fact that he would never get to taste it.

But then, he had a great idea: what if he could order it in Japan?

Burger King lets customers add and subtract toppings to their burgers, so Seiji figured it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility that he could recreate The Real Cheese Burger in Japan. However, when he stopped by his nearest branch of the chain, where orders are placed via a touch panel display, he came across a problem.

▼ Though he was able to remove everything from a regular Whopper to begin the process…

▼ … when he went to add multiple slices of cheddar cheese, it just wouldn’t allow him to add more than one slice.

After asking staff at the store why he couldn’t order more than one slice, they confirmed that the system only accepts orders for single toppings. That wasn’t what Seiji wanted to hear, but he had a plan B in his back pocket, so he headed out to a different store — one where there are no touch panels and only staff behind the counter.

Seiji hoped that ordering verbally with a clerk would be more successful, and although he felt a little awkward doing it, he asked her:

“Can you do 20 slices of cheese?” 

She smiled and dutifully placed his order for him, and as she did so, the register lit up with a looooong list of cheddar cheese slices, priced at 50 yen (US$0.36) each.

It was the first time for Seiji to see such a display — the long list of “cheddar cheese” beneath the “Whopper” at the top of the screen made it look like the register had malfunctioned. Suppressing his excitement at being such a bold and intrepid customer, Seiji paid the bill, which came to 1,590 yen (US$11.39), and when he received the receipt, he felt the inner child in him jump up and down with glee at how strange his order looked in print.

▼ A souvenir to remind him of his adventurous pursuits in the burger world.

▼ Thanks, Burger King!

Seiji rushed home, excited to see what his custom-made burger would look and taste like. When he got it out of the bag, he felt a rush of excitement again, as the number “20” was written on the packaging, indicating there were 20 slices of cheese awaiting him inside.

Peeling away the packaging, Seiji could see the cheddar cheese overflowing from inside the buns. While the all-yellow ingredients certainly stood out, they looked a lot less voluminous than the cheese he’d seen in promotional images for The Real Cheeseburger.

Still, the real thing doesn’t always match up to the glossy advertisements for it, so Seiji decided to put those concerns aside and find out how it tasted.

The 20 slices of cheese had melded into one unified whole, creating a giant cheese patty. This made it relatively difficult to eat, but Seiji was happy to overlook that fact because the strong smell of cheese was wonderfully seductive.

It was exactly what he’d been hoping for, but as it turns out, you can have too much of a good thing because after two bites, Seiji began to feel full and after three bites, he lost his desire to eat any more.

With a new appreciation for other burger ingredients and their ability to make cheese taste so good as an accent, Seiji persevered with his cheese-only burger. It was rich and flavourful, but monotonous, and by the end, Seiji found himself appreciating the soft sweetness of the buns, which seemed especially delicious alongside the huge mound of cheese.

Eating a Whopper with nothing but 20 slices of cheese — can it even be called a Whopper at that point? — was an experience our burger-obsessed reporter won’t be forgetting in a while. It might not be exactly the same as eating The Real Cheeseburger, but it certainly comes close, although Seiji’s D.I.Y. version ended up being significantly more expensive than the Thai version, which was priced at 109 baht (447 yen).

It’s not quite as glorious as eating a Whopper with 1,000 slices of cheese — nobody can ever take that away from a young Mr Sato — but if you’re sore about missing out on The Real Cheeseburger, this might be an ideal alternative.

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