Not quite the Whopper we were hoping for.

Good news, Thai food lovers! Burger King has just released a limited-edition Tom Yum Shrimp Whopper in Japan! Well, we thought it was good news until we actually tasted it, but we’re jumping ahead of ourselves so let’s start from the beginning, with what this special Whopper promises to be.

The Tom Yum Shrimp name is a play on tom yum kung, a classic hot-and-sour Thai dish that contains shrimp, or “kung”, as they’re known in Thailand.

▼ The new burger was released on 28 July.

Image: Press Release

According to promotional advertising for the product, the burger contains a grilled 100-percent beef patty, garlic shrimp, lettuce, onions, tomato and a “Special Tom Yum Sauce” containing lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, coriander, fish sauce, gochujang, and bean sauce. Those two last ingredients made question marks pop up around the head of our reporter P.K. Sanjun, as he knows those ingredients aren’t usually included in a typical tom yum kung.

▼ So, with a sense of trepidation, he went out and bought the burger to try it.

The Tom Yum Shrimp Whopper is priced at 940 yen (US$6.59), while the Double Tom Yum Shrimp Whopper with two patties costs 1,290 yen and the Tom Yum Shrimp Whopper Jr. is the smallest of them all, both in size and price, at 590 yen.

▼ P.K. opted for the regular-sized Whopper.

As a Thai food fanatic, P.K. really hoped the burger would have the classic hot-and-sour tom yum taste that he loves so much. He didn’t want the taste to be similar or in the same ballpark — he really wanted the chain to deliver what it promised with those big, capitalised “TOM YUM” on the posters.

“Please, please be…




As that last image shows, the flavour ended up falling flat on P.K.’s taste buds, making his palate as colourless as the photo. First of all, there’s no doubt that the “Special Tom Yum Sauce” has a Tom Yum Kung-esque flavour, in the sense that it’s both spicy and sour, but it’s difficult to say that it’s definitively Tom Yum Kung.

However, whatever flavour the sauce had seemed to be drowned out by the beef patty, which had such a strong flame-grilled flavour that it overpowered everything else in the burger. While that’s probably the way the flame-grilled beef specialists wanted it, it just didn’t vibe with P.K., who wanted to really taste the kick of tom yum kung.

Still, the patty was tasty, with a strong umami, and the shrimp had a good texture. It’s certainly a good burger, but if you’re as mad about Thai food as P.K., you might find yourself underwhelmed by the understated tom yum flavour.

While it’s understandable that Burger King would want to create a burger that appeals to a wide variety of palates, P.K. was left wishing they would create two versions of this burger — one for those who like Thai flavours, and one for those who LOVE Thai flavours. But then again, that’s just P.K.’s pipe dream — this is a man who once tried to eat his way through a two-kilo (4.4-pound) topping of coriander, after all.

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