Burgers and sweets to enjoy as you look up at the night sky this autumn.

Tsukimi, or moon-viewing, is one of Japan’s most elegant cultural traditions. Most widely enjoyed on the night of the full moon in September, a classical tsukimi gathering consists of gazing up at the brightly shining celestial body, nibbling on some sweets, and reciting poetry.

However, tsukimi season has become a time of intense competition between Japan’s fast food chains. “Tsukimi” is also used to describe a bowl of noodles with an egg dropped in, because of how the egg resembles the shape and color of a full moon as it cooks in the broth. In recent years, this has given rise to tsukimi burgers, hamburgers and other sandwiches that include a fried or steamed egg, which fast food restaurants in Japan serve as special seasonal menu items in autumn. So now, just a few days after rival KFC did likewise, McDonald’s Japan has announced its new tsukimi burger and sweets lineup for 2023.

New to the Tsukimi Family, as McDonald’s is calling the lineup, is the Shichimi Kaoru Gyusuki Tsukimi, or “Scent of Shichimi Beef Sukiyaki Tsukimi” burger. In addition to steamed egg, a beef patty, and cheese, you also get a decadent slice of bacon and, right on top of the bottom bun, a spread of sukiyaki-style simmered beef, with its sweet notes accompanied by the flavor of shichimi, a spicy Japanese condiment mix that includes chili and black pepper. There’s also a special tomato cream sauce to make this feel more special than plain old ketchup would.

On the other hand, if you want something a little simpler, McDonald’s is also bringing back the standard Tsukimi burger and Tsukimi Cheese, which make use of the tomato cream sauce too. They’re also a little more wallet-friendly than the deluxe 520-yen (US$3.55) Gyusuki Tsukimi, with the regular Tsukimi at 420 yen and the Tsukimi Cheese at 450.

There’s even a Tsukimi McMuffin (380 yen) that’s offered until 10:30 a.m., if you want to get your moon-viewing-themed meal in before noon.

Remember how we said sweets are part of a traditional moon-viewing party? You can satisfy that aspect with the Tsukimi Pie (180 yen), which is filled with anko (sweet red bean paste) and mochi, two things that go great together when they’re both hot and gooey.

▼ Though because this is mochi, McDonald’s does caution you to chew it thoroughly before swallowing, for your own safety.

Rounding out the Tsukimi Family are the Tsukimi Nagano Shine Muscat McShake (190 yen) and the Chicken McNuggets with Yuzu Kosho Mayo Sauce (240 yen). Honestly, these seem like maybe they’ve been adopted into the family, as neither of those ingredients are necessarily associated with moon-viewing. That said, the use of juice from Nagano-raised Shine Muscat grapes, one of the most deliciously sweet grape varieties in Japan, promises to make the shake a uniquely tasty treat, and yuzo kosho, a citrus chili paste, has long been a popular accent for grilled yakitori chicken skewers in Japan, so it should work well with chicken nuggets too.

▼ The Tsukimi Shake cup does at least have a picture of the moon and a pair of rabbits, which are commonly associated with the moon in Japanese folklore.

Another part of McDonald’s modern tsukimi tradition is the debut of a new tear-jerker commercial about a daughter and her father bonding over a shared tsukimi burger meal. This year’s iteration has a young woman working in an anime studio being paid a late-night visit by Dad, who’s aware that she’s a grown-up who can take care of herself, but still wants to do what he can for her.

▼ Set to J-pop singer Ayaka’s “Mikazuki” (“Cresent Moon”), it’s a video that’ll have you saying, “I should give my parents a call…right after I get a burger.”

McDonald’s Tsukimi Family goes on sale on September 6 and will be available for a limited time. With both McDonald’s and KFC having shown their hands, maybe next we’ll see the return of competitor Mos Burger’s Sailor Moon tsukimi sandwich.

Source: McDonald’s Japan via IT Media
Images: McDonald’s Japan
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!