We find out if this new moon-viewing burger is as spicy as they say it is. 

McDonald’s is celebrating the early autumn Japanese tradition of tsukimi, or moon-viewing, by bringing back some of its ever-popular limited-edition tsukimi menu items, along with several brand new additions this year.

The three new additions to the Tsukimi Family, as McDonald’s calls the range, are the Chicken McNuggets with Yuzu Kosho Mayo Sauce (240 yen [US$1.63]), the Tsukimi Nagano Shine Muscat McShake (190 yen) and the Shichimi Kaoru Gyusuki Tsukimi, or “Scent of Shichimi Beef Sukiyaki Tsukimi” burger.

When we stopped by to try the new items when they were released on 6 September, the Chicken McNuggets had sold out for the day, so we returned to the office with the new burger and shake, which were beautifully adorned in special tsukimi packaging.

▼ Where people overseas might see the image of a man in the moon, people in Japan see a rabbit pounding rice, so the animal is commonly associated with the moon.

We couldn’t resist trying the Scent of Shichimi Beef Sukiyaki burger first, because it comes with a caution from McDonald’s that reads: “Please be careful if you don’t like spiciness”. Shichimi is a Japanese spice mixture that contains seven ingredients, including chilli, which gives it a spicy kick, so we were curious to find out just how spicy it was.

Releasing the burger from its beautiful packaging, we could already see tiny specks of red in the sauce that appeared to come from chilli peppers.

The buns were different to regular McDonald’s buns, appearing to be smooth and golden.

Lifting the top bun for a closer look inside, we could see the special tomato cream sauce that had been lauded by the chain in its marketing as having a delicious flavour.

▼ The top ingredient was bacon…

▼ …followed by fried egg, which was quite firm, and not soft-boiled as we’d expected.

▼ Then we had a patty covered in cheese…

▼ …followed by the star of the show, sukiyaki, which is usually eaten as a hotpot dish in Japan.

Sukiyaki is actually a great idea for a tsukimi burger, given that it’s usually dipped into raw egg before being eaten, and egg is often the star ingredient used for tsukimi products, as “tsukimi” is the word used for dishes containing egg in the Japanese culinary world.

It was a bold move for McDonald’s to pair the sukiyaki, which already contains beef, with a beef patty to increase the meaty flavours, but it ended up being perfect, as the egg would’ve overpowered the filling otherwise. Instead, the sukiyaki stood out beautifully, with its sauce dominating the palate, although as for the heat, it didn’t really feel that spicy to us. But then again, we do like a bit of heat in our burgers.

We washed it all down with gulps of the McShake, which didn’t have any particular moon-like flavour, but was delicious nonetheless, with its strong and refreshing grape flavour.

As the above image shows, the Tsukimi Pie is one of the seasonal products making its return to the menu this year, after first appearing five years ago. That pie is filled with flavours that are more traditionally associated with annual events like tsukimi, so hopefully they’ll add those same ingredients to a McShake next year.

The whole range is tasty, though, so no matter which members of the family you choose to enjoy this year, you won’t be disappointed!

Photos © SoraNews24
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