Beefy burger from an unusual diner serves up a rollercoaster of surprises.

Village Vanguard is a popular Japanese chainstore known for selling novelty items like Lucky Bags and Pokéfuta accessories. However, it also has a small chain of diners, known as Village Vanguard Diner, the tenth branch of which recently opened on 1 August at Fuji-Q Highland, an amusement park at the foot of Mt Fuji in Yamanashi Prefecture. 

In keeping with its Western brand image, Village Vanguard Diner serves up authentic hamburgers, made with carefully selected ingredients. Established in 2003, the Diner has been selected as one of Japan’s “100 Famous Restaurants” on restaurant review site Tabelog so our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma had high hopes for it when he visited the new Fuji-Q Highland branch.

Unlike a lot of amusement parks, admission to Fuji-Q Highland is free, with visitors paying for rides separately or with a pass, so if you’re not a thrill-seeker who wants to plummet down the Fujiyama Slider, you can simply visit for the food and atmosphere. Those who come for the food will want to make a beeline for the diner, as it sells a wide variety of drinks, burgers, sides and set meals, which can be ordered via the ticket vending machine (pictured below).

The Diner is located right in front of the “King of Coasters”, Fujiyama, which is the eighth tallest roller coaster in the world, at 79 metres (259 feet) in height, although it was the tallest in the world when the park opened in 1968.

▼ This branch of the Diner has two exclusive limited-edition burgers that you can’t get anywhere else — the Wagyu Zokkon and the Big Mt Fuji.

These are hefty burgers, both in terms of size and price, with the Zokkon costing 2,590 yen (US$17.61) and the Big Mt Fuji costing 3,090 yen. While the Mt Fuji burger looked to be incredibly appetising, with its four beef patties and three slices each of cheese and bacon, it was advertised with the question: “Can you eat it all?

Masanuki was eating alone and not on an empty stomach so he wasn’t ravenous enough to take on the Big Mt Fuji, opting for the Wagyu Zokkon and a ginger ale instead.

▼ Wagyu Zokkon Burger (top), ginger ale (bottom)

Handing his tickets over to staff behind the counter, it didn’t take long for Masanuki’s meal to be ready.

According to the Diner, this burger is made with carefully selected ingredients, and contains a special rice flour bun and a 100-percent Wagyu beef patty that’s 1.5 times the size of their regular patties. When Masanuki bit into it, he could taste the work that had gone into its creation, as the juicy deliciousness of the Japanese Wagyu descended upon his taste buds, creating an irresistible flavour and texture. Despite being well-cooked, the patty retained its juiciness and plump texture, and when the richness of the cheese rose to the fore soon after, Masanuki fell head over heels in love with the perfect combination.

The sauce, an original blend of sweet and salty tamari soy sauce and mayonnaise, was wonderfully rich and flavourful, contrasting well with the lightness of the rice flour buns and crunchy fresh vegetables, creating an exciting blend of textures and flavours in every mouthful.

As he listened to the screams of riders emanating from the Fujiyama, he wished he could make room for the Big Mt Fuji, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. At least he’d tried the Zokkon, which, if you’re wondering, is named after a new bike ride coaster attraction, which was launched in July.

Masanuki may not have ridden the ride, but his taste buds certainly enjoyed a thrilling adventure with the Zokkon. He highly recommends trying it if you can, perhaps after staying a night in the nearby hotel room with a train inside it!

Restaurant information:
Village Vanguard Diner / ヴィレッジヴァンガードダイナー
Address: Yamanashi-ken, Fujiyoshida, Shinnishihara 5-6-1

Images © SoraNews24
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