There’s a reason why this sandwich is out so late!

September, as you may know, is known as “Tsukimi” or “Moon-viewing season” in Japan, a time when farmers have finished the harvest and have time to sit back and appreciate the beauty of the full moon. It’s also a time for fast food burger shops to sell sandwiches topped with sunny-side up eggs and other foods that resemble a full moon, like pineapple slices and mushrooms.

The season culminates on the full moon of that month, which this year happened to be September 29, and thus, now, nearly a month later, most of those chains have taken their Tsukimi burgers off their menu. Except for Japanese burger chain Dom Dom Burger, which has only just added their 2023 Tsukimi sandwich on October 23.

It’s called the “Akaki Tsukimi Chicken Tatsuta Burger”, and unlike other Tsukimi sandwiches, it doesn’t appear to have a sunny-side-up egg on it, but a slice of tomato. Just what is Dom Dom Burger thinking? We naturally had to learn more.

“It’s an egg.”

That’s what the product page on Dom Dom’s website proudly proclaimed, pointing to the tomato-like portion of the sandwich and causing us further confusion. “It’s a fried egg as red as blood,” it said.

When we looked closer, we did see a yellow liquid on top of what we thought was a tomato slice. We assumed it was mustard or something, but apparently it’s an egg yolk, and the red part is the egg white.

But no matter how closely we looked at it, all we could see was a slice of tomato covered in ketchup and mustard. Apparently, that red sauce is actually a red pickled ginger sauce. But maybe there’s a tomato in there too? Maybe the proclaimed “egg” is just multiple elements combined to make it look like an egg yolk?

There were too many unanswered questions, so we had to go get one.

And as it turns out, it really did have a red fried egg.

No, it wasn’t just a regular egg covered in a red sauce; the egg white was actually dyed red. There was no tomato, but there was lettuce. When we checked each layer, we found the egg on top, then the Chicken Tatsuta (a chicken patty marinated and then fried), and some lettuce. Incidentally, the kanji “竜田” (“Tatsuta”) comes from Nara’s Tatsuta River, a famous place for fall foliage, and the red color of the soy-sauce marinated meat is said to resemble the red leaves in and around the Tatsuta River, making it a timely dish for fall.

The egg definitely felt like an egg, but since it was red, did it have a different flavor? Could the color be due to some kind of additional ingredient? Giving it a taste was a shock. What burst into our mouths on the first bite was a runny egg yolk. While this was a surprise, the way it soaked into the breaded chicken patty made it ridiculously delicious.

When you think of Tsukimi sandwiches, you think of a fried egg with a fully cooked yolk and bright egg whites, but Dom Dom had created something that was the complete opposite of that. And it may have actually been the most delicious Tsukimi sandwich we’d ever eaten.

The red pickled ginger sauce didn’t have much of a ginger flavor, nor did it have much bite to it like pickled ginger often does. Rather, it had a nice sweet and spicy flavor that resulted from the blend of the teriyaki-like sauce on the chicken and mayonnaise. Unlike the unusual appearance, the flavor was quite familiar, and we really, really liked it.

Still, we had to wonder why the fried egg was red, and it turns out that that’s because it’s a collaborative item with the anime The Eminence in Shadow. In this quintessential “isekai” anime, a modern teenager with grand delusions is reborn in another world. A red full moon has significance in that world, and is in fact a key visual in the teaser trailer for the show’s currently airing second season.

If you like the anime or Tsukimi sandwiches, or simply just want to try a totally new kind of fried chicken sandwich, definitely stop by your local Dom Dom Burger to try the “Akaki Tsukimi Chicken Tatsuda Burger”, as long as you can resist the temptation of their whole fried crab burger.

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