We taste test to find out!

This month, Japanese burger chain Lotteria released their newest menu item, the Zeppin (“Masterpiece”) Meat Sauce Burger, which is 490 yen (US$3.30). But when we think of burgers with a saucy meat topping, the first burger chain that comes to mind is Mos Burger. After all, their meat sauce burger is one of their most popular offerings, and has been on their menu for years.

In fact, Mos Burger has been serving meat sauce burgers since the day the chain was founded in 1972, though naturally they’ve modified the recipe and changed the flavors numerous times over those 52 years. The meat sauce burger is Mos’ specialty, their signature burger, so of course, it would serve as the perfect benchmark for Lotteria’s new variety.

According to Lotteria’s website, their new Zeppin Meat Sauce Burger is a completely new recipe, topped with “a specially developed meat sauce with thick cuts of beef and onions stewed with tomatoes to give it a crumbly texture.” With Mos Burger’s classic meat sauce burger having such a long and established history, we had no idea how a contest between the two of them would turn out, but it was our solemn duty to find out.

In order to judge them fairly, we ordered them both through food delivery service Uber so that we could eat them as fresh as possible, and they arrived at our door with only about five minutes’ difference between them.

To launch our taste comparison, we started with the old classic Mos Burger Meat Sauce Burger.

It was topped with an overflowing amount of meat sauce.

Though the burger itself was seasoned lightly, the umami of the onions and the beef provides a depth to this sandwich, and the fruity aroma of tomato only adds to that.

On the first bite, our tongue knew this was a good meat sauce, and immediately transmitted that information to our brain. The quality was so good that we would almost believe that Mos Burger was a meat sauce specialty restaurant rather than a burger chain. The quality and flavor is so reliable we wouldn’t doubt it.

Now, let’s compare the Lotteria Zeppin Meat Sauce Burger.

From a visual perspective, it appeared that this burger had less meat sauce than the Mos Burger burger. It also looked to have a lower ratio of sauce to meat, giving it a more textured appearance.

Flavor-wise, it was quite a lot different from Mos Burger’s. It had more of a junk food feel to it, and the combination of lettuce and spices made it almost taste like taco rice, Okinawa’s famous fusion dish. Still, it was pretty delicious on its own. We could totally see how this could catch on with Lotteria fans.

In truth, though both sandwiches were born from the basic concept of “meat sauce burger,” they’ve ended up going in very different directions. We had to say that, despite the fact that Mos Burger’s meat sauce burger wasn’t built for war, it’s still hard to beat its simple deliciousness. Lotteria made a risky decision competing against such a giant–which in the end could be why they chose to go such a completely different route.

Without a doubt, the Lotteria Zeppin Meat Sauce burger is in a class of its own. While it may compete in the meat sauce arena simply by virtue of what it is, it’s also completely capable of fighting in an arena of its own creation. It’s delicious in its own right, so definitely give it a taste if it’s something that suits your fancy!

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