Somehow Seiji ate a beetle before he ate a burrito.

Our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa doesn’t have an unadventurous palate. He enjoys a good kebab, and a while back I taught the guy how to make Lebanese hushwee, which he really enjoyed. And who could forget the time Seiji went to a restaurant and straight-up ate a beetle?

So it was kind of shocking to learn that, until a few days ago, Seiji had never once, in his entire life eaten a burrito.

Seiji had heard of burritos, and had a vague concept of what they are. But Mexican food is one of the more difficult-to-find ethnic cuisines in Japan, and Seiji’s experiences with Mexican dining had been limited to tacos, which didn’t do much personally for him. “I prefer hamburgers” is his succinct summary of his taco taste tests up until now.

Still, he was curious about burritos, but he didn’t know where to find them. It turned out, though, that an opportunity had been staring him in the face for several weeks.

Seiji recently moved to a new apartment in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood, and Shibuya, it just so happens, has the most prominent Japanese branch of Taco Bell. Though he’s walked by the place multiple times since moving to the area, Seiji had never gone inside. Going strictly by its name, Seiji had assumed that Taco Bell only sold tacos, and, in keeping with his above-professed preference for burgers, he’s been hitting up the branch of McDonald’s that’s located on the same street at the Shibuya Taco Bell.

But while cruising for lunch last week, Seiji took a look at the long line for McDonald’s and didn’t know if his rumbling stomach could last that long. So on a whim, he ducked into the much less crowded Taco Bell, walked up to the counter to take a look at the menu board, and saw…

…burritos! While it’s common knowledge to many, “You can get burritos at Taco Bell” was a revelation to Seiji, and with his interest piqued and appetite whetted, he quickly ordered the Beef Cheesy Core Burrito combo.

Let’s see what he had to say:

“Whoa, so this is a burrito! Let’s find out what’s going on inside that tortilla.”

“When you take a bite, cheese comes seeping out. Like, so much cheese! They even use two different kinds. There’s ground meat too, and the umami flavors from it mix with the ones from the cheese for a really strong, dynamic flavor.”

“I also wasn’t expecting there to be so much rice inside, so it’s super filling! When I first looked at it on the menu board, I thought it looked like a light snack, but it’s actually really substantial. I should have been able to guess that when I picked the burrito up in my hand, though, since it’s pretty heavy. It’s a simple concept: just stuff a whole bunch of cheese, meat, and rice into the tortilla and wrap it up. And it’s really easy to eat too. I like the flavors in hamburgers, but when I eat them stuff always ends up spilling out of the bun. The burrito design feels like it totally solves that problem.”

“It’s perfect. The burrito is everything I’m looking for in fast/street food. I shouldn’t have been going to McDonald’s all this time.”

However, despite his enthusiasm for the Beef Cheesy Core Burrito, Seiji would soon find out that it is, in fact, not perfect. That’s because he was so happy with his first burrito experience that he went back to Taco Bell again the very next day, and then again the day after that, to try the other burritos on the menu, and now says that the chicken burrito is his favorite.

In the end, Seiji’s one and only complaint about this edible epiphany is that there’s no Taco Bell branch in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood, where SoraNews24 HQ is located, so he can’t grab lunch there. But if his mid-day burrito cravings get too strong to suppress, maybe the Mexican embassy’s map of Mexican restaurants in Japan can help him find one closer to the office.

Related: Taco Bell Japan location list
Photos ©SoraNews24
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