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Fast Food Favorites - Japanese Style

by Donna David

When you think of McDonald's, you automatically think cheeseburger right? Ask a Japanese person to do the same thing and he'd most likely say, "teriyaki burger". Same restaurant, different products. Sometimes it's easy to forget that McDonald's isn't just an American company anymore. Like other famous fast food companies, it is a multinational corporation with stores around the world offering unique products tailored to the locals' palates, products that might be the last thing you'd think of when you think of fast food - corn on pizza anyone? We'll get to that later. Let's take a look at some of the menu items at your favorite fast-food restaurants - Japanese style.

McDonald's Japanese Style


The "Teriyaki McBurger" is a 100% pork patty with lettuce and two sauces combined. One is a teriyaki sauce enhanced with ginger and garlic, the other is a sweet lemony sauce. Sometimes McDonald's sells teriyaki burgers with eggs as a limited offer. The McRib is probably closest to the Teriyaki McBurger in taste, but the McRib has more of a barbecue flavor to it.


Teriyaki McBurger
Teriyaki McBurger

Teriyaki McBurger with eggs
Teriyaki McBurger with eggs

If the teriyaki burger sounds too tame for you, how about the "Shrimp Fillet Burger"? It is a batter-coated deep-fried shrimp patty with lettuce, mustard and a thousand island sauce. If the thought of a shrimp burger freaks you out, wait till you see the next one.

Called "Shaka Shaka fries", these limited offer delights aren't your regular french fries. It comes in a paper bag with a flavored powder that you sprinkle in the bag and shake briskly. Familiar flavors like cheese and barbecue are available in some countries but in Japan, the flavor of choice is seaweed. Yes, you read that right. If you think that seaweed and potatoes is an abomination of a combination, you will completely change your mind if you have even just one bite. Salted fries are already delicious on their own, but the umami-packed richness of the seaweed takes ordinary fries to another dimension. Seriously, it's that good.

Shaka Shaka Fries
Shaka Shaka Fries


To top off your Japanese McDonald's meal, how about a "Green Tea Shake"? Just as the seaweed does to the fries, the green tea adds another layer of deliciousness. It offsets the cloying sweetness of the cream perfectly.

Green Tea Shake
Green Tea Shake


If all that fat and salt is bothering you, ease your conscience with "Yasai Seikatsu", a 100% vegetable juice. Yasai Seikatsu (literally Vegetable Life) is not an original product of McDonald's, it is available in most stores and vending machines.

Yasai Seikatsu
Yasai Seikatsu


KFC Japanese Style


KFC Japan also offers a shrimp burger but another popular sandwich is the "Katsu Sando" or cutlet sandwich. It contains a chicken cutlet with a tangy fruit-based sauce and instead of the usual lettuce, it is topped with shredded raw cabbage. It might sound like a strange combination but the sandwich is an adaptation of tonkatsu, a breadcrumb encrusted pork cutlet that is deep-fried and slathered with the same fruit-based sauce. The side dish is always shredded raw cabbage.

Katsu Sando or cutlet sandwich
"Katsu Sando" or cutlet sandwich

KFC Japan also has the "Twister", a chicken tender with lettuce wrapped in a soft tortilla. There are two sauces; one is a peppery mayonnaise salsa sauce, and the other is a teriyaki mayonnaise sauce. Teriyaki and mayonnaise might not sound appetizing but it's good - sweet, salty and creamy at the same time.

A pair of Twisters
A pair of Twisters

It wouldn't be Japan without some sort of rice product. Offered as a side, the "Grilled Rice Ball" is first slathered with soy sauce and then grilled.

Grilled Rice Ball
Grilled Rice Ball

Domino's Pizza Japanese Style


Delivery pizza in Japan is not cheap, a large pepperoni pizza costs about 27 dollars. But that's peanuts compared to the seasonal specials that Domino's Japan offers. This spring, how about a "Black Angus Beef Stew" pizza for 42 dollars? No, it doesn't come with gold shavings and it isn't served by a beautiful maiden on a unicorn - 42 dollars is the norm for limited offer pizzas. It may not have gold in it, but it does have beef stew, broccoli and mozzarella. Just think of it as dinner on a dough plate.

Black Angus Beef Stew Pizza
Black Angus Beef Stew Pizza

One of more popular pizzas on the standard menu is the "Charcoal Grilled Chicken Teriyaki" pizza. Remember the corn mentioned up there? This pizza is topped not only with corn, but with broccoli and mayonnaise as well. Corn, broccoli and mayonnaise on a pizza (and even NOT on a pizza together) might turn your tummy but the Japanese adore it.

Charcoal Grilled Chicken Teriyaki Pizza
Charcoal Grilled Chicken Teriyaki Pizza

So there you have it - same fast food companies, but miles away in food. The world isn't so small after all.

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