It’s easy to assume that staple fast food restaurants in other countries maintain an Americanized menu that stays faithful to its origins, serving up golden chicken nuggets, crispy fries, and bacon cheeseburgers in abundance.
Many people are surprised that global franchise locations create localized menus that often include steadfast staples along with specialty offerings that bring in that country’s favorite flavors.
Burger King Japan is an excellent example of a global fast food chain that appeals to its nation’s customers with hybrid cuisine.
That often means topping their burgers with ingredients that would cause more than a few raised eyebrows if we found them on our neighborhood BK’s menu.
Check out these 15 Burger King Japan menu items that include tantalizing twists on BK favorites, like the black-as-night Koru Burger and a classic chicken sandwich smothered in a thick layer of tartar sauce.
We’re starting off strong with a nearly sinful amalgamation of potatoes and cheese wrapped in a cozy sweater of deep-fried deliciousness.
These nugget-sized hashbrowns look pretty plain at first glance, but like most beautiful things in life, Cheese Bites prove that it’s what’s inside that counts. In this case, it’s ooey-gooey cheddar cheese!
Cheese Bites were part of Burger King Japan’s “American” menu, but they sadly never made their way across the Pacific to the States.
Before you start frantically searching for the next flight to Japan, though, I have bad news.
Cheese Bites were a limited-time offer, ending their dutiful service to our taste buds in 2017.
Garlic Meat Beast
If you’re the kind of home chef who knows that a recipe calling for a single clove of garlic must be sorely underestimating your love for this pungent cooking staple, the Garlic Meat Beast is a must-try.
“Meat Beast” is an apt name for this behemoth of a sandwich, which brings three types of meat to the party: a quarter-pound of beef, a pork sausage patty, and a chicken filet, followed by a layer of crisp, thinly-sliced garlic slices.
The topping list adds plenty of umami with red miso, green onion sauce, teriyaki sauce, lettuce, onion, tomato, and mayo.
Hash Brown Whopper
McDonald’s introduction of anytime breakfast changed the game for hash brown lovers, who could now score their second-favorite potato product offered by the Golden Arches.
Not to be bested, Burger King Japan upped the game with the Hash Brown Whopper, which features two beef patties, a hash brown patty, 11-spice chili, and special creamy cheese sauce layered with lettuce, tomato, and mayo between two soft, sesame seed buns.
For those looking for a little more breakfast flavor, the Deluxe Hash Brown Whopper included two slices of smoky bacon.
It’s strange enough to think about Burger King featuring hot dogs on their menu, but the fact that they were marketed as a breakfast item is nearly blasphemous to American taste in morning meals.
Even weirder, Burger King Japan’s hot dogs weren’t a particular “breakfast version.” Instead, it was the classic combination of sausage, ketchup, mustard, and relish in a soft bun.
This international addition to the BK menu showed up stateside briefly but soon went the way of Cini Minis and Mac N’ Cheetos.
Have you ever been too spooked to eat your fast food meal?
The Koru (“black” in Japanese) Burger was Burger King Japan’s gothic feature, first appearing on the menu in 2012 with a bamboo charcoal bun and squid ink ketchup.
When the restaurant brought it back in 2015, they decided to spice things up a little more with the Pearl Koru, which brought back the noir buns and ketchup, along with bamboo charcoal cheese, black pepper beef patties, and squid ink garlic sauce.
For those with a taste for the finer things in life, there was also the Diamond Koru, with lettuce, tomato, and onion in their natural colors.
Melon Soda Float
Milkshakes are old news on fast food restaurant menus, so sweet-toothed Japanese customers must have been delighted to see the island nation’s take on classic soda floats.
The Melon Soda Float took the dessert menu in a more bubbly, refreshing direction.
This simple but scrumptious drink started with Fanta melon-flavored soda, a bright green beverage with a unique, fruity flavor you can’t find in the United States.
A dollop of soft-serve custard completes the recipe, adding a creamy, ice-cold sweetness that only enhances the delightful drink.
If you want to try this drink without shelling out for airfare, you can usually find imported melon-flavored Ramune soda at Japanese food stores, restaurants, and on Amazon.
It’s not an exact match, but it’s close enough to keep you coming back for more.
5 Patty/7 Patty Whopper
Tradition states that fifth anniversaries should be celebrated with a gift made of wood or silverware set in the more contemporary guidelines.
Still, Burger King Japan went in a new direction when they served up a massive 5 Patty Whopper celebrating their half-decade milestone.
For 5.50 yen, the equivalent of 7.00 US dollars, customers could feast on a quintuple stack of flame-broiled beef topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, and mayo, a meal that would normally run them upwards of $14.
The 5 Patty Whopper isn’t the first time that Burger King Japan has offered unusually massive burgers.
In 2009, in celebration of the release of Windows 7, the fast food chain launched the 7 Patty Whopper, a septuple behemoth of beef for $7.77.
Chipotle might have the market share in fast food locations where Americans get avocado additions to their meal, but Burger King Japan takes the cake when it comes to featuring this creamy California-native fruit atop a beef patty.
BK Japan’s Avocado Whopper features a quarter-pound patty, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and sliced avocado.
A unique, smoky salsa with tomatoes, cumin, coriander, oregano, paprika, and chilis rounds out the list of toppings.
If I ever happened upon this sandwich in the United States, I’d add a few tortilla chips between the toasted buns. Then, it’d be like having chips, salsa, guacamole, and a burger all in one!
The controversial BK Bite became a bit of a joke thanks to its marketing campaign explicitly catered toward women, but the overall concept isn’t bad.
These pint-sized sliders came in two different duo packs, one featuring SPAM and BLT sandwiches and the other beef and chicken sandwiches.
BK proclaimed that these were designed for ladies, with the slogan “What Women Want, What Women Get.”
Essentially, Burger King was making light of the indecisiveness and calorie-consciousness of women, promoting the BK Bite as the answer to their prayers as they would no longer have to decide between two meals and save a few calories as a bonus.
Perhaps the most interesting Burger King Japan menu offering is the Bolognese Burger, something you’d think would make an appearance at the chain’s Milan or Rome locations.
The ingredient list includes an interesting combination of pork patty, cheese, hash brown, and bolognese sauce slow-simmered with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, and red wine.
All that’s missing for a spaghetti dinner is a hearty helping of al dente pasta and swapping out the sesame seed bun for toasted garlic bread.
Kuro Ninja Burger
Ninjas are a ubiquitous part of Japanese culture, and the Kuro Ninja Burger tipped its hat to these stealthy, stalking assassins in an absolutely ridiculous way.
Because the Kuro Burger’s black bun resembled the top of a ninja’s masked head, BK decided the only appropriate remarketing tactic was to add a thick slice of King’s bacon– a cut of pork similar to Canadian bacon– sticking out of the front of the sandwich like a “tongue.”
Rounding out the raven-colored fare were onions, lettuce, mayo, and hash browns.
For folks who can never decide whether they want to pick up pizza or burgers for dinner, Burger King Japan stepped in just in time for the holidays with the Pizza-Size Burger to save hungry families from bickering over their evening meal.
This massively merry 8.8-inch burger was available around Christmas 2015 in two half-and-half varieties: Fresh Avocado and Cheesy Nacho.
While one-half of the Pizza-Size Burger included typical toppings, the other side featured either freshly sliced avocado or cheese, tortilla chips, and jalapenos.
While the sandwich was available as a standalone product, the meal deal included fries, onion rings, and four large soft drinks.
“Ringo” is the Japanese word for apple and the namesake of this sweet-and-savory Whopper Jr.
The burger patty was Burger King’s typical flame-broiled beef but came with a slice of cinnamon-spiced grilled apple, honey mustard, lettuce, tomato, and mayo.
Accompanying this mish-mash were two Burger King chicken wings served on the side.
To me, at least, it sounds like those days when you can’t be bothered to hit up the grocery store after work and create a desperate meal out of your leftovers.
It’s a little weird, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not delicious.
Tartar Chicken Sandwich
I don’t like tartar sauce at all, so Burger King Japan’s Tartar Chicken Sandwich is nightmare fuel made all the worse by the fact that a crave-able crispy chicken breast filet is the victim of this senseless food crime.
That said, those who don’t find tartar sauce to be a dark mark on the condiment industry might enjoy this Burger King Japan exclusive, which also comes with lettuce and onion between a toasted bun.
Also known as the Tokyo Teriyaki Tower Burger, this skyscraper-inspired sandwich boasted over a pound of beef delivered via four teriyaki-glazed patties, red miso paste, onions, pickles, cheddar, mayo, and even more teriyaki sauce.
Anyone brave enough to take on the monstrosity would be awarded a sticker if they could finish the whole thing, making impending indigestion a small price to pay in exchange for eternal glory as a Tokyo Teriyaki Tower Burger champion.
While it might sound a bit strange to Americans, these Burger King Japan menu exclusives offer a glimpse into far-shore flavors inspired by local produce and cultural cuisine.
You might not want to put your taste buds to the test with all 15 selections, but I’ll bet there’s at least one thing you caught yourself drooling over.