Black Burgers in Tokyo – Frightful Food

It’s Hallowe’en which means time for something truly terrifying: the Kuro (Black) Burger from Burger King and the Spooky Burger from McDonald’s.

Burger King's "Kuro" Burger
Burger King’s “Kuro” Burger
McDonald's Spooky Burger
McDonald’s Spooky Burger

Some of you (most of you, I hope), may be wondering why anyone would want to eat these burgers. I mean, look at these things.

McDonald's Spooky Burger
McDonald’s Spooky Burger
BK's Black Burger
BK’s Black Burger

Here’s the deal: these items are only available around Hallowe’en and only in Tokyo where we were last week. Curiosity got the best of us and we decided to seek them out.

Finding them, however, proved harder than we thought. Japanese are blessed with—and appreciate—really good food: fresh seafood, amazing beef, fantastic pork. The food in Tokyo is of incredible quality and no matter where you eat, be it at a high-end, pricey establishment or at a dark, narrow, five seat izakaya hidden beneath train tracks, the food is fantastic. The Japanese however, also, appreciate the weird, the wild and the truly outrageous and that’s exactly why Tokyo was chosen as the market for these fiendishly freaky, small, meat frisbees.

It took two days and the sleuthing skills of Sherlock Holmes himself to find a Burger King and McDonald’s. It was actually a challenge to find a fast food joint. Starbucks was the most prevalent, Subway came in second, McDonald’s third, and Burger King and KFC tied for fourth. All told, in 10 days, we counted maybe five McDonald’s and one Burger King in our travels through half a dozen of Tokyo’s most recognized districts.  In a city (Tokyo Metropolis) of roughly 14 million people, the lack of fast food chains was pretty impressive.

What makes these burgers black? At Burger King, bamboo charcoal is used to blacken the bread dough and cheese slice. The black “sauce” (air quotes necessary because honestly I’m not sure what the heck it was) is coloured with squid ink and the beef patty is darkened and flavoured with black pepper.

IMG_8041_BK burger and sign

The McDonald’s Spooky Burger (below) features two patties, cheese and onions. The bun is coloured with squid ink while the cheese remains orange and the patties maintain their characteristic brownish colour. That bun though… wow. My first impression of the McDonald’s bun was that it came from some forgotten pharaoh’s tomb.

IMG_7963_spooky

But never mind all that, I know you’re dying to hear how it tasted.  See my face? Yeah, that.

IMG_8042-1_Fotor

 

Up until this incident, it has been almost a decade since I’ve ingested either company’s burger. I think I’m good for at least another ten.

Author: Twyla Campbell

World-wide wanderer, CBC Edmonton AM Restaurant Reviewer, Member of Edmonton’s Slow Food convivium, oenophile, epicurean explorer and a freelance writer whose works have appeared in several magazines and newspapers including More, Above & Beyond, Avenue (Edmonton), Up Here, Northern Flyer, Opulence, City Palate, the Edible Prairie Journal, The Edmonton Journal, Slow Food Canada, Lifestyle Alberta, and on Slow Food Edmonton’s website. Grant MacEwan University (Professional Writing Program) Bachelor of Applied Communications Degree (in progress). I’m a Tweeter @wanderwoman10