When one thinks of food in Japan one thinks of fresh sushi, saucy teriyaki, and crispy tempura — yet on OUR trip to Japan, we went in search of a unique Japanese fast food adventure!
A favourite thing to do when travelling around the world is to try North American fast food brands to see how they regionalize them. Starbucks in Asia, for example, doesn’t provide lactose-free or almond milk yet soy milk is readily available. McDonald’s in Hong Kong offers macaroni noodles and in Japan offers a shrimp burger on their menu.
How to make a Japanese fast food burger?
In Japan, we checked out MOS Burger – a Japanese fast food chain of restaurants with 1,700+ locations throughout Asia and Australia and one conveniently across the street from our hotel in Kusatsu outside Kyoto.
MOS Burger appears as a typical North American fast food joint with bright lights, generic looking tables and chairs, and posters of their specials in the windows. The menu was also quite typical to the North American standard for fast food with french fries, onion rings, hot dogs and hamburgers. But, if you take a closer look — you’ll start to notice some differences.
The MOS in MOS Burger, according to the corporate website, is an acronym for Mountain, Ocean, and Sun.
Mountain: To stand tall and firm like a mountain
Ocean: To have a heart that is broad and deep as the ocean
Sun: To have a passion like a sun that never burns out.
Everything is made fresh to order – nothing is precooked. According to the MOS Burger website — “The vegetables used by MOS BURGER are all sourced domestically and freshly supplied by a network of 3,000 farmers around the nation. “
TIP: English menu is available, just ask if they don’t immediately offer one. After placing your order at the counter, staff will give you a placard to display at your table and deliver your order to you when it’s ready.
Teriyaki Chicken Burger
Price: 360 Yen
– Tender grilled chicken in a teriyaki sauce, lettuce, onions and mayonnaise on a regular hamburger bun. The Japanese love their mayo, and I found this to be way too much mayo for my taste, and I had to scrape some off but the meat was flavourful, and the lettuce was very fresh.
Here’s a video from their YouTube channel that shows the making of this burger
MOS Rice Burger Yakiniku
Price: 390 Yen
The Yakiniku is the reason you come to MOS Burger — strips of grilled marinated beef on a sticky rice bun.
– The meat is well seasoned with a sweet and slightly salty taste. It was yummy, but I wanted more of the tasty meat and less of the bun. I’m not sure if it was the execution of the rice/barley/millet bun or my inexperience in eating this burger but the “bun” fell apart in my hands making it messy.
Price: 240 Yen
– The Onion Potato was a pretty standard french fries and onion ring combo, but I noticed that they don’t salt and pepper anything before they serve it nor do they offer salt and pepper on the table. I also noticed that the fries and rings were very lightly deep fried and not a dark golden brown.
Would I eat at MOS Burger again?
Sure, if there was nothing else around — the food was tasty and very fresh, the service was fabulous, and the dining environment was bright and clean. However, for the money, this wasn’t a budget meal as the portions were a bit small and considering that I could get a more filling large bowl of rice with grilled marinated beef, sauteed onions, miso soup, and hot tea for 600 yen. But for those unadventurous travellers who want something a little different than the usual, MOS Burger is a great alternative.
Have you eaten at MOS Burger before? How was your Japanese fast food experience?
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