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5 Popular Japanese Fast Food Restaurants for Burgers

Fri, Apr 3, 2009

Japanese Culture, World Culture

5-japanese-fast-food-places

Here in the United States we have the standard heavy weights in the fast food arena when it comes to burgers:  McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Hardees / Carl’s Jr., etc…  While many of those fast food joints have been exported abroad, I got to wondering, what are some popular local home-grown fast food restaurants in other countries?  And what kind of food do they serve?  Today we’ll take a look at 5 Japanese fast food restaurants where burgers are the main attraction.

1.  Mos Burger

mos-burger

Mos Burger’s Motto: Making people happy through food

cheese-takumi-mos-burgerThe Basics: The Japanese call it “モスバーガ” (Mosu bāgā) and the name comes from the first letters of Mountain, Sun, and Ocean.  How that relates to burgers, I’m not sure (maybe how cows sometimes live on mountains, the sun provides food for the grass that cows eat, and the ocean provides the water that grows the grass…) but Japanese people don’t seem to care as Mos Burger is the second most popular fast food chain right after McDonald’s.

Known For: Serving burgers with a twist and using fresh ingredients.

Unique Item(s): Eel Burgers, Rice Burgers, and the Takumi Burger a 1000 yen (about 9 dollars) burger that has “slices of avocado, Tasmanian beef, grated wasabi, and other rare seasonal ingredients”

Learn more: Mos Burger Wikipedia, Official Mos Burger website (Japanese)

2.  First Kitchen

first-kitchen

First Kitchen’s Motto: City convenience restaurant (sounds like a nicer way of saying “fast food restaurant”)

first-kitchen-flavor-potatoThe Basics: Known as ファーストキッチン (fāsuto kicchin) it’s basic fast fast food joint that also mixes things up by offering non-standard fast food fare like ice cream floats, soups, pasta and pizza.  Japanese sometimes shorten the name to Fakkin (ファッキン) or simply FK as in Efukei (エフケイ).

Known for: Serving lots of mayo with their hamburgers and having a flavor bar for your French Fries (different ways of seasoning your fries)

Unique Item(s): 8 flavors of French Fries (which they call “Flavor Potato”) including: Korean BBQ, buttered potato, basil, chicken soup, Italian tomato, garlic, Korean seaweed, and regular plain old french fry flavor.

Learn more: First Kitchen Wikipedia, First Kitchen Summary by Topless Robot, Official First Kitchen website (Japanese)

3.  Freshness Burger

freshness-burger

Freshness Burger’s Motto: “Freshness Burger” is made from nature friendly ingredients and made with pride.  All “Freshness Burger” staff has been pursuing the heartful service…a bit of urban oasis for everyone.

freshness-bacon-omlette-burgerThe Basics: Made to order burgers in an “early American” decor.  The original concept when they first opened in 1992 was that none of the food ingredients were to be frozen.  They operate over 200 locations with the majority in Japan, a few in Korea, and one just recently opened in Hong Kong.

Known for: High quality “fresh” food.  Smaller burger sizes compared to other fast food restaurants.

Unique Item(s): The food is relatively standard, but they do have stuff like a spam and egg burger, interesting condiments like Jamaican Jerk Sauce, fresh lemonade, and offer draft beer.

Learn more: Freshness Burger Wikipedia, Freshness Burger Hong Kong website, Reviews of Freshness Burger by Chowhound

4.  Lotteria
lotteria

Lotteria’s Motto: Straight Burger Lotteria

lotteria-marugoto-french-fryThe Basics: The name comes from the parent company, Lotte.  Some say Lotteria was just a direct copy off of McDonald’s when they opened in 1972.  The color scheme seems to suggest this.   However, Lotteria was the one of the first fast food restaurants to create the shrimp burger (1977)    Lotteria expanded into Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, and China.  Interestingly Lotteria Korea is more popular than Lotteria Japan.

Known for: Burgers, fries, fried chicken, and the 100 yen menu (think dollar menu)

Unique Item(s): The Marugoto potato:  they take a whole Japanese potato (one of the only companies to use Japanese potatoes), slice a few wedges into it (not separating it), season it with Japanese salt, and then serve.

Learn more: Official Lotteria website (Japanese), Lotteria Wikipedia

5.  Becker’s

beckers

Becker’s Motto: Homemade fresh burgers and sandwiches

beckers-bbq-burger-and-poutineThe Basics: Becker’s is operated by Japan Railways (yes the same people that run the trains and subways in Japan) and freshness is not just their slogan, it’s their way of life.  Buns are freshly prepared in the restaurant and if an hour and half goes by and there are still left over buns they toss them.  To keep anything that old would be counter to their commitment to freshness.

Known for: Fresh buns, Pork Teriyaki burger, and sometimes the ability to pay with a Suica card (a pre-paid Japan Rail pass).

Unique Item(s): Menchi Burger, minced black pork burger.  They also serve poutine, a Canadian dish of french fries with gravy and cheese.

Learn more: Beckers Official website (Japanese), Japan Guide’s Wiki on Fast Food

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20 Comments For This Post

  1. billywest Says:

    Like Freshness Burger for their smoothies. They even had this banana-avocado concoction one time; was pretty good.

  2. billywest Says:

    Like Freshness Burger for their smoothies. They even had this banana-avocado concoction one time; was pretty good.
    Sorry… forgot to say great post – can’t wait to read your next one!

  3. MikeD Says:

    Great post. If I ever get to Japan I’ll have to try one or two of
    these places. I especially like the sound of the Poutine and Marugoto potato. Of course I’ll also have to try some of the more traditional Japanese fare.

  4. cocktail mixing Says:

    I love your blog. Keep up the good work. Can’t wait for more from you!

  5. ben Says:

    Thanks Mike…I definitely recommend checking out some of the fast food there in addition to the traditional stuff. While it’s not what you might think of when you think of “japan”…they do have their own style of fast food which makes it an interesting experience.

  6. Shichi Says:

    I ate a lot Mos Burger while at school, also tried out Freshness and Becker. I think I preferred Freshness, but there wasn’t one in Yotsuya =(

  7. Gaijin Zoo Says:

    Cool list…I love all of them..even Becker’s which I have never eaten at..but if they are as good as any of the others…you couldn’t go wrong.

    Stu from Gaijin Zoo

  8. McAlpine Says:

    This is beautifully done. Nice selection. I like beckers best.

  9. jay Says:

    I like burgers just like the next guy but Japanese like them so much that they are getting fat
    http://japansugoi.com/wordpress/okinawa-crisis-more-obese-japanese-japanese-diet-under-threat/

  10. ben Says:

    Man that’s pretty crazy. I would have thought that weight wouldn’t be a big issues. I know the portion sizes are a lot smaller than the US. At McDonald’s at least they didn’t have supersized french fries and drinks.

  11. Doubledouble Says:

    The flavored french fries at First Kitchen sound really good. I’m a french fry fanatic, so anything new sounds interesting. We only get plain old fries here in USA, and the only difference is in the preparation.

  12. eric Says:

    yum.. i miss those places

  13. Joyce Says:

    thanks for the great post. Best regards

  14. ben Says:

    Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I had fun writing it.

  15. Yuka @ How to make Sushi Says:

    Cool! Always love trying new things, this’ll be the next thing cooking!Thanks!Yuka

  16. Jake Klemens Says:

    the perfect post. Just like what you said. I have nothing to add. I’d like to elaborate a bit. This post is so well written it’s almost perfection itself. I feel that if a leave a comment it will stain the carpet and mess the overall grandeur of the blog. I beat a hasty retreat. But I come again to check how the author responds to commenters.

  17. Joe Says:

    these are so cool i hope to eat their some day

  18. ben Says:

    @Joe, these restaurants are pretty cool. I’ve been fortunate to have eaten at a few of these restaurants…there are times where I wish they had restaurants like that here in the United States!

  19. ben Says:

    @Jake, Haha, you are too gracious with your praise. I am far from a perfect writers and unfortunately haven’t had as much time to keep writing here. But thanks for your praise. I’m not sure what kind of response you are looking for, but I’m always looking for people to come add to this blog (that is if you would like to write…)

  20. Nueva Rumasa Says:

    I love to cook, so I’m always searching new recepies to try. Could anybody recommend me what to cook today? Thanks a lot!

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