On October 28, McDonald’s Japan showed a little Hallyu love with the launch of its new, limited-time-only Korean Barbeque Burger (KBQ Burger). The KBQ takes a 100% beef patty (guaranteed Australian and New Zealand beef) and tops it with sweet and spicy bulgogi—thin strips of marinated and then barbequed beef— and lays it on a bed of fresh lettuce, melted cheese and a “mildly-spicy sauce” made from gochujang, a fermented red chili paste.
Faithful to RocketNews24 tradition, we made our way to the nearest McDonald’s to see how it tastes.
Feeling hungry, I purchased the Double KBQ Burger. When my order was up I immediately noticed that the wrapping had something written on it in Hangul. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to be swept up in the current Korean pop culture wave enough to read what it said, but my guess is something between “burger” and “I’m lovin’ it.”
Undressing the burger from its wrapper, I was greeted with the fragrantly spicy aroma of the gochujang sauce. I made no haste in taking my first bite and my first impression as the juicy bulgogi filled my mouth was that this burger is more sweet than spicy – or so I thought until the spiciness caught up immediately after.
Not only that, but the mayonnaise base of the gochujang sauce adds some acidity to the sweet and spicy mix, blending together to create a flavor slightly complicating for the palate.
The buns and beef patty are unchanged from the typical McDonald’s burger – which is by no means a bad thing as it helps balance the complexity of the sauce.
I had no complaints with the volume of the burger as well, and I’m sure that those with a big appetite will appreciate the option to double up on the beef patty.
Evaluating the burger as a whole, I personally felt that the tartness of the mayonnaise base clashed with the sweet and sour taste a little too much. Especially compared with other McDonald’s promotions like the Texas Burger and New York Burger, the KBQ Burger leaves something to be desired.
Still, it is a tasty burger and no doubt worth a try for anyone interested in a Korean-inspired twist on the American hamburger.