One of my closest friends recently visited Japan with his wife, and we made plans to get together to sip fine cognac and discuss neoclassical philosophy (OK, canned Ebisu beer and Japanese sports cars). Since they were staying in a hotel with an awesome view of the city, we held our high-minded symposium in their room while admiring Yokohama’s gigantic Ferris wheel.
My friend asked how much all our convenience store-bought booze would run us at a restaurant, and I told him it would depend on whether or not we took advantage of the all-you-can-drink specials that many offer. “Free refills on beer? That’s awesome, but you could never get away with that in the States,” he responded.
It’s a crying shame that he already flew back home, because if he’d stuck around just a little longer, he’d have been able to experience another gastronomic experience unique to Japan: all-you-can-eat burgers at Burger King until December 1.
Perhaps influenced by Scandinavian smorgasbords, at some point in time “Viking” became the word used to describe buffets in Japan, and by extension certain all-you-can-eat promotions. The Japanese language lacks a “v” sound though, so the pronunciation became corrupted to baikin
Marketing execs at Burger King Japan noticed all it took was a little spelling tweak to go from baikin to “biking,” which ends up just a letter away from B(urger) King. BiKing ended up being the name given to the chain’s first all-you-can-eat promotion. Held in 2010, the inaugural BiKing was a huge success, proving without a doubt no one minds a cheesy pun as long as it’s followed by meaty sandwiches.
BiKing is back for 2013, starting on November 15. To get in on the action, first you have to order a large-size set of either a Whopper, Whopper with cheese, or fresh avocado Whopper, along with French fries and a drink. While that will set you back close to 1,000 yen (US $10), the upside is that once you finish that off, you can have as many additional Whoppers as you can fit in your stomach. The promotion also includes unlimited refills of medium-size fries, onion rings, and drinks.
▼ Also free!
However, with great burger power comes great burger responsibility, and there are a number of regulations diners must adhere to. First, you have to finish off all of your initial order before going back for a refill. Secretly stuffing your burger into your bag to eat later, then asking for another sandwich is expressly prohibited, as is sharing your burger bounty with your friends (or heck, complete strangers, given that all those additional Whoppers are free). Customers found breaking the rules will be required to pay the regular price for all of their ill-gotten extras.
And before you grab your laptop and a copy of War and Peace to keep you occupied as you camp out at Burger King all day, bear in mind that your blissful time as a citizen of unlimited burger land is limited to 30 minutes after you place the order for your initial large-size set, so there’s no possibility of eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the BiKing plan. As a matter of fact, breakfast is off the table entirely, as the promotion is only offered from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m. (or closing, whichever comes first).
▼ Bummer. We were ready to sign a lease and start moving our stuff in.
But don’t let these various stipulations bring you down too much. Sure, there are some strings attached, but perhaps the most amazing part of Burger King’s generous offer is that the BiKing isn’t just a one-day deal. BiKing 2013 is running for over two weeks! So while a mere 30 minutes in paradise may not seem like much, if you want to come back for unlimited burgers each and every day until BiKing ends on December 1, no one is going to stop you. Except your doctor, but what does he know?
▼ Sorry Doc, we can’t hear you with the siren song of limitless beef filling our ears.