A few days ago, we talked about fast food chain Mos Burger’s plan to unleash something called the Wet Burger, or Nure Burger in Japanese. Unlike normal sandwiches which are content to have their sauce on the inside, the Wet Burger is submerged in tomato sauce before serving.
But is this new challenger a legitimate rival to the standard Mos Burger, already considered one of the stars of the Japanese fast food scene? Or is it simply too bold and saucy for its own good?
The Wet Burger went on sale August 3 at Mos Burger locations in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture. We figured such a crazy sandwich deserved an equally crazy taste tester, so we sent our Japanese-language correspondent Mr. Sato to try it out.
▼ Poster advertising the burger in all its soppy glory
But while this is a new frontier for Mos Burger, it’s actually somewhat familiar ground for Mr. Sato. See, the Nure Burger is Mos’ take on the Turkish islak burger, which also means “wet burger.” Since first appearing in Istanbul a decade ago, the islak burger has become a street food staple in Turkey, and Mr. Sato dined on one in Taksim Square when he was in the Turkish metropolis on one of his globe-trotting adventures a few years ago. He liked it well enough, so he was looking forward to the rendezvous between his taste buds and the Nure Burger.
One thing’s for sure: no one can accuse Mos of false advertising, as the Wet Burger is indeed dripping wet.
▼ Thankfully it comes wrapped in paper, so that you don’t have to lick your palms clean afterwards.
Mos Burger is by no means opposed to enhancing its sandwiches with vegetables, but the 280-yen (US$2.20) Wet Burger doesn’t have any wedges of tomato or leaves of lettuce. Inside, there’s a patty and a slice of cheese, and that’s it.
But hey, the whole reason we were trying this burger is because of the sauce that’s outside the buns…as well as between them. Really, the Napolitan sauce (a ketchup-based tomato sauce seasoned with onions and garlic that’s been popular in Japan since the 1950s) is everywhere, and on its own doesn’t taste half bad.
But there’s just so much of it.
The sauce penetrates every nook and cranny of the bun and ground beef patty, giving it an unpleasantly soft mouthfeel that lacks the meaty texture burger fans expect and enjoy. There’s also a bit of a problem with the bread itself.
See, the islak burger Mr. Sato had in Istanbul used wheat bread for its bun, which meant it had a strong enough flavor to stand up to the sauce used in the Turkish version and give you more than one taste to enjoy in each bite. Mos’ Nure Burger, though, uses plain white bread, and the flavor of the bun gets entirely overrun by that of the sauce.
As a matter of fact, you can’t even taste the meat. The Wet Burger’s flavor profile is all Napolitan sauce, all the time.
▼ Close your eyes, and you might not even be able to tell you’re eating a sandwich.
So would the solution be to use less sauce? Well, that’d certainly be one option, but then it’d just be a normal hamburger with nothing unique going for it. Personally, we’d be happy if Mos replaced its boring buns with bread with a little more character, but that’s not likely to happen in the limited time the Wet Burger is available. We’d still recommend trying one just for the experience, but it’s probably best to hold off on ordering two at a time, no matter how hungry you are.
Photos © RocketNews24