What the heck is a ‘moon viewing’ burger? Why does McDonald’s Japan sell these lunar sandwiches at this time of year? Is it actually good? We solve all these riddles with this taste test!
RocketNews24 Japan writer Seiji recently tried McDonald’s newest seasonal sandwich “The Full Moon Cheese Tsukimi Burger,” the newest addition to the Tsukimi Burger (literally “moon viewing burger”) line, and delivered a report on the sandwich with a mouthful of a name!
▼ One of the company’s commercials for the burgers
Before we get to the tasty bit of this article, here’s a quasi-educational explanation about moon-viewing and seasonal imagery in Japan.
In autumn, people in Japan traditionally observe a moon-viewing festival, called tsukimi, to celebrate the change of seasons and mark the harvest time. This tradition has been a cherished part of Japanese culture since the Heian Period, when aristocratic types would use it as an excuse to get drunk and write poetry about the moon. The festival remains popular to this day, and many people in Japan still enjoy moon viewing at this time of year.
Okay, but what’s with the cute rabbit imagery, you ask? In Japan, legend holds that rabbits live on the moon and pound mochi (rice-cake). That’s why rabbits often appear alongside pictures of the moon.
So, let’s get to the sandwich already! The burger boasts an elegant-sounding name, but open the box, and you might not exactly be moved to create poetry when you look at it. Basically, the sandwich features the same brownish palette and configuration of ingredients we’ve come to expect from the American fast food giant.
▼Don’t worry, this isn’t actually a bunny burger!
The sandwich’s defining characteristic is its fluffy, round bun. One might even say it’s moon-like when viewed from certain angles! The insides consist of your standard McDonald’s beef patty, cheese, an egg, and a large, disk-like serving of ham. What these ingredients have to do with the moon is beyond us, though I kind of get that the egg is somewhat evocative of the moon’s pocked, white surface.
At 390 yen (just a bit under US$4), Seiji went into this taste test with a slightly skeptical stance, particularly because the restaurant has offered the similar sounding, but cheaper, “Cheese Tsukimi Burger” in the past. 20 yen cheaper to be precise! According to our writer, this new sandwich doesn’t disappoint when it comes to volume, at least.
But how’s the taste? Seiji told us that the unusual bun immediately distinguishes this from other McDonald’s sandwiches, and he reportedly struggled to get all the ingredients in his mouth with one bite. After considerable effort, he simply ended up eating the ham separately.
The verdict? The ham was a nice touch, offering an interesting twist on McDonald’s usual approach to sandwich-craft, but does it warrant the 20 yen price hike? Like a Stanley Kubrick moon-landing conspiracy, it’s ultimately up for you to decide for yourself!
[ Read in Japanese ]