We’re used to eating Japanese rice cakes at New Year’s but this is our first time trying one on a hamburger.
With the New Year’s vacation period winding down, it’s back to work for most people in Japan. But while going back to the daily grind sounds like a bleak prospect after a few days of unadulterated loafing and/or shopping, there is at least one bright spot left on the calendar for January.
Burger Mania is a small hamburger chain with three locations in downtown Tokyo. Each month Burger Mania’s chefs think up a new creation that’s offered for a limited time only, and for January they decided to incorporate one of the quintessential New Year’s foods in Japan: the Japanese-style rice cake called mochi.
On the menu right now is the 1,390-yen (US$12) Mochi Bacon Mozzarella Burger. In RocketNews24’s quest to eat every burger that we can get our hands on, we’ve eaten a lot of different varieties, but we’d never tried one with mochi, and so we made our way to Burger Mania’s branch in Tokyo’s Ebisu neighborhood. Since the restaurant cooks its food to order, we had a bit of a wait, but after 10 minutes a beautiful burger was on the table in front of us.
Mochi can take many different forms, and Burger Mania chooses to use its rice cake as an elegant topping, covered with the promised mozzarella cheese and pieces of bacon perched atop it. We’d actually been expecting a little more, well, mochi-ness in the presentation, but there’s no denying that the sandwich had our mouths watering, so we picked it up and took a taste.
Burger Mania prides itself on using high-quality ingredients, and as we bit into the plump bun and juicy patty, we immediately knew we were eating a good burger. What we didn’t instantly get, though, was a sensation of mochi. That’s not too surprising, though, given that mochi itself is fairly mild in flavor. After a few more bites, though, we were rewarded with a delicious, rich mixture of mochi and mozzarella, made all the more satisfying by the firm textures of the rice cake and cheese complementing one another.
As we finished our meal, we realized that while we’d initially been wishing for more mochi, the amount used in the sandwich is perfect. Any more and it’d smother the other ingredients, and any less would fail to make it feel special. Burger Mania got this one just right, and while we don’t imagine rice cakes becoming such a hamburger mainstay that, for example, McDonald’s will be putting out a McMochi, the Mochi Bacon Mozzarella Burger is a uniquely tasty way to start your year of burger-eating.
Burger Mania (Ebisu branch) / バーガーマニア（恵比寿店）
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Ebisu 4-9-5, Mansion New Ebisu 1st floor
東京都渋谷区恵比寿4-9-5 マンションニュー恵比寿 1F
Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (Monday-Thursday), 11 a.m.-midnight (Friday-Saturday), 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (Sunday)
[ Read in Japanese ]