The craziest hamburger chain in Japan is back to blow our minds and blow away our taste buds.
Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria usually tries to differentiate itself from its fast food competitors by being crazier than them. In the past, Lotteria has shocked Japan with the color, size, and luxury of its sandwiches, and now it’s venturing into yet another attention-grabbing field: elasticity.
The newest member of Lotteria’s eccentric family of foodstuffs is the Nobiiru Cheeseburger, which gets its name from the Japanese word nobiru, meaning to stretch.
▼ As demonstrated in this poster for the sandwich
But fast food restaurants aren’t exactly known for their penchant for understatement, and we found ourselves wondering if the star ingredient of the Nobiiru Cheeseburger is really as stretchy as the company claimed. And so we ventured out to try it for ourselves on March 14, the day the sandwich went on sale at select locations in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, and Sapporo ahead of its March 16 nationwide roll-out date.
There are actually two sandwiches which bear the Nobiiru Cheeseburger name. The first, simply called the Nobiiru Cheeseburger, is priced at 420 yen (US$3.70) and is actually meat-free, consisting of a deep-fried slab of mozzarella cheese and a disc of fried hash brown potatoes atop yet a slice of cheese melting into the bottom bun. If you feel a sandwich absolutely has to have some beef to be called a burger there’s also the 510-yen Nobiiru Cheese and Beef Burger, which adds a beef patty to the contents.
▼ Nobiiru Cheeseburger on the left, Nobiiru Cheese and Beef Burger on the right
The Lotteria branches involved in the early launch even serve the burgers with a place mat that lets you measure how far the cheese can stretch. Much like an anemic economy car with a speedometer that goes up to 140 miles (225 kilometers) per hour, though, we were skeptical about needing the whole 45 centimeters (17.7 inches) marked out on the paper.
▼ Pretty sure of yourself, aren’t you, Lotteria?
But it turns out that Lotteria’s confidence is entirely justified.
Not only can the cheese go the distance, it can actually stretch beyond the limits of the place mat.
The Nobiiru Cheeseburger is just as fun to eat as it is to play with. The stretchy cheese, crispy bready, and soft, fluffy buns make for a rich combination of textures, and if you opt for the beef patty version, you’ve got some great, juicy meat added to the mix.
However, the availability of the sandwiches won’t be as impressively long as their cheese stretchability. Both will be around only until mid-April, so if you’re looking to try/photograph them for yourself, don’t wait around too long. And if you’re wondering what sort of dessert to enjoy afterwards, we have a suggestion.
[ Read in Japanese ]