Kanto region vs. Kansai region in a regional McDonald’s burger battle.
The Kanto region, centred on Tokyo, and the Kansai region, centred on Osaka and Kyoto, have a long history of cultural and culinary rivalry. They also have different words for some things, including, strangely enough, McDonald’s. Then again, in English there are plenty of names for the humble fast food chain: Maccy D’s, the Golden Arches and the Evil Face of Capitalism to name but a few. While normally in Japan it’s pronounced Makudonarudo (マクドナルド), people in Tokyo and the surrounding area tend to abbreviate the name to “Makku” (マック) with those in Kansai and the West of Japan go for “Makudo” (マクド). Now, McDonald’s Japan is playing up this rivalry by introducing differing limited-edition burgers to decide, at least burger-wise, who will be crowned champion.
▼ The Tokyo Roast Beef Burger (top) and the Osaka Beef Katsu Burger (below)
The contenders? In the West corner, weighing in at more than a hundred grams, is the Osaka Beef Katsu Burger. Osaka is the traditional culinary heart of Japan, encapsulated by the unofficial motto of the city, ‘kuidaore‘ (eat until you fall down). One of its most famous offerings is Kushi Katsu: meat, fish or vegetables placed on skewers, covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. The new McDonald’s burger follows in this tradition with a bread-crumbed and deep-fried beef patty with a good dollop of special Katsu sauce. The Osaka Beef Katsu Burger will set you back 390 yen (US$3.52) for the burger on its own or 690 yen for the meal set.
In the East corner, also weighing in at several grams, is the Tokyo Roast Beef Burger. Yes, Tokyo, capital of Japan and almost a country in its own right, famous throughout the world for… roast beef? Rather than go with tradition, McDonald’s says it is responding to the current trend sweeping the capital. The Tokyo Roast Beef Burger will feature the delicious umami flavour of roast beef with a 100 percent beef patty in a baguette-style bun. The Tokyo Roast Beef Burger will cost 440 yen (US$3.98) or 740 yen for the meal set.
But the campaign isn’t limited to these two flagship burgers; the breakfast menu and chicken burgers are also getting limited edition versions to decide who wins, or at least who eats more McDonald’s. The full line-up:
▼ Tokyo Roast Beef Breakfast Muffin (360 yen) or Osaka Beef Katsu Burger Breakfast Muffin (330 yen)?
▼ Chicken McNuggets with Osaka Okonomi Mayonnaise or Tokyo Lemon & Basil Mayonnaise?
▼ ‘La France‘ (European Pear) and ‘Wakayama Unshu Mikan‘ (Mandarin Orange) McDonald’s Fizzes
The two camps also have official supporters, with Kanto having the backing of actress Airi Taira (who was actually born in Hyogo Prefecture in the Kansai region) and Kansai having Osakan comedian Koji Imada in their corner.
See the celebrities take to the ring in the official ad for the campaign below:
The short-lived voting runs from August 9 until August 20 so you’ll need to be quick to cast your vote/stuff your face. The winning burger will be declared on August 22, with a special Victory Coupon for that burger becoming available on the McDonald’s Japan official phone app or the company’s Twitter page until the campaign ends in early September.