fast food

McDonald’s Japan to return “free smiles” to menu

In my more formative years I worked the counter at McDonald’s. It was an okay job for someone with no prior work experience and helped to support my SNES habit. However, the one thing I hated was when a customer approached the counter and would ask for a “free smile” because it was written on the menu.

It had gotten to the point that I could tell the look on a customer’s face before they even opened their mouth to ask for my worthless grin. And so, I’d give them that “oh you” smile as if I hadn’t heard the joke a thousand times before and a little bit of myself would die inside.

Now a whole new generation of Japanese youngsters will get to have that same experience as McDonald’s Japan announced the return of zero-yen smiles to their menus at all stores all day long.

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Lotteria continues to try making burgers out of noodles, this time they brought rice to the party

Despite a rather weak track-record for its hamburgers with patties of noodles, fast-food chain Lotteria is back at it with the Moko Tanmen Burger. This time around they’ve also come up with the Moko Don Burger which uses a wad of rice as the patty. Good thing Dr. Atkins isn’t around to see this.

They say the definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results. We’re not sure what to call RocketNews24 reporter Mr. Sato then, because he is returning to Lotteria for a fourth time to try these noodley sandwiches in hopes of some redemption.

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Korean actor gets the “sauciest” makeovers in his life, thanks to Lotteria’s tray sheets

You know how fast food joints typically line their trays with disposable tray papers? Well, perhaps some of these fast food chains have yet to realize, but printing a person’s face on them might not be the brightest idea. Or, it could be the best idea ever!

Think along the lines of free entertainment after meals! Check out these saucy makeovers the creative fast food goers in Korea gave this dude on the tray liner!

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The five-patty Lotteria burger wasn’t big enough, so we made a 35-patty burger instead!

When we heard last month that Japanese burger chain Lotteria was bringing back their legendary five-patty Tower Burger, we knew that we had to give it a try. Unfortunately we didn’t realize the special was only available until the end of April, so when we finally got around to it there was nothing but boring normal burgers left.

But then we realized something: the Tower Burger is just five patties stacked on top of each other. We could just buy five patties and make our own anytime! In fact… there’s no limit to how many patties we could stack. We could even have something ridiculous, like a 35-patty burger!

And so we did. And we ate it. This is our adventure.

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We try deliciously meaty US-style “Inside-Out” ramen burgers at Ramen Burger Tokyo

It seems that when Japanese food makes its way over to America, something gets lost in translation and the food winds up inside-out. Just look at California rolls, for example.

And now, here’s another example of Japanese food being flipped: “Ramen burgers” which usually consist of a bun filled with ramen noodles, have been reborn in the US as, um, “ramen burgers”, but with a twist – the meat patty is sandwiched between two “buns” made of tightly packed noodles!

We sent our resident office culinary “expert” Mr Sato down to the first “US-style ramen burger” joint in Japan for a taste test!

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Want socks with that? McDonald’s Japan attempts to win customers with fast food, toasty feet

McDonald’s hasn’t been doing so well in Japan for a while now, but they’re still plugging away at the Japanese market, trying to stay popular in a country that has plenty of burger chains of its own, and without any of those awkward food scandals at that.

It seems their latest gimmick – giving away free stripy socks akin to those Ronald McDonald wears – is doing more to win over customers than any of the special creations they’ve previously tried to use as bait, however…

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“Nintendo 64!!!!” meme kid grew up to be super excited about everything, even Taco Bell

Remember Nintendo 64 Kid? That tiny ball of energy that got so worked up about his Nintendo 64 Christmas present that his ecstatic reaction, so over-the-top that people actually thought he was possessed, became an Internet meme even though the footage was captured before Internet memes were really even a thing?

Well, Nintendo 64 Kid is all grown up and it looks like his meme fame has turned him into an overall cool dude who just gets excited about everything, even the disgusting “meat” of questionable provenance purveyed by Taco Bell.

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Truth in advertising: Lotteria’s monstrous Burger with Everything on It is exactly that

You can probably describe about 90 percent of fast food with some combination of the words “convenient,” “greasy,” and “delicious.” In the case of Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria, though, you’ll want to make an addition to your vocabulary list: “crazy.”

Oh, sorry, looks like a typo slipped through. That should actually be “crazy!!!”

Lotteria is sort of the playground daredevil of the Japanese fast food scene. On just about any given day, you’ll find at least one item on the menu that seems to have been created not so much because it’s a good idea, but so that the restaurant can say, “Hey guys! Look at what I can do!” Every now and again, though, Lotteria gets its batch of crazy sauce just right, which is why it’s bringing back the awe-inspiring Burger with Everything on It.

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“Supreme Court Beef” and other translation fails from the new Taco Bell Japan website

Media in Japan, us included, have been all over Taco Bell’s return to the country this week, but talk hasn’t been entirely of tacos. The Taco Bell Japan website was also making news when Japanese speakers noticed it had some pretty terrible and funny English-to-Japanese translations.

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Gorgeous Filipino KFC manager is tastier than a whole bucket of hot wings

Surely nobody can deny that over the years we here at RocketNews24 have been good to those who love pretty ladies, given that we’ve brought you many an article featuring a bevy of beauties. In fact, “cute girls doing things” is practically a meme of its own.

But what about the good-looking men?” we hear you cry. Well, ladies and gentlemen-appreciators, this one’s for you! Meet Christopher Sengseng, the manager of a branch of KFC who’s also a regulation hottie

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Hooray! Taco Bell opens in Japan and we’re there to get the commemorative T-shirt and free taco!

While you can certainly find countless restaurants offering a seemingly endless range of cuisines in Japan, if you’ve spent some time in the country, you may have noticed that options for Mexican food (or at least American-Mexican food) can be somewhat limited. So when news went around that American fast food chain Taco Bell was going to re-open in Japan, the response on the Japanese Internet was huge. And while we understand that not everyone is a fan of Taco Bell, there certainly seemed to be enough people overjoyed that the chain was finally returning to Japan after having opened shop here once for just a short time in the 1980s.

All of this meant that the opening of the new Taco Bell shop in Shibuya, Tokyo was bound to attract lots of attention as well as a good crowd, and not to miss out on the excitement and tacos, our very own Mr. Sato from the Japanese arm of RocketNews24 was there on opening day to bring you the following report!

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McDonald’s Japan faces largest deficit ever, closing 190 stores and retiring 100 HQ staff

We have said it many times: 2014 was not a good year for McDonald’s in Japan. Ever since being involved in an expired chicken scandal last summer, the Japanese public at large has held a grudge so deep against the restaurant you’d think Ronald himself left a flaming bag of dog poop on everyone’s doorstep and keyed their cars on his way off the premises.

Now as the new fiscal year in Japan begins we can see that this anger wasn’t limited to mere online whining either. Japanese people seem to have united and hit McDonald’s where it hurts most: the bottom line.

In an announcement on 16 April, McDonald’s Holdings Company Japan President Sarah Casanova announced that the company currently sits on the largest deficit ever at a super-sized 38 billion yen (US$319M).

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Paying for nothing: Japanese burger chain’s latest sandwich doesn’t actually have a patty

It’s not unheard of for customers at fast food restaurants to discover that the burger they ordered is either missing one of its ingredients or contains something that they asked to be left out. It’s quite another issue entirely, however, to receive a burger that’s missing its patty and for that order to still be technically correct.

But that’s exactly what wacky Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria has done with its latest creation. Say hello the “No-Shrimp Burger”; a shrimp burger without the shrimp.

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Vegetarian Yoshinoya? We taste test the chain’s new veggie rice bowl

Yoshinoya, Japan’s most ubiquitous domestic fast food chain, is known first and foremost for its beef bowls. So strong is the mental connection between the restaurant and gyudon, as beef bowls are called in Japanese, that Yoshinoya’s nickname among fans is Yoshigyu.

So we were surprised to hear that Yoshinoya’s newest menu item is not only beef-free, but doesn’t contain any meat at all! A vegetarian option at the king of beef bowl restaurants? Not only does it exist, but we’ve tried it.

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Here’s what we got when we ordered the chef’s recommendation…at McDonald’s!

If you’re a foodie who dreams of eating at Michelin and Zagat rated establishments, perhaps you’ve also fantasized about saying to the Maitre d’ at a fancy restaurant, “Can I speak with the chef? I’d like to thank him/her for a superb meal.”  Granted, such a dining situation may not come up very often, but what you may be able to do more easily instead is to order “whatever the chef’ recommends.

And that’s exactly what our RocketNews24 Japan staff decided to do at a series of restaurants, the first one being  none other than…McDonald’s! Now, we’d like to think that all people working in a kitchen, whatever the type of restaurant, actually want to serve tasty food, and to that end would likely have a definite opinion on what they would most like customers to try.  So, asking for the chef’s recommendation should result in a more than satisfying meal, right? Well, we were certainly excited to find out what the recommendation would be at one of the world’s best-known fast food chains!

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Tokyo chain puts french fries on soba noodles, proves dreams really can come true

Ramen burgers. Bulgogi tacos. Cronuts. Sometimes the stars align and the gods see fit to bless the world with visionary new dishes–the kind that make people say, “Is that even possible?” Eventually, those same people end up wondering why no one came up with the concept sooner.

One of our Japanese writers was able to experience the joy of culinary experimentation firsthand during a recent trip to Tokyo’s Nadai Fuji Soba, which is now serving… wait for it… French fry soba! Though at first glance you might think someone spilled their Happy Meal over a plate of noodles, the tasty result is sure to make you a believer.

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We try the new Tokyo Tower Burger from Mos Burger

We brought you news of its coming and now it’s time for us to take on the new Tokyo Tower Burger from much-loved Japanese hamburger chain Mos Burger. With 14 layers of goodness, including chilli sauce and fried onion rings, this promises to be a spicy encounter as well as a heck of a mouthful.

But with Mos Burger known for its relatively small serving sizes, just how big is their latest offering? Come with us as we take you through the burger dedicated to Tokyo Tower, bite by delicious bite.

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Japan’s Mos burger releases inaugural tower burger to celebrate new Tokyo Tower outlet opening

For years, fast food chain Lotteria has reigned supreme as the tried-and-tested purveyor of the loveable monstrosity known as the Tower Burger. Now it’s shouldering up to some heavy competition, as Japan’s most successful home-grown burger franchise, Mos Burger, is set to release a tower burger of their own. And it’s all in celebration of the opening of their newest location at Tokyo Tower.

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Taco Bell to tackle Japanese market–but should we cheer or groan? Our foreign writers reflect

With perennial favorites such as Mos Burger, CoCo Ichibanya, Hotto Motto, and more, Japan has no shortage of tasty casual dining establishments to satisfy any craving. Yet many a foreign resident has surely at one time found himself longing for something more–the kind of guilty satisfaction that can only result from a visit to our favorite not-quite-Mexican joint, the peerless Taco Bell.

According to recent reports, the American fast food chain will soon be reentering the Japanese market, following up on its previous, disastrous, attempt almost three decades ago. Is this the beginning of a Mexican food renaissance in Japan, or simply the beginning of the end? We asked our foreign writers currently residing in Japan for their opinions, which proved to be mixed, to say the least.

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Just like the cherry blossoms, KFC potato chips return to Japan this spring!

Last year, something beautiful came to Japan. It was only here for a short while, but in that time, it left a deep impression on many people, including us here at RocketNews24. And while we were sad to see it go, it’s time to dry our tears, because this spring, it’s coming back again!

So, all excited for cherry blossom season? That’s great, but what we’re actually talking about right here are Kentucky Fried Chicken-flavor potato chips.

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