fast food

Matcha Oreo McFlurries tempting us to forgive McDonald’s Japan’s lack of originality

Matcha Oreo McFlurries tempting us to forgive McDonald’s Japan’s lack of originality

When I was a kid, we never had Oreos in my house. This wasn’t because my parents had a no-sweets policy, but because the pantry was well-stocked with similar Hydrox sandwich cookies instead.

But while Hydroxes actually predate Oreos by a whole four years, it’s the latter that went on to international fame and fortune. It’s a pretty similar tale to that of Dairy Queen’s Blizzard, which has been largely overshadowed by McDonald’s McFlurry, a nearly identical dessert of ice cream mixed with cookies or candy that came out more than a decade after Dairy Queen’s original.

So while the double imitation of an Oreo McFlurry might seem completely derivative, starting next month in Japan there’s a tasty bit of innovation you can look forward to, as McDonald’s Japan is bringing back matcha Oreo McFlurries.

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“Again with the ninjas…” Japan reacts to the American Yoshinoya commercial online

“Again with the ninjas…” Japan reacts to the American Yoshinoya commercial online

One of the great joys of RocketNews24 editors and writers is getting to see how fast food chains operate in different countries. The sometimes slight and sometime huge changes to the menu can really give us more insight into the local cultures than you might expect. However, for the most part these multinational restaurants originate from the USA, so it’s really a special treat to see how the huge gyudon (beef bowl) chain Yoshinoya looks when localized for American customers’ tastes.

Recently a commercial for the salaryman’s favorite restaurant was posted on YouTube and drew some curious opinions from those back in its home country. The response was largely positive, especially regarding the American take on Yoshinoya food, but some wished the US would stop with the whole Japan = ninjas thing already.

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Pizza Hut in Japan is now run by four bossy felines in new adorable campaign

Pizza Hut in Japan is now run by four bossy felines in new adorable campaign

In Japan, there’s the phrase “neko no te mo karitai” (literally “want to borrow even a cat’s hand”), meaning that you’re so busy, you even want the cat to help. Well, Pizza Hut took this idiom to heart in its new campaign, hiring four rough-and-tumble cats to manage a franchise called Pizza Cat! As you’ll see in the dramatic “movie trailer,” these cats are fired up and can’t wait to rescue people who’re too busy to prepare dinner.

Read on to learn more about the comical and kawaii campaign, and to watch a few of the 15-second promotional videos that reveal what would happen if cats really lent a paw. Plus, if you live in Japan you may even have a chance to win a Pizza Hut hat for cats. So are felines one opposable thumb away from world domination, or are we slowly approaching a utopia in which pets will fetch us pizza? And hey, didn’t Samurai Pizza Cats already get started on both?

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Service with a tear? MOS Burger branch says hello with tales of loneliness, sleepless nights

Service with a tear? MOS Burger branch says hello with tales of loneliness, sleepless nights

Among Japanese fast food chains, MOS Burger tries to position itself as being just a little more upscale than its rivals. Sure, the prices are a little higher, but the ingredients taste a little fresher, their customer service a little better, and if your order isn’t to go, they’ll serve your drink in a glass instead of a paper cup.

A lot of MOS branches even add a personal touch by putting a blackboard in front of their entrance with a new message written on it each day. The one in my neighborhood, for example, usually has some sort of seasonal or daily greeting like, “There’s a fireworks festival tonight. We hope everyone who’s going has a great time!”

But things aren’t so chipper in Kawasaki, where the staff of one MOS Burger have decided to use their board to let everyone passing by know about their physical and romantic ailments.

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Are you an avocaddict? Burger King Japan can help you get your fix with new avocado burgers

Are you an avocaddict? Burger King Japan can help you get your fix with new avocado burgers

Every now and again, the Japanese branches of McDonald’s roll out what they call the Big America burgers. Each one is named after a place in the US and has a subtle nod to the region through its ingredients, such as the chili-soaked Texas burger.

The thing is, in the U.S. we don’t call that a Texas burger, we call it a chili burger. Likewise, going into anywhere other than a Japanese McDonald’s and asking for a Broadway or Idaho burger is going to leave the staff confused and you hungry.

It’s always seemed a little strange that there’s no California burger, since that’s an established dish with a standard recipe, being avocado slices on a burger. Well, if McDonald’s won’t do it, Burger King Japan will, and even without a tip of the hat to the Golden State, their new lineup of burgers is packed with avocado.

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Fast food flavour cup noodles recreate the authentic American experience in a pot

Fast food flavour cup noodles recreate the authentic American experience in a pot

Japanese people love their cup noodles, there’s now doubt about it. You can see endless varieties on sale at the conbini or supermarket, from the ordinary to the weird and wonderful. Recently Nissin Foods has released two limited edition cup noodle flavours to be sold at AEON which are definitely at the weirder end of the scale: Cheeseburger Noodles and Hot Dog Noodles.

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Ultra-enthusiastic Japanese Family Mart employee is the height of customer service

Ultra-enthusiastic Japanese Family Mart employee is the height of customer service

Growing up in the U.S., I had always been pretty jaded with customer service. At best, I’d get a cashier thanking me for my patronage (in response to which I would sometimes awkwardly say, “You too!”), and at worst I’d have to remind the cashier s/he was on the clock just to get them to lazily punch in some numbers and ring up my diet coke.

Things are different in Japan. People in retail and customer service jobs practically fall all over themselves to help the customer – when they aren’t busy taking Twitter photos of themselves in ice boxes, anyway. But this Family Mart employee may put them all to shame; he’s got the whole ringing someone up routine down to superhuman levels, snatching cash out of customer’s hands and tossing it into the register with ease and confidence like he’s some kind of teetotalling flair bartender:

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KFC now selling bento lunchboxes from exclusive chain of Japanese-style outlets

KFC now selling bento lunchboxes from exclusive chain of Japanese-style outlets

People in Japan love fried chicken. It’s so popular it’s become one of the staple ingredients in Japanese bento lunches, where it’s served in small, boneless pieces known as kara-age, and it’s in such high demand that you’ll find queues outside specialist kara-age joints around the country.

World-famous fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken has finally picked up on the popularity of the chicken piece with a new line-up of Japanese-style hole-in-the-wall outlets dedicated to serving up kara-age in a variety of KFC flavours. And that’s not all. They’ll even serve it up in a bento lunchbox too.

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All-you-can-eat-fried chicken coming to KFC Japan just in time for the 4th of July

All-you-can-eat-fried chicken coming to KFC Japan just in time for the 4th of July

Man, doesn’t that pile of Kentucky Fried Chicken look enticing? Sure, it may not be the most sophisticated meal, and there’s really no way you can twist the nutritional facts to call it particularly healthy, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a purer, simpler gastronomic joy than a bucket of fried chicken.

But you know what makes the above image all the more beautiful? The large-font Japanese text smack dab in the middle of it, the part that says tabehodai, or, in English, “all you can eat.”

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Kentucky fried rice bowl – KFC’s Kentadon expands throughout east Japan

Kentucky fried rice bowl – KFC’s Kentadon expands throughout east Japan

It’s amazing how much Japan loves KFC. I pass by more locations of the world’s most popular fried chicken chain on an average day in Tokyo than I ever did in Los Angeles, and it’s even the meal of choice for most Japanese diners on Christmas Eve.

Now, just as Japan has embraced KFC, KFC is embracing Japan by expanding the number of locations where you can get your hands on one of the restaurant’s rare Kentucky Fried Chicken rice bowls.

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Think you can finish seven Whoppers in 30 minutes? Burger King Japan wants you!

Think you can finish seven Whoppers in 30 minutes? Burger King Japan wants you!

Burger King Japan has just announced the “60th Anniversary ‘B’iKing Battle,” inviting anyone with the stomach and speed for eating seven Whoppers in half an hour to apply. Sounds pretty sweet, right? Maybe…we have a feeling the grand prize is the last thing participants will want to receive after polishing off two-days’ worth of calories.

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20 bizarre fast food items from Japan

20 bizarre fast food items from Japan

Japan has always had a knack for taking Western ideas and turning them on their head, churning out some weird and wonderful gems in the process. So it’s not surprising that the fast food world in Japan is an absolute goldmine of unusual creations and bizarre taste sensations. From towering burgers to chocolate sauces, we take a look at some of the most mind-boggling limited edition releases we’ve seen in Japan over recent years.

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How to make McDonald’s four-patty burger diet-friendly: Hold the everything

How to make McDonald’s four-patty burger diet-friendly: Hold the everything

A lot of people in Japan start to feel down in the dumps in May, as the excitement of the new jobs and school years they started in April gives way to a daily drudgery with the next public holiday months away. For us, though, May has suddenly become the happiest month of the year so far, with the return of McDonald’s Japan’s massive four-patty Mega Mac on May 19.

Here at RocketNews24, we try to stay one step ahead of the latest burger trends, however. Sure, everyone’s excited about having extra meat now, but what if the next big thing is less meat? Could we order our Mega Mac with no meat, or anything else, for that matter?

As it turned out, not only was McDonald’s willing to indulging us in our minimalistic burger experiment, they even got in on the process by offering us some advice.

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McDonald’s Japan’s eight-nation World Cup menu kicks off next week

McDonald’s Japan’s eight-nation World Cup menu kicks off next week

Japan loves cheering on its sports teams in international competitions, and with the World Cup just a few weeks away, soccer is set to dominate TV programming, advertising, and the national consciousness in general.

If you’re not personally a fan of the Beautiful Game, you might feel a little left out of the conversation for the next couple weeks. So since you won’t be using your mouth for talking, why not stuff it with some of the 14 new World Cup-themed menu items McDonald’s is rolling out in Japan?

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Just when you thought it was safe to get your triglyceride levels checked, the Mega Mac returns

Just when you thought it was safe to get your triglyceride levels checked, the Mega Mac returns

It’s been seven hours and 473 days since they took your love away, Mega Mac. And now the McDonald’s Japan hit taste of the month in the form of an oversized Big Mac has returned. Starting 19 May McDonald’s outlets across the land will again begin serving up the Mega Mac to gluttonous fans (including half of our writing staff) left wanting more back in January ’13.

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We try churros from McDonald’s Japan

We try churros from McDonald’s Japan

Churros are especially popular in Spain and Portugal, but those in Japan have encountered the delicious deep-fried snack at Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios Japan, and more recently, Mister Donut. Because of Japan’s familiarity with churros, the new McChurro from, you guessed, McDonald’s, has caught consumers off guard as it looks more like a flaky pastry. And so we headed to McDonald’s to check it out ourselves. Read More

Japanese fast food chain Lotteria continues shoving noodles where they don’t belong

Japanese fast food chain Lotteria continues shoving noodles where they don’t belong

Our long-time readers will remember Lotteria’s famous–or possibly infamous–ramen noodle burgers last May. We even set Mr. Sato off to try out an extra-massive ramen noodle burger and were amazed by his ability to consume gargantuan amounts of food. As strange as the combination of noodles and buns seemed at the time, it apparently earned the company a lot of happy customers, since Lotteria will be bringing back noodle burgers at the end of this month, with a few new twists…

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Burger King launches perplexing ‘PooPoo Smoothie’ in China

Burger King launches perplexing ‘PooPoo Smoothie’ in China

Burger King has raised some eyebrows with its latest menu addition in China, called the “PooPoo Smoothie.”

The drink as similar to a Taiwanese boba tea, or bubble tea, and has pulp-like “pearls” inside that are supposed to “explode in your mouth upon consumption,” according to the Daily Meal.

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KFC launches collaboration with soccer star Ronaldo, ensures next generation will be too fat to play

KFC launches collaboration with soccer star Ronaldo, ensures next generation will be too fat to play

KFC Japan has announced it is getting in on the fast food giant’s tie up with international soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo starting April 28 by offering new menu items at all Japanese stores. Ronaldo’s face may be all over this stuff, but something tells me this kind of fully fried meal doesn’t actually go in his face very often…

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What’s for breakfast at Burger King Japan? Spamburgers!

What’s for breakfast at Burger King Japan? Spamburgers!

It’s no surprise that the fast food market is a competitive one, particularly in Japan where restaurants go to great lengths to create the most unique items to bring in the customers.

This time, Burger King Japan has announced a new breakfast line-up of unique items not often found in fast food joints. At the head of this new seven-item menu is the wonderful Spam & Cheese for 260 yen (US$2.54).

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