When you think about food in Japan, you probably imagine sushi, noodles, rice, and perhaps some tempura or ramen. Well, when enjoying Japan’s gastronomic delights, be sure not to pass up Japan’s take on the old American classic – the hamburger. MOS Burger is a uniquely Japanese hamburger chain, though it has recently started expanding to other Asian countries.

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Mos Burger Suminodo Shop

I know what you are thinking. In a country where corn goes on pizza, it’s not too big a stretch of the imagination to suppose that the Japanese like a bit of moss on their burgers. But no. MOS actually stands for Mountain, Ocean, Sky, which may not make things much clearer, but the burgers more than make up for the deviant English.The thing I like most about MOS burger is that the food actually looks like it does on the menu! The first time I went, I was expecting a squished, perhaps leaky version of the cute little burger on the menu, and was pleasantly surprised when it looked as fresh and perky as the picture did. In Japan, the appearance of food is almost as important as the taste, and MOS burger does not disappoint in this regard.

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Being Japanese, MOS Burger has some delicious fast food concoctions that cannot be found on this side of the Pacific. Most of their burgers have a chili sauce, which is not spicy in itself, but adding jalapenos will do the trick for spice-fiends. They also serve a teriyaki burger, a shrimp cutlet burger, Atkins-friendly lettuce-wrap burgers, and the uniquely Japanese rice burger. The rice is flattened into the shape of a bun and grilled to make it hard and flavorful. Supposedly they got the idea when Japan had a rice surplus, and they did not want to waste rice that farmers had worked so hard to produce.

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Another interesting feature of MOS Burger is their constantly changing special menu. They put out some fairly unique products, which change every three to four months. Some examples I remember from my time in Japan were naan (Indian bread) tacos, a Tandoori chicken burger, and a pork cutlet curry rice burger. That’s really pushing the envelope! And I heard that they have come out with a 1,000-yen Takumi Burger that has 10 layers of different ingredients, including avocado, Tasmanian beef and freshly grated wasabi.

When sushi came to America, chefs here began putting things like mayonnaise, avocado and cream cheese in rolls, much to the dismay of sushi-purists. The reverse phenomenon is happening with burgers in Japan. Don’t miss out… be sure to make MOS Burger a stop on your culinary excursion to Japan.

C. Bishop

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