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McDonalds Japan. Not only do they make expensive “high end” burgers now, but they’re also treading on our Amurrrican turf, making “America burgers.” And not just America… “BIG America.” I’m not sure if the “big” is referring to us as a people, the burger itself, or both.

In fact I remember seeing these “Big America” burgers when we were in Japan filming last winter, though none of us tried them. The idea is that each region/state/city gets their own America burger. Of course, not all states are represented, not even by a long shot. Most Japanese, let alone Americans, don’t know what a North Dakota is, after all, and Ohio is just how you say “good morning.” Basically, they’re picking and choosing famous spots from around the US, figuring out a stereotyped feature of that place (missing completely, sometimes), and then putting it in a burger.

Let’s take a look at these “Big America” burgers while we wait for McDonald’s line of “Small Japan Burgers” to be released.

Texas Burger & Texas Burger 2

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This burger’s first run was so popular that it got itself a sequel! The Texas Burger 2 comes back with a “wilder” taste (not sure what to think of that), and has chili beans, bacon, onions, a slice of American cheese, old-fashioned mustard relish, and a quarter-pound of beef. I think the creators of this burger watched one too many cowboy movies.

Yeehaw!

Grand Canyon Burger

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Sadly, they don’t cut the Grand Canyon Burger in half when serving it to you, nor does it contain donkey meat, but it does have an egg McMuffin-like round egg disc, cheddar AND mozzarella cheese, crispy bits of onion, steak sauce, and Big Mac-esque bun and beef layout. Not sure how this has anything to do with the Grand Canyon, but maybe they were going for some kind of Arizona vibe? Even that doesn’t make much sense to me. Maybe if we watch the commercial it will all come together?

No, I’m way more confused now.

Las Vegas Burger

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Once again, I feel like McDonalds failed to capture the essence of the location this burger was named after. They should have a system where they fill one in a million burger containers with money, then at least there’d be some gambling involved. But no, they had to go with LV staples like sauteed sliced beef and onions, lettuce, and cream cheese? That cream cheese is so money, baby.

Broadway Burger

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Broaaadway!! ♬ Nothing sings “Broadway” like mozzarella, bacon cured pastrami-style, mixed vegetables, and a mustard and cream cheese sauce. Okay, I take that back. Many things sing “Broadway” more than the featured Broadway Burger items listed above.

California Burger

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California is a big place, but this burger tries to capture it all, from the sands of Los Angeles to the redwoods of the north. Can you guess what makes this burger “California?” I would have guessed avocado, but came away pleasantly surprised. Between two “artisan” buns there’s a quarter-pound of beef, spicy cheese, bacon strips, tomato slices, and lettuce. This isn’t all that “California,” though, so they up the ante and top it with a special sauce made from red wine that’s actually produced in California! Gotta give this one an “A” for effort, at the very least.

Beverly Hills Burger

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Unlike the “improvement sequels” that we see with the Texas and New York burgers, the Beverly Hills Burger is something unique and different from its geological predecessor, the California burger. This burger’s unique features are: guacamole, cheese, Cesar salad dressing, an egg, and the meat of abandoned chihuahuas. For some reason I don’t see the people of Beverly Hills ever buying or associating themselves with a burger like this.

Idaho Burger

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As if you didn’t see this one coming. The Idaho burger’s special feature? Potatoes. Like, a whole breakfast hashbrown worth of taters, but more circle-shaped. In addition to this is bacon, onions, a quarter-pound of beef, cheese, a peppery sauce, grainy mustard, and an onion bun, because Idaho makes a lot of onions too.

What kind folk you have out there in Idaho!

Miami Burger

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The Miami Burger simultaneously concludes that “all Hispanic people eat at Taco Bell!” and that “Florida is filled with these homogenous Hispanic peoples.” The purpose of this burger is to evoke the feeling of “tacos” and in order to do that they insert tortilla chips, shredded cheese (because that’s so tacos!), a “spicy tomato chili sauce” (sounds like an unholy matrimony of salsa and ketchup), a quarter-pound beef patty, and something that looks like it might be taco meat, but I’m not totally sure. For all I know it’s meat made from a leg that washed up on Miami beach.

Personally, if I were McDonalds, I would have taken the “Florida is filled with retirees” approach and blended the burger into a smoothie and added vitamins to it, but I suppose that would be too much work.

New York Burger

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Kind of a boring burger, to be honest, the New York burger has Monterrey Jack Cheese, bacon, tomato, lettuce, and a grainy mustard. Maybe they realized that this burger wasn’t all that great, which is why they made a sequel to the New York burger and zeroed in on Manhattan:

Manhattan Burger

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They weren’t happy with the New York burger so they made a follow-up. The Manhattan burger has everything that the New York burger has but adds a slice of pastrami and two servings of sour cream sauce to provide a “modern, airy, refined taste.” Mission accomplished? I’m not so sure.

If that McDonalds car was stuck in the middle of the intersection in real New York people would be dead right now. DEAD. Then who would eat your burgers? Fuggedaboudit.

Hawaiian Burger

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Did the Hawaiian burger just blow my mind by not including pineapple in any shape or form? Of all the opportunities that they had to capture the (stereotypical) essence of a geographical location in America, this was their chance! Still, it doesn’t look too bad. The Hawaiian burger features a special gravy, an egg-disc, chopped lettuce, an American cheese slice, bacon, and of course a lot of beef. It looks like they were going for a pseudo loco moco, so I gotta credit them on not going straight for the obvious pineapple cop out.

Now the only thing missing is spam. Lots and lots of delicious spam.

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There you have it. I summed up the answer to “what is America” via McDonalds hamburgers eaten in Japan based off of American places. If this trend continues, I can only imagine what they’ll come up with next. Maybe a crab/salmon/oil burger from Alaska (that actually sounds good)? Or what about an Oregon burger that’s topped with kale and kombucha? Maybe they could even do a North Dakota burger where you open the box and there’s nothing there. The possibilities are endless!

If McDonalds Japan were to do a burger based off your state/city/region/province/country/landmark, what do you think they would do? Not so much what they should do, but how will your location be stereotyped in burger form? Let me know in the comments.

Bonus: Here’s a papercraft I came across of that weird McDonalds RV that’s in all the “Big America” commercials.

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Bonus Wallpapers!

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[2560x1600] • [1280x800] • [1280x800 Animated] • [700x438 Animated]

  • iamoyashiro

    If they had a Canada burger, it would probably be fake moose meat with lots of bacon, lots and lots of bacon

  • unger

    And they’d always apologize when handing it to you. ‘Gomen nasai, eh?’

  • Christopher Stilson

    The Washington burger would have to be drenched in coffee, and the Edmonton burger would be deep-frozen.

  • KaoriCamellia

    “North Dakota burger where you open the box and there’s nothing there.”
    Oh my god, Koichi. Amazing! Also, go home Japan, you’re drunk.

  • Christopher Stilson

    And Pacific salmon which is actually Atlantic trout.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    but… would it be Canadian bacon? Or… REAL bacon?

  • KaoriCamellia

    Does that mean a French burger would scamper away when you try to eat it? O_o :D

  • Zach Walz

    SO much they could have done with the Hawaiian burger… Spam, sweet potatoes, taro, a million different kinds of fish, even ramen for that matter! But why am I caring so much? SO MUCH CARING ABOUT HAWAIIAN BURGER.

    And they should have done a Chicago burger with something related to the mob. Because when I was in Japan, that was the first thing everyone said to me when I mentioned I was from Chicago.

  • Jomann

    Damn I would go to japan just for this.

  • Ethan Blomquist

    Wisconsin burger… three different kinds of cheese, pretzel bun, beer battered onion strings….mmmmmmmmm

  • Scott Lavigne

    The Idaho burger is the greatest thing ever. Delicious!

  • Skarmy

    I think you’d open the box for the West Virginia burger and the box would be covered in racial slurs. The burger would be like the KFC double down; chicken patties are the buns, 1/3rd pound of beef inside covered in melted cheddar and topped with bacon and mashed potatoes soaking in gravy, because no one in this state seems to even know what vegetables are. Then it would all be dyed black like those Japanese black and White burgers to simulate the coal that is “fueling our economy”

  • Tora.Silver

    Virginia burgers would be made with love. <3

  • docmarionum1

    If there’s one thing that’s the exact opposite of a New York burger, it’s mustard. Good Job, McDonalds Japan.

  • http://moonlightmartinis.blogspot.com/ artista.oscura

    They need a New Mexico burger loaded with Hatch roasted green chile and bacon! :D

  • Jennifer Richardson

    I wish I could say that the Texas burger grossly stereotypes us, but that burger’s ingredients are basically my dad’s weekly shopping list…

  • Sarah Mouradian

    Miami/Florida burger is lacking large amounts of rednecks lol

  • Anthony Jaymes Annis-Rastaette

    In Alaska, we have the Mt. McKinley Mac, which is a Big Mac, but bigger!

  • shiro

    The Grand Canyon burger has many layers, hence invoking the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, it’s disgusting. :(

  • Xaromir

    They should have made the Beverly Hills from plastic, packaged it in bags filled till close to bursting with hot air.
    In Germany there actually is Hawaii toast, which is a tasty and cheap open sandwich creation, it features one slice of slightly
    toasted toast, 1 slice of ham (the cheap processed one), 1 slice of
    pineapple and one slice of American melty cheese (the ones t hat are
    individually wrapped in foil), sometimes people put a cherry on top, and then it goes in the oven till the cheese makes bubbles and browns a bit, it’s pure awesome!

  • japanesehamantashen

    Maryland blue crab burger, since it’s the only food that’s really associated with Maryland, even though most people here never really eat them.

  • Josh

    McDonald’s Australia recently did something similar with “Tastes of America”: http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2013/03/tastes-of-america-menu-now-available-at-mcdonalds-australia.html
    Judging by the comments on that article, we didn’t get it right either.

  • Mars

    Can’t wait for the Indiana burger. Made with corn, corn, corn, and stagnant valley air!

  • Pepper_the_Sgt

    Thanks McDonald’s of Japan! You taught me a lot about America that I never knew!

    Also, why Footloose?

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    yeah, seriously, I’ve had that portion of that song stuck in my head all day.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    sounds fancy and expensive, I like it.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    of all the burgers, I thought that one looked the best. But… I do have a soft spot for McDonalds hashbrowns, though that soft spot may be some kind of heart problem developed from eating too many McDonalds hashbrowns.

  • Leliel

    The sight of those egg-like discs make me feel sick every single time.

  • orangedude

    Same here. The sight of their “hash-browns/tater-tots” doesn’t help either.

  • choco

    I had a Mega Big mac last Januari in Tokyo.

  • Don

    Do they also lace every patty with ractopamine, rBGH, e. coli, and a cocktail of antibiotics?

  • Sarah

    For Québec, or Canada even, the stereotype would have to include some form of poutine: cheese curds in pace of regular cheese, one of those potato patties, and a gravy sauce. I feel as though maple syrup should also be included, though I don’t imagine that combining very well with the poutine-gravy element. Maybe topped off with some smoked meat, or “Canadian bacon.” Sounds pretty gross, to me. Perhaps it would be better with some foie gras in there? Ha, probably not McDo’s style.

  • Sarah

    Bacon equality man! Canadian bacon just wants the rights “regular” bacon enjoys! It’s bacon too!

  • Lizzy

    Where’s the chicago-style burger that has every single ingredient known to man is inside?

  • Guest

    For Québec, or Canada as a whole even, I’m thinking some kind of a poutine element: cheese curds in place of regular cheese, one of those potato patties, and some gravy. There would need to be a maple syrup component, though I don’t imagine that mixing well with the poutine-gravy… Then, mandatory Canadian bacon and maybe some smoked meat added on there for extra health. Sounds pretty Canadian to me. Maybe some foie gras too, but I feel like that’s not McDo style, most likely.

  • MandaMac

    Ha! A Tennessee Burger would have been made of venison topped with velveeta cheese, mayo and fried dill pickles. With a side of fresh corn & `maters. On a cornbread bun.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    that sounds super good to me

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    that sounds super good to me!

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    It wouldn’t be authentic without it

  • トニー

    As a Cuban living in Miami, I must say that the Miami Burger is freaking hilarious.

  • Joel Alexander

    I’d say they’re called “Big America” burgers because the patties are a ridiculous amount larger than the burger…

    > Personally, if I were McDonalds, I would have taken the “Florida is filled with retirees” approach and blended the burger into a smoothie and added vitamins to it

    Well, Koichi, that’s probably why noone’s asked you to be a McDonalds executive yet. =P

  • Raymond Chuang

    Yes, everything except ketchup. ^_^;;

  • Raymond Chuang

    What’s interesting is that McDonald’s has tried this in other parts of the world besides Japan–and the reception has been mixed, to say the least. G** help us all if McDonald’s tries to foist one of these burgers on the US market!

  • Christine Gris

    If Japanese McD’s managed to make a Norwegian burger, I think they’d make it with a beef hamburg, or maybe even reindeer meat. It would be topped with 2 medium thick slices of cooked potatoes with salt and pepper, gravy with bayleaf and other spices, and lingonberry jam. Buns would be whole grain.
    I kinda miss my country now. Or, at least the food.

  • Mitch Burke

    There’s no Washington D.C. burger because the designers just couldn’t agree on what to put in it.

  • G_Nepenthe

    California should get an avocado and salsa burger, with a side of sweet potato fries and a healthy salad!

  • G_Nepenthe

    they really frighten me. What are they, some form of egg-colored injection molded foam?

  • G_Nepenthe

    And a maple syrup glaze.

    Only it’s McDonalds, so it would be corn syrup instead, with maple flavoring.

  • G_Nepenthe

    Considering KFC’s Double Down is still with us, I’d think that the US market would absorb these burgers pretty well. The differences between some of them might be a little too subtle though, to develop a fan following like people like to do.

  • G_Nepenthe

    Why not? I thought ketchup was a vegetable? XD

  • Sholum

    Surprisingly, the egg disk is probably the best thing on there in terms of origin. I don’t know about now, but originally, McDonald’s (I don’t know if they originated the idea or not) made egg disks by cracking eggs into a form on the griddle. It’s less messy than the traditional fried egg on toast (with bacon or sausage).

  • Sholum

    South Carolina burger: small beef patty (just enough to be called a burger) with every major form of pork available. Don’t forget onions and peppers (and squash, but that might be beyond McDonald’s). Real barbeque sauce (mustard base instead of tomato). Finally, a grit cake on the side, because corn is where it’s at.

    Of course, that actually sounds like it might taste good, so it probably wouldn’t happen. More likely they’d come up with some kind of shrimp and grits thing. Only a little of the grits would be white, but they’d be so loudly white that everyone thinks they’re the majority and says they hold the other grits under their thumb, ’cause that’s the kind of reverse racism that exists here. The shrimp would be almost non-existent due to the over-fishing that’s been happening. Add some steamed oysters for the ‘what?’ factor and call it a day.

  • Lizzy

    The burger will be so stacked with ingredients, they shall call it the sears/willis tower burger!

  • Cory

    Saddest part of the burgers is they don’t cook the bacon properly at Japanese McDonald’s. I always see slimy pink bacon from the review videos I watch of these burgers.

  • Raymond Chuang

    I’m surprised that KFC’s “Double Down” is still with us considering all the arguments over its nutritional value when it was first announced that went national very quickly.

  • Raymond Chuang

    Interestingly, McDonald’s Japan does make a decent “burger” called the Gurakoro burger (based on a shrimp “korokke” patty), their version of the “korokke pan” commonly sold in Japan. Sold only in the first two weeks of December every year, it’s like to McDonald’s Japan what the McRib to the McDonald’s here in the USA.

  • ‘Merica king

    American’s don’t even have burgers this good, WTF JAPAN!

  • Joseph Watson-MacKay

    Any idea when they might re-release these burgers?
    I tried and loved the Hawaiian and Texas burger when I tried them in 2010. I’d love to try them again if possible.

  • belgand

    It might be lazy, but a California burger is pretty easy: avocado, monterey jack, whole wheat bun and you’re done. It’s just part of the American food lexicon that “California” means “with avocado” just like “Hawaiian” means “with pineapple”.

    Then again I know of a particular SF-based local chain whose “San Francisco” burger is sauteed mushrooms and onions with blue cheese. Which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

  • Tako

    The Southwest Virginia burger would have coal for buns. Inside, one would find a rich array of condiments (including coal dust, crushed coal, and coal chunks) surrounding a big, juicy hunk of 1/3 pounder coal. God, I want one!

  • Gabriel

    I have to stay that the stereotypes are strong though. This is how foreigners think we actually eat in a lot of places. I live in the south and I have to say I rarely see anything like this.

  • Jennifer Richardson

    Oh yeah, I was just joking around, but people definitely don’t all eat like that around here (including me, these days). I live in Austin now, so we’ve got tons of vegetarians and all kinds of different eating styles, and even in my hometown people mostly don’t eat like that anymore. My dad eats like a stereotype because he is a stereotype: he’s an old cattle rancher with old cattle rancher friends who eat and smoke and drink exactly like he does, and they all get together at the beer joint to have heart attacks together in the afternoon. And then once it gets dark, they go spotlighting for something edible to shoot, just as a nice alternative to the dozens of cows they’ve consumed that week. But they’re a dying breed, and I definitely don’t want to give the impression that they’re an accurate representation of all Texans or Southerners.

  • noOneImportant

    I think they havr been making these for about 3 years now. Every burger is out for a week or so iirc. Imho except for the idaho burger, there is nothing worth eating.

    Well the idaho burger is better than that for me. When it comes out I always eat Mcdonalds 5days that week.

    Normally get a big mac once a month and chicken nuggets.

  • diana zarur

    Chicago burger would have everything combined xD

  • Rachel Shook

    I’ve been living in Japan a long, long time now, so I missed this mass of meat from KFC… But if McD makes a Kentucky burger, this is what it will look like. When I tell people I’m from Kentucky, the ONLY response I ever get is, “Kentucky Friedo Chicken!” Never mind that Kentucky bourbon is insanely popular here (and that the Japanese whiskey company Suntory is getting ready to buy Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark for 13.6 billion dollars…)! At least California got wine sauce. (T_T)