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
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.
Grand Canyon Burger
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
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.
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 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
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.
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!
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
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:
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.
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.
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.