The MOS “Tokyo Tower Cheese Burger”

While MOS Burger is pretty ubiquitous throughout Japan and many of its neighbor countries, it’s more-or-less unknown outside of the region.

That’s a shame, because it’s a good alternative to McDonalds or Burger King.  It has the image of being slightly healthier than the western fast food chains, and it’s got a taste that is a little hard to describe beyond “it’s LIKE a fast food hamburger, but more Japanese”.

I recognize that as not being a helpful descriptor.  I’m not being paid for this, you get what you get as far as analogies go.

Anyway, as I mentioned in a previous post, I had gone to Tokyo Tower and eaten some truly terrifying – if tasty! – pancakes.  While in the act, I’d noticed a sign… this sign, in fact:

JUST LOOK AT IT.  How do you even eat that?  I mean, it must be eaten – that’s a given – but do you pick it up with both hands and let the middle fall out, or do you break it down into several burgers or what?  And why am I not already finding out?

Well, the answer to that last was that I had just eaten way too much pancake.  I needed to find other things to do and then come back for this later.

Roughly four hours later…

Turns out, it comes in a bowl with a knife and fork provided.

I looked at the burger, looked at the shirt I was wearing, and picked up the utensils.

If you ARE daring enough to try to eat this with your hands, you will be well-served by the bun.  It’s actually got some substance to it and was toasted, so it doesn’t disintegrate like your average Japanese fast-food bun.  On the other hand, there’s no center bun – saving a FEW carbs there, good job – so there is going to be a high slippage factor if you try picking this one up.

There are also two burger patties, both seeming just a little bigger than your average McDonald’s burger patty.  Not quite quarter-pounder size, mind you, or Royale With Cheese if you want to get all Pulp Fiction, but you get a good amount of beef for your Y960 (about nine bucks).

That was expected, and the lettuce and nicely-thick slice of tomato were likewise unsurprising, if fresher than I’d normally expect from fast food.  Cheese, sure – it says “Cheese” right in the name and it’s fairly visible on the poster.

Then I got to the Canadian Bacon, and the two onion rings, and the diced onions, and the honest-to-god CHILI, and I knew that I had found Burger Nirvana, which come to think of it is probably the name of an actual hamburger place somewhere.  Wherever you are, Burger Nirvana of this world, you pale in comparison to the ideological CONCEPT of a blissful paradise of burgerness, and though I am sure you are very nice people you should probably just pack it in.

Did that get weird?


It was the best burger I’ve ever had in Japan, and the best fast food burger I’ve had anywhere.


Granted, “best burger I’ve ever had in Japan” is a very low bar to step over, but I have eaten many fast food burgers in many countries, and this one has set a new high mark.

So.  If you happen to be in Tokyo, and are not yet sick of Tokyo Tower, just go eat one of these.

You can probably skip the fries.

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