After an entire week’s worth of anticipation, I finally got my hands and mouth on Burger King Japan’s newest menu addition, the Kuro Burger!
It’s not the first time BK has put the Kuro Burger (which translates into “black burger”) on its menu (it’s a promotional “limited time offer” thing, like the McRib, but in Japan). And people love to write about it because the burger itself is entirely black with exception of the beef patty, which is broiled so there’s at least some blackness happening. It went viral in the US last week, and was available in Japan on September 19.
Customers are offered two options: Kuro Pearl and Kuro Diamond. Kuro Pearl is the perfect choice for the minimalist at heart and comes with a bamboo charcoal bun, beef patty infused with black pepper, black cheese, and a squid ink-based Chaliapin sauce smeared on top. Kuro Diamond is an upgrade from Kuro Pearl, offering the same staple ingredients but adding lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise.
I had my first Kuro Burger in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district and was shocked that lines weren’t out the door. To be fair, it must be difficult to compete against the launch of iPhone 6. Preferring to keep my inaugural experience as purist as possible, I opted for the Kuro Pearl (¥480 which is about $4.50 in the states). I figured this would allow me to soak up the intensity of the noir-ness without being distracted by the lively green, red, and white hues that are present in the Kuro Diamond version. The burger itself came thoughtfully wrapped in a piece of matte black paper.
I admit that I was nervous about taking the first bite. I was too caught up in trying to cope with my own insecurities and expectations. Would it be spicy? Would it be too squid-y? What exactly is Chaliapin sauce? If happy cheese comes from happy cows, does black cheese come from black cows?
However, as soon as my mouth was full of that Burger King black magic and my taste buds started doing their thing, I instantly knew my life would never be the same. I’m a huge fan girl of squid ink pasta and the addition of the squid ink to a burger served both a functional role in giving the sauce a black appearance while pairing well with the shoyu and onion, which is what the Chaliapin sauce is.
The taste itself is indescribable and there is some really tasty chemistry happening when all those ingredients are being mashed around in my mouth! It’s tangy and a little peppery, and I’m not sure if this is how it’s supposed to taste because I just started eating beef again a few months ago, but believe me, I will eat as much Kuro Burger as I can until the promotion ends in November.
The Kuro Burger was a game changer for me and I’ll never treat a burger the same again. I’d also like to try it with a fried egg on top (loco moco style, you know) but of course I’d have to keep it as authentic as possible and somehow find a way to make the egg black.