The Japanese burger odyssey took a turn for the worse earlier this week. Following a string of recommendations and coming at the end of a cold day in Kyoto, we ducked into MOS Burger, one of Japan’s most well-loved burger chains.
The results were, frankly, disastrous. Presented with a pallid cheeseburger, evidently cheffed up en microwave, we stared at each other in bewilderment. Could this be the same place given such wholehearted praise by fellow food connoisseurs?
This was lower than a McDonald’s in the burger pecking order and no mistake. Despite having not tasted one of Ronald M’s creations since a particularly boozy night in Sydney four years ago, I would have gladly traded this MOS monstrosity for a Big Mac.
And so we’ve decided to ditch western food for good. Well, until we hit Tokyo again next week. So far, we’ve been utterly vindicated. The Japanese food we’ve eaten since our MOS excursion has been superb.
The highlight was undoubtedly at Okura in the ancient Japanese capital, Nara. Here we ate stunning Okonomiyaki, Japanese-style omelettes cooked at your table.
As you can see above, the portions were not insubstantial. I plumped for kaizoku-yaki, a seafood special. The waitress arrived at the table with a huge bowl of fresh squid, oysters, shrimp, scallops and clams, topped with chopped spring onions. The whole platter sat on top of a countless number of beaten eggs. All the food was swiftly mixed together, before being expertly spread onto our table’s hot plate.
The resulting omelette was one of the most sublime meals I’ve eaten in Japan. At one inch thick and about a foot across, it was an absolute gutbuster, but the shrimp was beautifully cooked, while the soy sauce spread on the dish at the last minute shot the whole thing through with bags of flavour.
Since then, we’ve indulged in well-balanced traditional Japanese breakfasts and gobbled gorgeous noodles under the arches at Osaka JR station. The burger search can wait. And we only have to MOS Burger’s woeful fayre to thank.