Friday, July 16, 2010

American Fast Food in Tokyo

First off, don't be alarmed that there is American style fast food in Japan. For every McDonald's, there are a ton of street food vendors and traditional cafes and restaurants.

Two-story McDonald's in a neighborhood shopping area

Local flavor menu. Notice the egg on the hamburgers.

People everywhere love the colonel. In Japan the chicken is sprinkled with goma (sesame seeds).

We had some ice-cream here.  It was darn good!

We couldn't bring ourselves to eat any fast food. It made no sense.  
Because most of buymebarbies relatives still live in Japan, we mostly eat home cooking when there.  Last time there we also ate at a fantastic Russian restaurant,  a Korean BBQ, several Japanese places, and a Chinese restaurant. All were excellent. But nothing topped the home made meals. Not only did it save us a ton of money, it is also nice to live as they do.  The Japanese food you find in American Sushi Restaurants is available everywhere in Japan, but it's not how they eat everyday.

I almost forgot about the pizza! Yes, they have pizza, but it is not quite the same. The crust was identical, but that's where the similarities end. We ordered two of them. One was a squid pizza and the other was a mayonnaise. The squid was pretty good, but by the time I was done with one piece of mayo pizza, I was about ready to lose it all...


  1. Culture shock, which you handled well!

  2. I think I could handle a squid pizza, but a mayo pizza?!!!! AACK!!!

    I wish you had tried the McDoggy burger with egg! I'm curious as to what that might taste like! Egg on a burger? Who knew?!!

  3. I LOVE eggs on my burgers! Seriously.

  4. Blech! Mayo pizza!!! I can hardly handle mayo the way it should be eaten, but when you mix it with greasy crust... no thanks!

    And McDonald's is flexible like that... everywhere that I've ever been. They like to add a local touch to their menu in many cultures. I know in Egypt, they frequently feature sandwiches that are local fare, but with a little Mickey Dee's twist... or they'll add a local favorite to one of their burgers. I guess that's what helps them to stay in business!


  5. hi Pat...I never eat fast food even here so there is not much chance I would partake in another country. plus, it is fun to experience their cuisine. But home-made meals would be the best of course. I wonder if you have ever tried their version of Dunkin' Doughnuts in Japan? I have read an article about them...that they are very different tasting and quite unique and unusual in Japan.

  6. They do eggs on burgers here in NJ too. I always thought it was kinda odd.

  7. Agree with Joe here. Maybe being English it is an English thing! But I'm a veggie and, I love rice dishes.
    I have tried squid once, but it was like chewing elastic bands!

    I love your photo's and the culture that you show us!
    Big hugs!

  8. I'm late to your party Pat.. Do you or did you live in Japan?..
    and Mayo pizza..I would rather eat hay dipped in whiskey...

  9. BD - Thanks! I love most of their culture.

    Marlene - I've had egg on hamburger before, it's pretty good. Japanese mayo is a little more mello than western mayo, but yakkkk!

    Joe - I like eggs on anything!

    Warren - Me too. No mayo pizza though...

    Nevine - I really like mayo, but not to that extreme. I guess Mickey Dee knows how to market, everywhere...

    DrSoosie - I do eat some types of fast food, but I'm very picky about it. I have had their donuts! As a matter of fact, I'll having some on Sunday at a Japanese festival we're going to...

    Ally - Odd but tasty!

    Alice - If your squid was like rubber, it wasn't prepared correctly. Thanks Alice...

    Lynne - I don't and I haven't. BUT, I've been there several times and my wife is Japanese. Most of her family is still there.

  10. Mayo Pizza???? Squid Pizza???? Yuk to both.. I'm not sure I would eat fast food in Japan either...

    My hubby was in China to teach on several occasions --and he ate their food.. But he said NEVER ask what is in it!!!!! ha ha (I probably have told you this before, Pat.)

    Have a good weekend.

  11. Betsy - I promise you, Japanese fast food is really good. They are very picky about what they eat, how fresh it is, and how it's prepared. Even their fast food is yummy!

  12. Oh, Lawd! You lost me with squid and then you topped the loss with mayo! Akkk!

  13. Ms A - That's too bad (about the squid). I take it you are not a sushi or sashimi eater?

  14. Mayo pizza? As in mayonnaise on pizza? No thanks!
    I do love the bicycles outside least they cycle off their burger n fries calories afterwards :-)

  15. Love these photos, and I couldn't eat mayo pizza.
    Thanks for the culture you shared with us.
    I could eat fried squid though.
    B :)

  16. I usually go the street vendor route
    when I am traveling , but I always
    seek the fast food places and
    Starbucks just to photograph..
    okay...while on vacation I doubt
    I have ever just passed a starbucks... gotta have my latte.

  17. Absolutely no sushi for me. I prefer my food cooked. (and any worms and the like, dead)

  18. Mickey D's and all the rest have spread around the world. American fast food is the last thing I want when I am in another country.

  19. Nat - Yup! Mayo....gag! The do ride those bikes everywhere

    Betty - I tried to eat it. I can eat squid anytime...

    faye - Me too, street food is usually great.

    Ms Anthropy - Not all sushi has fish in it! I think it's the idea of it you don't like, most of it doesn't taste fishy at all.

    SQ - I agree, you can eat that at home if you want.

  20. Oh Lord...squid or mayo pizza sound absolutely GROSS. ha

  21. No way on the mayo! Does not even sound like I would want to smell it.

  22. Maybe they should have a warning sign that reads, 'May be bad for your health'!

  23. Wow, a two story McDonald's that serves eggs on their burgers! And squid and mayo pizzas? Think I'd stick with the ice cream! :)

  24. I guess the Japanese characters are a neutral rendering of the pronunciation. In China, they have to give it a new meaning, too - for McDonalds, 麦当劳 (mai dang lao) (Wheat serves as labour)

  25. My daughter has just returned from three weeks in the Far East, and admitted she was so happy to find the odd MacDonald's here and there.. (so much for the cultural experience, eh?)!


  26. I hate to admit it but I've eaten at McDonald's in England,France and Austria. However I do try to stick to the local fare when I travel.

  27. Joan - The squid was very good.

    Chuck - The first bite was pretty good, by the end of the second bite, I was ready to yak...

    Pam - We all should have that!

    Marguerite - That's what we did!

    AB - that is pretty interesting. It seems that their written language is mix of Chinese characters and Kanji. Hard to learn I suspect...

    Shrinky - If I was younger I'd have probably done the same thing.

    James - I suppose they all have a slightly different take on what they serve...

  28. A mayo on anything is unappetizing to me - much less a pizza! To each his own, I guess!

  29. Andrea - I love it on a sandwich or potato salad, but NOT on pizza!

  30. Do they have any Hooters in Japan?

    Mayo pizza? No thanks, I'd rather eat my socks.

  31. PTM - They most definitely have Hooters in Japan. No Hooters restaurants though...

    As to the mayo pizza, I'll eat most anything, and I couldn't even gag down a whole piece...

  32. This is a very interesting article... Don't they have eggs on burgers for breakfast at McDonalds?

  33. Minoccio - Not in the US they don't, unless it's new. In Japan, the eggs are always on them...

  34. The Japanese love for American fast food cracked me up when I lived there, especially because of their twist on it. Pizza with seaweed on it, spaghetti with seaweed on it, burgers with.. Okay, I didn't see that, but it wouldn't surprise me. I didn't really eat in many of these places (I too preferred the traditional style Japanese restaurants, or at the very least something else Asian), but my love affair with Starbucks started in Japan.

    It's been three years since I lived in Japan, but whenever I see a film from there, or read a book or blog post about Japanese culture, I instantly feel like I am back. Thanks for the journey down memory lane :)

  35. Cruella - It'a an amazing and confusing place, that's for sure. It works though...
    Whenever anybody from our family goes to Japan, at least half of the meals taken, are home cooked!
    It's a totally diffferent experience from what the normal tourist sees and eats. I'm a bit envious of your living there...


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