The Japanese are officially obsessed with burgers (as well as most things American). But like a lot of the food, it's geared towards their own taste. Which doesn't bother me a jot as I happen to like mayonnaise and tuna on pizza. It may seem odd to go to Japan and eat burgers but it does happen to be what they are obsessed with and I of course have to give this a go.
MOS burger (standing for Mountain Ocean Sun) is the second largest burger chain in Tokyo after McDonalds. And despite it's standing, it's hard to find a MOS burger outlet. When I had heard that they had specially designed branches of MOS burger called "MOS burger Green Cafe" Dick Bruna (he of Miffy the bunny fame) designed store I knew I had to visit. So one rainy afternoon we traipsed along to the Ginza cafe. Unfortunately the famous "Takumi Judan" premium "artisan taste" burger with avocado, Tasmanian beef and wasabi for Y1000 isn't available or perhaps I just can't read Japanese well enough (that's quite possible). The burgers are smaller (as is the food generally in Japan) so if you're hungry, you may need 2 to satisfy your appetite.
One thing that they do is at MOS burger is a rice burger where they replace the bun with two patties of rice. I first tried MOS burger many years ago in Singapore and was eager to have a second taste. Unlike other burgers chains, it's a little harder to find a MOS burger outlet and when I read about a Dick Bruna (he of Miffy the bunny fame) designed concept store in Ginza, I know that we have to visit. It's called MOS Green, and is outfitted in a Scandinavian style with of course a lot of green. The cute illustrations are instantly recognisable as Dick Bruna's work when you come upon the store. Service is impeccable although there doesn't appear to be an English menu, the staff translates the relevant items. We order a Spicy beef burger and a teriyaki burger. Disappointingly, there aren't any rice burgers at this branch, just the regular burgers.
Spicy Beef Burger Y380
The spicy beef burger is interesting, with a thick slice of tomato and a slightly spicy sauce, my husband loves this as it tastes so much like a salad. It's very fresh.
Beef burger Y320
The regular burger is also good, there is a good amount of lettuce (unlike Lotteria's piddly pieces) and the patty is tasty. Like a good teriyaki burger with mayonnaise.
Of course we can't leave Japan without trying a rice burger so later we make our way over to Shibuya where we find a regular MOS burger. It's signage is subtle in comparison with the other burger places like the multiple Lotteria and McDonalds in that location. Indeed we count three "Freshness Burger" shops in the one stretch.
Japanese vegetable rice burger Y280
We order the three types of rice burgers available: a Japanese vegetable salad filling Y280, the prawn burger Y300 and the beef teriyaki burger Y350. We get our number and take a seat and they deliver us the burgers within minutes. The Japanese vegetable salad burger is filled with crunchy julienned vegetables and is crunchy and good with the rice patty.
Prawn rice burger Y300
The prawn burger is very seafoodey in aroma but not quite to my taste. If you've ever had a Sea Shanty, and my mother used to buy these for us thinking that we liked them but I didn't, it's a similar taste. It's my husband's favourite though.
Beef Teriyaki rice burger Y350
My favourite is the beef teriyaki burger, with thinly sliced beef and lettuce on the rice patty. It goes perfectly with the rice. What is disappointing about all of them is that the front of the burger has a lot of filling but the back of the burger is empty. This is with all three burgers so we feel a bit jipped by that and wouldn't have expected this to be the case here.
And because no visit to Shibuya is complete without a browse of the Love Hotel district, I leave you with some pictures of what is on offer, should the urge strike you while you are in Tokyo along with a shot of the famous Shibuya crossing.
Not just your ordinary hotel room
Rental of costumes and lotions and creams is also possible!
The famous crazy busy Shibuya crossing (not so many people though)
MOS Burger Ginza Cafe
Ginza ?ine 2-1F, 8-7, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, ?104-0061
TEL : 03-5568-5067
Business hours : Weekdays 09:00 ? 23:00
Sat , Sun 09:00 ? 21:00
Holidays : No Holidays
MOS Burger Shibuya
Dogenzaka Center Bldg. 2-29-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0043
Exit Shibuya station (look for AM PM store)