Every now and then, we revisit a part of history that some companies would rather be kept swept under the rug. This story comes from the Japanese entrepreneur and self-made billionaire that brought the first McDonald’s to Japan, Den Fujita.
Fujita fell in love with McDonald’s the first time he ate it in 1967 — he was amazed by how popular and efficient the burger chain was. When he saw the opportunity to bring the franchise to Japan, he opened the first Japanese McDonald’s in a Mitsukoshi department store in the Ginza district of Tokyo in 1971. It was an instant success, particularly because of their Japanese-styled Teriyaki McBurger and Chicken Tatsuta.
But perhaps Fujita’s love for the American burger chain extended beyond just the burgers. On his strategy for selling McDonald’s to Japanese people, Fujita is credited as saying:
“The reason Japanese people are so short and have yellow skins is because they have eaten nothing but fish and rice for two thousand years … If we eat McDonald’s hamburgers and potatoes for a thousand years we will become taller, our skin become white, and our hair blonde.”
Does McDonald’s food secretly hold the key to creating a master race? I guess we won’t find out until the year 2971.
It was Fujita’s dream to see 10,000 McDonald’s in Japan by 2010 — as of 2013, there were only 3,164 McDonald’s in Japan, the second most popular country for the fast-food chain after the U.S.
Den Fujita retired in 2003 and died of heart failure in April of 2004 at the age of 78, two days after McDonald’s then-CEO Jim Cantalupo died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 60. It is unknown whether McDonald’s food played a contributing factor in their deaths.
We first explored KFC menu items that can only be found in Asia, but what about the rest of the well-known American fast-food chains? There are so many yummy menu items only found in Asia that you’ll have to explore (and get hungry) for yourself, but below are some of the more interesting ones we found:
Nacho Fries– Wendy’s, Japan
This is definitely not a classic Wendy’s menu item, but who doesn’t love nachos? Wendy’s Japan created the Nacho Fries which consists of classic fries, guacamole, chili, cheese and– for a kick– jalapeños
McRice Burger — McDonald’s, Philippines
In the U.S., we rave over the ramen burger. In the Philippines, they sandwich a chicken or beef patty between two crispy rice patties! Could this inspire us to create the next burger trend in the U.S.?
Dry Pork and Seaweed Donut — Dunkin Donuts, China
If you thought adding bacon to a maple donut was a bit odd, then you might be hesitant to try this sugar glazed donut topped with dry pork and crunchy seaweed. It sounds like it would be too much of a salty overload rather than a sweet treat.
Ebi Shrimp Filet-O — McDonald’s, Japan
If you love shrimp, this is all you. It’s a simple fried shrimp patty paired with thousand island dressing and lettuce between their signature sesame seed bun.
Veg Sammi — Subway, India
If you’re vegetarian and think American fast food doesn’t have enough veggie items, you’re probably right. Subways in India carry a wide array of meat-less options and include ingredients you won’t find in American Subways. For instance, this Veg Sammi consists of a vegetarian kabob made of lentils, garlic and onions.
Green Tea Blizzard — Dairy Queen, Thailand
It’s no secret that McDonald’s Japan has been enthusiastic about collaborating with various anime and character franchises to come up with goodies for children. In the past we’ve seen toys featuring Pokémon and Yokai Watch, as well as Pretty Cure, Super Mario and Transformers, among others, being offered with their Happy Meals, and kids certainly seem to be, well, happy with their Happy Meals, since almost 100 million of these sets are apparently sold in Japan each year.
This month, none other than Doraemon, the time-travelling blue cat robot, makes an appearance as six different Happy Meal toys, and they definitely look ready to delight children across Japan!
The Doraemon toys have just been released from McDonald’s this past Friday, in collaboration with the new movie Doraemon: Nobita’s Space Heroes that is currently being shown in theaters across Japan.
There are three types of toys available at this moment, and a different set of three toys will be offered starting March 20. Some of them feature Doraemon gadgets we know well (and wish we owned), and we can see how these baubles may get kids excited!
▼ These are the three toys currently available: the “Anywhere Door Game”, “Doraemon and the Spinning Burger” and “Look into it! Scope”.
▼ And from March 20, these three will become available: the “Run! UFO”, “Exciting! Space Camera” and the “Memory Bread Drawing Kit”.
Here’s a closer look at each of the items.
▼ The “Anywhere Door Game (Dokodemo Door Game)” is actually a miniature pinball machine in the shape of the Anywhere Door, which has to be one of Doramen’s most popular tools. There’s a different game on each side of the door, so you get two games in one toy.
▼ The “Doraemon and the Spinning Burger (Doraemon to Kurukuru Burger)” features the Burger Director character that appears in the new movie. With this toy, when you place Doraemon and Burger Director close to each other, the Burger Director will start spinning.
▼ This “Look Into it! Scope (Nozoite! Scope)” acts as a periscope, and you can look through the lens from the back of the planet on which Doraemon is sitting.
▼ You can wind up this “Run! UFO (Hashire! UFO)” to propel it forward. What’s neat about this toy is that it can detect and avoid obstacles and also avoid falling off the edge of the table.
▼ This “Exciting! Space Camera (Dokidoki! Space Camera) lets you see four different Doraemon movie scenes by looking through the lens and turning the dial on the side.
▼ The “Memory Bread Drawing Kit (Oekaki Anki Pan)” contains five picture cards that you can copy and trace to create 10 different types of illustrations.
In addition to the toys, the Doraemon Happy Meal comes in three adorable types of boxes, which should also put a smile on kids’ faces.
▼ The boxes all look cute, but we think Dorami-chan in the middle looks particularly charming. The boxes with Doramon’s and Dorami-chan’s face have a bit of a pop-up shape on the top.
Well, we think these toys actually look quite nifty, and we can easily imagine kids who’ve seen the Doraemon movie begging their parents to take them to McDonald’s for the trinkets. Hmmm … we wonder how many parents will be forced to make six trips to McDonald’s for all the items.
The Happy Meals are available at prices between 432 yen (US$3.56) and 504 yen ($4.15) depending on the food item you choose, but we expect the Doraemon toys will go quickly, so if you plan on getting your hands on one – or a few – of them, you may want to get to a McDonald’s sooner rather than later!
The once mighty fast food chain McDonald’s has fallen on hard times in Japan lately, suffering a heavy blow when it become entangled in an expired meat scandal about a year ago.
Although other establishments were also implicated in the problem, the public in Japan seems to be holding an especially big grudge against the golden arches. On 9 March, the company announced that Japanese sales were down 28.7 percent from the same month in the previous year.
In response, McDonald’s Japan is looking to improve its customer service and restore public faith in the company. How? By releasing a new app for smartphones that will allow customers to lodge complaints with more convenience and speed than ever before!
Yes, much like the chain’s machine-like efficiency at serving up burgers and fries, it will now be just as quick and easy to tell them how much you are worried you may have Ebola because of something you read on the internet.
Up until now, McDonald’s has operated a call center for complaints and requests, but it was only open during standard business hours of nine to five. And as we all know, customer rage can strike at any time of the day.
The new app will allow disgruntled customers to deliver piping hot Mc-beefs to the fast food giant 24 hours a day. McDonald’s intends this feature to also allow customers to make suggestions about the direction in which the company should head in the future. This means that they can expect me to be constantly badgering them from the comfort of my bed about bringing back McPizza.
The McMoanin’ application is sure to be great fun for drunks and belligerent RocketNews24 writers alike, but it’s hard to say how well it will fly with the public at large who have been turning their backs on McDonald’s in droves for 13 straight months of poor sales.
When we think of Chinese food in the West, we usually picture boxes of delicious takeout that are perfect for a mid-movie marathon feeding frenzy, and even better for breakfast the next day. Sure, over-consumption might lead to intense MSG-related headaches and general feelings of bloatedness and guilt, but in general we don’t really think of Chinese food as something that’s likely to kill us. But then again, maybe it’s because we don’t import tons of frozen foodstuffs from China like they do in Japan, where fear of Chinese-produced food is an ever-present topic that regularly pops up to scare the beejeezus out of people and ruin their enjoyment of chicken nuggets forever.
But is there anything to fear, or have people just got their knickers in a twist over nothing? Well, a shocking new report claims that up to 48 percent of ALL the food China produces for export contains stuff that’s almost guaranteed to make you sick. Yikes.
According to news reports, a food standards testing company called Asia Inspection carried out a large-scale investigation into Chinese food factories and workshops, with testing conducted at thousands of sites. The results of the investigation claim that 48 percent of all sites tested produce foodstuffs that contain a variety of nasties highly likely to have a detrimental effect on human health. The reports turned up unacceptable amounts of agricultural chemicals including herbicides and pesticides, as well as trace amounts of antibiotics and industrial heavy metals. Bacteria and viruses were also detected. Filthy conditions in the factories were cited as a likely cause of the contamination, along with shoddy packaging and improper food handling procedures.
▼ Personally, we prefer our spam without the salmonella.
Perhaps these reports aren’t too surprising, though – after all, they’re just the latest in a long string of similar such incidents, including contaminated baby formula, poison pet food, and rat meat being served as lamb. A browse through the “food safety incidents in China” page on Wikipedia lists such grotesqueries as “sewage tofu”, “human hair soy sauce”, “goat urine duck meat”, and “gutter oil”.
With the damning report coming so soon after the tainted chicken scandal that has really messed things up for McDonald’s Japan, we’re betting that more and more people in Japan will start to boycott everything Chinese-made – if the handy switch to the “Made in PRC” labels doesn’t manage to fool ‘em first, that is…
Sure, we know we’re not supposed to play with your food, but the temptation can be great when there are gadgets around like the Direct Food Printer that lets you draw and write as you choose directly onto food. But now, for a limited time starting this week, McDonald’s Japan will be offering a new menu item that allows you to draw directly on your food using … chocolate sauce!
It’s the “Oekaki Happy Hotcake” (Draw and Happy Hotcakes) set, and if you think drawing on hotcakes with chocolate sounds like fun, we completely agree! What’s even better, the set can be ordered as part of a Happy Meal that comes with a Pokémon toy — now, what kid can resist that?
The Oekaki Happy Hotcake set comes with a brown and pink “chocolate pen”. The set on its own, which includes two pancakes, the two chocolate pens and syrup, will cost 314 yen (US$3), but it can also be ordered as a Happy Meal as shown in the picture below, with either a cup of corn or french fries and a drink, which will be priced at 530 yen ($5.25).
And in a joint promotion that’s sure to delight kids, there will also be a special Pokémon Happy Meal option available, which will come with one of eight Pokémon toys that feature some of the usual Pokémon characters as well as those from the new feature-length Pokémon film, Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction, which will be premiering in Japan on July 19.
▼These four toys featuring Pikachu, Froakie (Keromatsu in Japanese), Deddene and Yveltal will be available as part of the Pokémon Happy Meal from July 11.
▼And these four featuring Fennekin (Fokko in Japanese), Chespin (Harimaron in Japanese), Diancie and Xerneas will be available starting July 18.
▼The Pokémon Happy Meal will come in a special edition box which has pop up features that can be used like a frame or picture stand. The cute Pokémon illustrations are sure to catch children’s hearts!
Actually, all of this looks fun even if you’re not a kid, especially decorating the hotcakes with chocolate ink! It looks like there’ll be another reason for children to ask their parents to take them to McDonald’s this summer. Both the Oekaki Happy Hotcake Set and Pokémon Happy Meal will be launched on July 11, and the Pokémon Happy Meal will be available for about one month, while the Hotcake Set is scheduled to be served until mid-August.
And yes, we admit we’re wishing we can get a Hotcake Set now and do some serious chocolate doodling … but we guess we’ll have to make do with crayons and paper until July 11!
There’s more bad news for McDonald’s in Japan.
This weekend, a customer found a piece of vinyl in his Chicken McNugget, prompting the chain to issue a nationwide recall of nuggets.
The Guardian reports that the restaurant, located in Misawa northern Japan, alerted the company and an investigation was launched. The problem comes just weeks after McDonald’s Japan issued a nationwide french fry rationing policy following a potato shortage. The chain had just resumed selling larger quantities of fries over the weekend.
Since the discovery of vinyl in the McNugget, McDonald’s Japan has halted of any nuggets produced at the unnamed Thai factory. The offending nugget was also send to McDonald’s Japan headquarters in Tokyo for further inspection.
“We are starting to investigate how this could have happened,” a McDonald’s Japan spokeswoman stated.
McDonald’s Japan has over 3,000 locations that may have been received nuggets from the factory in question.
Over the summer, officials were forced to close down a poultry supplier in China, Shanghai Husi Food Co., after it was discovered that the company was mixing expired meat with fresh produce and shipping products to various retailers including McDonald’s, Burger King and Starbucks across China.
A few weeks ago, we reported that Japan was going through a potato shortage that prevented McDonald’s from selling too many french fries. This was caused by labor contract disputes preventing the frozen potato pieces from arriving from West Coast US ports.
Because of this, Japanese chains limited portions to only small fries. Prices for combos that feature medium fries were reduced because of the smaller servings.
It’s now reported that those disputes have come to an end and the fries are once again available for mass consumption. Effective January 5, Japanese locations of McDonald’s will once again serve medium and large orders of fries to customers.
The company has also apologized for this occurring and promised they will try to avoid further shortfalls in the future.
Currently, McDonald’s has 3,100 locations in Japan. That’s a lot of stores to ration fries between.
McDonald’s Japan may not be able to offer you medium or large-size fries right now, but if you’re into sweets, it may be some consolation that they’ll have some special desserts on the menu for a limited time early next year. Yes, back by popular demand, two flavors of Pie a la Mode will be offered by the hamburger chain, and we’re sure there are fans out there already feeling their mouths water at the thought of a hot apple pie mixed with sweet, cold ice cream!
McDonald’s Japan first came out with the Pie ala Mode in October last year in two flavors: Strawberry and Chocolate. They also released a Maple flavor in March this year, and this time they’ll be bringing back the two flavors which apparently were particularly popular, Chocolate and Maple.
▼Both flavors of the Pie a la Mode involve hot apple pies served on ice-cold soft serve ice cream. This is the “Pie a la Mode Chocolate“, which comes with a tantalizingly dark chocolate sauce poured all over it.
▼And here’s the “Pie a la Mode Maple Flavor“, covered in a golden-brown maple flavored syrup. Mmmm! We don’t know about you, but we’d have a hard time choosing between the two flavors!
The Pie a la Modes will be available at McDonald’s across Japan for a price of 250 yen (US$2.08) per cup starting on January 6 next year, so those of you in Japan will know where to got to if you get tired of the New Year’s osechi food and you want to have something sinfully sweet for a change.