Forewarning: The following post might contain certain unsavory details, especially for those prone to queasy stomach.
Prepare to be shocked. Burger King Japan is whipping up all-black burgers, called Kuro Burgers, made using black buns, midnight black onion and garlic sauce, and even black cheese! Kuro, in Japanese, literally means black and is indeed an appropriate name for these one-of-a-kind badass burgers.
BK Japan is well-known for its inventive, and often bizarre, takes on the classic American favourite. The rightful predecessor of these burgers is the Premium Kuro Burger, comprising of bamboo charcoal-cooked buns and ketchup blackened by squid ink, that created quite a stir back in 2012.
Although many may find such burgers ominous and unappetizing, black food, in general, is quite common in Asia, especially in Japan. That is why, ingredients like squid ink, black bean paste and even black seaweed, feature prominently in Japanese cuisine. Talking about this idiosyncratic behavioral pattern of Asians towards such foods, Eva Hyatt, an expert on indigenous food behaviors and practices, of the Appalachian State University in Boone says:
There are definite cultural differences in color meanings and associations between the U.S. and Japan. Here we associate black with death (unlike the Japanese, who associate white with death) and might think that black food is molded or spoiled (i.e., dead and inedible), or else associated with the flavor licorice.
This time around, Burger King Japan has introduced two exclusive varieties: the Kuro(Black) Pearl and the Kuro(Black) Diamond. The Kuro Pearl comes with buns blackened by bamboo charcoal, beef patties made extra dark by means of copious amounts of black pepper and slathered with squid ink-colored “black ketchup” and finally, cheese slices that look deceptively similar to the processed American kind with the only difference being the color. Here, the cheese too is blackened by bamboo charcoal. The Kuro Diamond is a basic cheeseburger, with black buns, lettuce, onions, tomatoes and mayonnaise.
The craze for black burgers seems to be spreading like wildfire, with chefs and restaurateurs from across the world developing their very own recipes for this bizarre dish. Remember the Star Wars-themed ‘Dark Vador’ burger by the European fast food chain Quick, from last year, or Sydney-based chef Sean Connolly’s black bun “Black Widow” burger, which is a massive crowd-pleaser at The Morrison?
Starting from September 19, the Kuro black burgers will be sold at all Burger King outlets in Japan, for limited time only. So all adventurous eaters, take note!