I hope I’m not blowing your mind by telling you rice is a big deal in Japan. The crop’s been cultivated on the archipelago for thousands of years and plays a central role there economically and socially. And now, after eons, Japanese rice has taken its final form: replacing the iconic McDonald’s sesame bun. In Japan, anyway, and for just a few months. The fast-food chain unveiled its new rice burgers on Twitter this week, and the Japanese McDonald’s fan hive is going more bananas than a Pikachu McFlurry.
The rice buns—called gohan buns in Japan—are made from rice and glazed in soy sauce. They sound, frankly, delicious, and are available in three varieties: rice teriyaki, rice fried chicken, rice bacon lettuce. They’ll be sold for a limited time only, from February to May, and will only be available on the restaurant’s Yoru Mac menu (Night Mac), which is served from 5 p.m. to midnight. (“Workin’ on my rice moves,” etc.) The campaign slogan, “gohen, dekita yo!” translates literally to “the rice is ready,” but is used more broadly as a term meaning “dinner is served.”
Like most international McDonald’s menus, the Japanese franchises have a lineup of sandwiches unique to their country. Those include the Grand Teriyaki Burger (a classic burger with Teriyaki sauce), the Shrimp Filet (a fried shrimp patty with lettuce, tomato and garlic sauce), and Pork and Ginger Burger (exactly what it sounds like). The gohan burgers appear to be the first rice-based sandwiches in recent Japanese McDonald’s history (though it tested them in Taiwan in 2005), causing excitement verging on mayhem for certain social media users.
Look, I’m not saying I just looked up flights to Japan because of the new burgers. But I’m also not not saying it. Cherry blossoms + fried chicken gohan burgers? Domo arigato.