Tasty hamburger joints in Japan are quite elusive. As anybody who has made the mistake of typing in the word “hamburger” and their local address into a google map search will vouch (yes, all you get are a bunch of McDonalds), there doesn’t seem to be a particularly easy way to find them. I’ve found that the only way of finding a tasty hamburger joint is by finding a reliable hamburger connoisseur. While my repertoire is still growing, I’ve found that a quick explanation of my culinary heaven at Awajishima Burger (if you haven’t yet, you can read about it here is enough to get any hamburger addict talking. And so it was, while speaking to a fellow Hamburgerer, that I bribed my way into discovering Yokoji Hamburger.
Even Osaka, despite its size, doesn’t have a very large selection of authentic burger joints. As my local informant was reluctant to give up too many details, I was quite keen to check out Yokoji for myself and see how it measured up to Awajishima and the other burger joints in our series so far (#2, #3, #4).
Unless you get claustrophobic, the highlight of any trip to Okinawa has got to be visiting the Churaumi Aquarium (美ら海水族館). How many places in the world are there where you can see two huge whale sharks swimming gracefully in front of you? And what about the manta rays, sting rays, shovel-nose rays and eagle rays that escort them? Or the evil looking schools of giant trevally that would probably taste alright on a hibachi? Every time I visit Okinawa I have to visit there. If my family would let me, I could sit for hours in front of that huge twenty metre wide window gazing into the Kuroshio Sea (黒潮の海). It almost feels like you’re watching a larger than life Sharp Aquos television.
Contrary to popular belief, I believe the best hamburgers are definitely a slow food. Just because McDonald’s made hamburgers into the archetypal fast food, it doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice the concept of a real high quality burger. While it’s rare to find a burger joint that is willing to keep their customers waiting 15 minutes or more after ordering, T’s★Diner (T’s Star Diner) is and is proud of it.
This is part two of our series on Japan’s best burger. Here, you can see the first article, and the “stippy” rating system we use to tell you whether you need to get one of these burgers into you, or whether you should avoid them like a drunk oyaji on the shuden (last train).
Review #2 – Jef Burger, Okinawa:
For some reason whenever I visit Okinawa I find myself expecting to land in a mini-America and see American signs, restaurants, customs, etc all over the place. Then I arrive and remember that the locals have done a pretty good job since 1972 of reversing the American influence gained (if any) during the 27 years of occupation. Naha isn’t really that different from most other marginalized regional cities in Japan. I personally don’t find the beaches there to be all that attractive, so besides visiting the Aquarium, there is only one thing left to do: eat! And If there was one part of American culture that must still be alive and well, I figured it had to be the hamburger. Continue reading The Quest for Japan’s Best Hamburger: Part 2 – Okinawa Jef→
Update: We like hamburgers so much, that we are going to turn this article into a multi-part series called, “The Quest for Japan’s Best Hamburger”.
We will rank some of Japan’s less known, but more tasty (or not!) burger joints. We will rate each one using the following simple system. How good the burger is earns it between zero and three “stippies” as follows:
0 stippies: We’ll never go back to these places, and we’ll let you know why you should avoid them.
1 stippy: A hearty feast but nothing to write home about. You’d choose it over most other restaurants in the area but wouldn’t go out of your way to visit the area just to have a hamburger here.
2 stippies: you can tell that the owner has spent time considering the balance of his hamburgers. Ingredients are procured directly from farms and other small scale suppliers who care about the taste of their product.
3 stippies: ecstasy. You can’t get a 3 stippy ranking without at least one tear of joy being shed by the author.
Review # 1 – Awajishima Burger, Hyogo:
I don’t take my burgers lightly. As a big fan of hardcore burgers and an unforgiving critic of cheap imitations, I am on a seemingly endless search for Japan’s perfect burger for more than a decade. While I’m always hesitant to claim that I have found the Emperor of all burgers (because then I wouldn’t have an excuse to go out eating burgers every weekend!!), I think I have come pretty damn close.