Bradcat’s Japanese Culture Focus… Fast Food

In the UK we’re no strangers to the world of fast food with “Drive-thru” restaurants popping up on practically every corner, and the government constantly trying to push healthy school meals. Not to mention we were statistically the 5th “fattest” county in Europe in 2013. While our meal sizes are smaller in comparison to countries like America (Their small McDonalds meals are equal to our large ones) that doesn’t stop us from indulging ourselves once in a while. 

“Would you like a side of fries with that?”
“Would you like to upgrade to a larger side order?”
“Did you know you can go large for just 30p?”

These are standard questions at any fast food restaurant these days. But what would you say, if your server asked if you’d “like a stone of fries with that?” You’d probably look at them as if they were insane.

Not in Japan…

In Japan, McDonald’s ran a special promotion for a short period of time where you could buy a large portion of fries for just  ¥150 yen (that’s roughly 90p) and kids went crazy for it. Some groups of kids hosted their own “potato parties” spending ¥5500 (£35) on mountains of fries like in the photo above. According to the Twitter commentary which went with the photos, all the fries were consumed. 

More recently Burger King have announced their BiKing promotion. Their play on words is meant to be synonymous with “Viking” with Japanese people obviously pronouncing their V’s as B’s. In this promotion the company are offering all you can eat Whopper burgers. All you have to do is consume your burger, go back to the counter with your empty wrapper, and they’ll give you a new one! Obviously there are rules to stop cheaters. You’re not allowed to palm the Whoppers into your bag, or have your friend help you eat, anyone caught doing this will be refused service. Oh, there is also a 30 minute time limit, so think again if you planned on eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the BK lounge.

On a slightly more serious note, Japan is the world’s second biggest economy but it struggles to produce enough food. The government says only 39% of the food the Japanese need is grown in Japan. In contrast Britain produces 70% of the food its population needs and France more than 120%. With over 128 million people in Japan, it ranks 124th in the world in terms of food security, and as the global population continues to grow there is more competition for resources. Which begs the question, are these over the top promotions wise?

What’s the craziest fast food you’ve experienced? Let me know in the comments below!

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