25 February, 2017

Chicken Taruta (チキンタルタ) - Okinawa, Japan - February 2017

Chicken Taruta (チキンタルタ) - Okinawa, Japan - February 2017
The Wife said the bun looks like it has a tumour.

Consumed on 20 February 2017
Location - McDonald's Kokusai Dori, Naha, Okinawa, Japan
Combo Price - 680JPY = $6.08USD
Calories - 483kcal

McDonald's Kokusai Dori Naha, Okinawa Japan Receipt
My last shaker review will be put to the side for a bit, as it was from Japan, but since I happened to be in Japan all this week, I thought it would be better to post some of the new and interesting items on the menu they are serving right now. There are in fact so many promo items on the menu right now (7 by my count) that I didn't even get to try them all before leaving last night. The first review will be for the new Chicken Taruta (チキンタルタ) a variant of the Chicken Tatsuta which was one of my first reviews on this blog, and a perennial promo burger in Japan.  Although that original review is pretty sparse being back from the early days of the blog with only a single photo, my review a few months later of the, ginger sauced, Chicken Tasuta - 'Wafu Oroshi Edition' has a handful more, including a branded box, which wasn't something I was lucky enough to get with mine this time.

As is usually my luck - no promo box for me!
Where's the bump?
The Chicken Taruta doesn't carry the Tatsuta name over from the original, but it does use the same soft bun I spoke about in my original reviews, (although mine didn't have the tumourous "lump" that the promo photos used) and it also uses the exact same soy sauce marinated fried chicken patty served on top of a bed of cabbage. The Chicken patty itself was identical to all those I've had before, a nice change from the battered and fried Chicken Patties you are usually served. This only has a token bit of batter on top, and is lightly fried.  If I didn't know beforehand it was deep fried, I might have guessed it was pan fried as it wasn't oily at all.  The texture if a bit strange at first, as it doesn't have the crunch of a deeply fried patty, nor the chewiness of a grilled patty, so its slightly springy-but-firm texture always gives me a "huh" on my first bite.  There's nothing inherently wrong with it, it's just not a standard burger patty texture I've come to expect.  

For those wondering, if so many things are the same, what's actually new about this sandwich?  The "Taruta" name is the giveaway here for what was special about this variant, as it was topped with a egg, onion and pickle tartar sauce.  Taruta = Tartar, see it now?

That's a surprisingly generous portion for McDonald's JP
A bit of nice colour on that chicken. A welcome change to a heavy breading.
The tartar sauce wasn't exactly similar to a tartar sauce you'd dip your fish in, but rather far heavier with the egg, as one might expect being Japan. Sure it was cut with an mayo-aioli base, but there was probably half an eggs worth of egg whites mixed in.  The onions were raw, so added a respectable crunch to it, but thankfully the pickles couldn't really be tasted at all, and I usually find pickles far too overpowering.  I'm not completely sure if this was a typical Japanese take on tartar sauce, or if it was something McDonald's Japan tailored for their chicken patty for this specific burger, either way I rather enjoyed it.  

The soy-sauce based marinate has soaked through the patty
The only part about this burger which I didn't really enjoy was the bed of cabbage.  Cabbage is served on the original Tatusta Chicken to offset the saltiness from the soy sauce in the patty, and is a typical bed for many fried foods even outside of McDonald's in Japan. But with the heavy tartar sauce this time around it wasn't really needed.  It could have been because I received a pretty large serving of sauce (much larger than the single scoop of Mashed Potato on the Hokkaido Burger last year) I would have preferred they tried to go for a different veg in place over the cabbage, tomato could have worked, if a bit boring. The Wafu Oroshi edition swapped it out for radish, so there could have been some other Japanese vegetable to give the flavour even more of a twist. One other minor point of interest which I didn't really notice when I ate the burger years ago was the colour of the meat inside the patty. The soy sauce marinate turned the entire patty a semi-dark black colour. It wasn't dark enough to be off-putting, but it was noticeable. 

All in, I enjoyed and finished a complete burger.  If was living in Japan and had to have the Tatusta year after year I might have been a bit more picky, but since it's a completely new Taruta variant on a respectable burger on it's own, it earned itself a solid score.

Rating - 4/5

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