Many cultures in Asia have held a special kind of affection for the moon. In the fall, the harvests festivals were also a celebration of the full moon. With the summer mugginess giving way to pleasant clear-skied nights, the time of year is ideal to contemplate the moon.
In Japan, the tradition of giving reverence to the moon during the fall festival has been practiced for over 1,000 years. Offerings are giving that often consist of tsukimi dango (moon-viewing dumplings) and susuki grass. Tsukimi officially begins on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. This date falls in September or October of the solar calender.
So there you have an explanation of the tradition, but what does it have to do with burgers? Simply put, for the Japanese, the egg yolk is often compared to the moon, and as people are very sensitive to the changing seasons, restaurants create eye-catching seasonal dishes featuring the egg yolk.
Bowls of noodle are often adapted into tsukimi dishes. As for burgers, you've probably guessed it, eggs are added as a topping to make it "tsukimi"-style. McDonald's made their own version a couple of years ago and they really became a hit. Ever since then, the fast-food chain has been releasing its tsukimi burgers in the fall.
The Three Kinds
This year marks the 26th year of the first release of the Tsukimi Burger and McDonald's decided to spoil their tsukimi burger lovers with the release of three moon-themed burgers: the classical burger, a cheese version, and a deluxe cheese version.
The classical Tsukimi Burger (340 yen) is topped with a beef patty, smoked bacon, an egg, and a special rich sauce.
There is a slice of cheese added to the Cheese Tsukimi Burger (370 yen).
And the Full Moon Cheese Burger (Mantsuki Cheese Burger; 390 yen) has a different bun and a thicker, juicier slice of belly ham.
We actually went out to try the Full Moon Cheese Burger. We decided to get the deluxe Full Moon one.
First impression: as you can see, the actual burger is not too far from what is shown on the advertisement. I wouldn't say it reminds me of the beauty of the moon but it did look pretty tasty. The bun was quite fluffy and the toppings where pretty generous.
The ratio of egg white to yolk appeared to be pretty high. My hypothesis is that McDonald's adds some egg white to make it in its full shape. It's perfectly round and white so I guess you can say it has some lunar features. As for the taste, it tastes pretty much what it looks like. The bun is slightly sweet and really soft. The sauce was something close to a tangy mayonnaise. Overall the burger reminded me of a breakfast sandwich.
Get them while they last. Only available in the fall at McDonald's in Japan.