Burger King’s Coal-Colored Concoction

October 8, 2014

burgAs we mention in Chapter 3 of the textbook, culinary tastes can vary wildly all over the globe. Even the largest fast food chains step out of their comfort zones in order to cater to local flavors. For instance, KFC’s menu in China includes a traditional fried duck wrap, while Japan’s Pizza Hut outlets offer squid and sweet mayonnaise as toppings. But even these items pale in comparison to the latest unusual creation presented to Japanese consumers, this time courtesy of Burger King.

After noticing success with black buns and black ketchup in Japan, the chain decided to up the ante and go entirely dark with the Kuro. These pitch-black burgers sport buns and cheese darkened by bamboo charcoal, beef patties packed with black pepper, and an onion and garlic sauce colored with squid ink. Burger King says customers granted a “favorable reception” to its past experiments with black ingredients. The reaction for the Kuro burger, however, went far beyond the item’s Japanese customer base: images of the ashen sandwich went viral as people worldwide took turns insulting BK’s creation.

Although the Kuro disgusted its fair share of Internet users, early reports of the burger’s taste remove a bit of the novelty. “If you can get past the shocking color, it’s not bad,” said Haruka Nuga of the Associated Press. “The black pepper in the patty hits you at the first bite and complements the tangy sauce, with its hint of squid ink.” Other customers have felt let down by the Kuro’s inability to live up to its startling, incinerated exterior. “I’m a little disappointed because to me, it has no special taste or anything,” said Julien Tirode, an event planner from France. For those curious enough to try it, Burger King will be selling the Kuro until November.



  1. Do you expect the “Kuro” to have a long life at Burger King in Japan?
  1. Why are burger chains continuing to introduce new products globally?


Source: Homa Khaleeli, “Burger King Launches Black Burger in Japan—and No, It’s Not Just Burnt,” The Guardian, September 11, 2014; Haruka Nuga, “Taste Test: Burger King’s Kuro Burger,” Associated Press, September 21, 2014. Photo by Burger King Japan.