Friday, April 10, 2009
Variety Friday: McDonald's Cheese Katsu Burger
There are a variety of sites which love to point out how horribly bad for you various American dishes are. One of them is "This Is Why You're Fat", but there are also articles on various health sites about the horror of menu items at "family restaurants" (Appleby's, Denny's, etc.) as well as the wide host of fast food joints.
Sites like "This Is Why You're Fat" are full of extreme examples of unusual menu items or concoctions that most people eat infrequently or have never seen or heard of before. The implication, based on the title of the site, is that people are overweight because they eat stuff like this, presumably on a sufficiently regular basis to pile on pounds. While it's entertaining to look at the absurd concoctions, they really have nothing to do why most people are overweight.
The assumption about bad food worldwide is that America is responsible for the worst of it and to whatever extent it has spread, it's all America's fault. This doesn't take into account the fact that it takes two to tango, as it were. American fast food or restaurants offer the food, but locals have to choose to eat it. No one is forcing it down the throats of unsuspecting victims. They're voluntarily consuming foods of suspect nutritional value.
The thing that most people don't realize if they've never been abroad or paid attention to foreign food (a group of people that presumably doesn't include my readers as you're clearly interested in foreign food) is that each country has its own versions of the type of monstrosities that you see in the U.S. This includes huge over-sized food items which look like they're designed for an army to eat. Some restaurants offer 4.5 lb. (about 2 kg.) tonkatsu (fried pork cutlets) meals or parfaits (ice cream layered with fruit, cream and sauce) that are 3 feet (91 cm) high in Japan. These items, like those in the U.S. which are grotesque, are mainly on menus for attention and publicity, but occasionally people buy them and eat them. If you don't believe me, do a YouTube search on scrawny professional glutton "Gal Sone". You'll find her scarfing down some restaurant's freak concoction somewhere and still looking like she weighs all of 90 lbs.
In addition to the oddities, there are also a lot of nutrition bombs which are seasonal or regular fare formulated especially for the market they're being sold in. Enter the McDonald's Cheese Katsu Burger. This is a heavily breaded, fried sliver or two of pork wrapped around a piece of processed cheese and served on a bun with tonkatsu sauce, mayonnaise and a few scraps of lettuce. There's very little with which to recommend this sandwich. It's clearly designed to offer the least amount of protein while still being legally allowed to call it a pork cutlet. It's a relatively small burger and is about 500 calories with a lot of fat.
The fact that this type of "burger" is marketed to suit Japanese tastes shows that Americans aren't the only ones who favor food which is really bad for them. It also shows that American business isn't the only one taking advantage of peoples preference for tasty garbage over healthy cuisine. McDonald's may be a U.S. business, but the Japanese branches and the direction they take are controlled by a Japanese man, Den Fujita. Mr. Fujita is known for running the business as a "one man show" and making decisions and choices according to what he feels will suit the market. So, if you're going to blame anyone for feeding junk like this cheese pork cutlet burger to the Japanese, blame him.