The fast-food chain Taco Bell once urged people to “think outside the bun.” Some unusual thinking must have gone into a Japanese burger chain’s decision to surround its beef patty with the top and bottom half of an extra large tomato.
Mos Burger’s 227-calorie “tomami” burger for the carb-conscious went on sale July 7 in limited quantities from its Osaki shop in Shinagawa from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Perhaps because of its scarcity, the burger didn’t catch on until this week, when Japanese netizens began buzzing about it on Twitter and food blogs after the company put up an official promotion on its website.
The tomami burger came about because Mos Burger, operated by Mos Food Services Inc., wanted to take advantage of extra large tomatoes that were produced this year. “Since the tomatoes were so delicious and large, we thought we should try using it in one of our products,” a Mos Burger spokeswoman told Japan Real Time.
The chain is known for using large tomato slices in its burgers. Its regular burger with traditional buns has 387 calories.
The Osaki store will have only 15 tomami burgers to sell a day until the end of August, the spokeswoman said. One food enthusiast online said the store only had four tomami burgers to sell on Wednesday.
Mos Burger’s “wet burger” soaked in tomato sauce is inspired by Turkish street food. Mos Burger
Mos Burger will also be releasing another tomato-centric menu item in August–a wet burger soaked in tomato sauce inspired by a type of Turkish street food called the islak burger. The burger will be slightly less rare than the tomami: Around 60,000 will be available in Mos Burger shops in Tokyo and nearby Kanagawa prefecture.