God Burger (ゴッド・バーガー), Hiroshima
As expected, I made a small pilgrimage to Mos Burger in Tokyo. I do enjoy that wafuu tomato sauce-thing they put in the burger. My mom’s spaghetti sauce tasted a little like that. Unfortunately, hamburgers in Japan are dominated by chains, and finding an independent burger outlet could be very difficult. In Hiroshima, there’s a joint right across Yokogawa station called God Burger (I always wondered if they meant god as in God, or “good” with an “o” missing), which is one of those rare independent burger places. If you’ve been to any number of independent burger joints in LA, God Burger reminds me of those. God Burger offers a wide variety for their beef burgers (Hawaiian, teriyaki, ketchup flavored, okonomiyaki style, freshness—with lots of vegetable toppings, and the Royal God burger—the works), as well as alternatives to beef (chicken, pork, fish fillet, shrimp katsu, croquette, crab cream croquette, garlic lamb, hot dogs). Since this was my first outing, I had to get their Royal God burger. The burgers here come in 4 sizes: mini (for kids), regular, double, and jumbo. I got the regular size, which was probably slightly smaller than a McD’s quarter pounder. The patty seemed to be handmade, since it was irregularly oval shaped, and not very flat. The royal burger comes with lettuce, onions, shredded cabbage (I love shredded cabbage in burgers), fried egg, and topped with their teriyaki sauce. There’s verticality to this burger.
I was perplexed with the first bite. What was this sweetness? It wasn’t the teriyaki sauce, but the beef. I’m not sure if they add much to the patty itself, but the beef tasted different from chain burgers and perhaps the American beef I’m used to. Japanese hamburger steaks, for instance, usually contain some caramelized onion, so maybe they add that into their patties. Whatever it was, it was a mellow, slightly sweet, but beefy flavor. It grew on me. I also love fried egg on my burgers. The regular was definitely a little on the small side for me. I could have gone with the double, or another regular, but I refrained to save room for other meals in store for me later. I would definitely come back to God Burger, especially to try other variations on their burger. I’m particularly interested in the okonomiyaki style burger (looks like they fry cabbage with okonomi sauce and top with a fried egg). I couldn’t tell from the photos, but I wondered if they made patties out of ground pork for their pork burgers, or pork fillets. They have an option on their pork burger with goma-dare (sesame sauce) that also intrigued me. And the garlic lamb in a hot dog roll. How interesting is that?
Reading through some of the comments on the English page of Get Hiroshima, I wondered if the people commenting wanted to have the kind of burgers they grew up eating, and were thus disappointed, but the best way to approach God Burger is on its own terms. Is it the greatest burger? Probably not, but they manage to stamp their burgers with a personality all their own, and the results are pretty tasty.