Feb 24, 2010

The Asia Trip: Lotteria - Zeppin Ultimate Cheeseburger

The menu at Lotteria in Japan.

Lotteria is a fast food burger chain that originated in Japan but also has branches in South Korea, China, and Vietnam. It is owned by Lotte, which is a company/brand that I mostly associate with Japanese candy and snacks.  If you look at the picture above, you'll notice a gooey, cheese-covered burger featured quite prominently (with two placements) on the menu. It's called the "Zeppin Ultimate Cheeseburger." Gather round and I will tell you the story of how I was hoodwinked by that picture.

The top of the bun of the Cross section of Lotteria Zeppin Ultimate Cheeseburger.

So the first day that I was in Japan, I passed by a Lotteria and saw that awesome-looking burger and mentioned to my cousin how good it looked, he told me if I want it I should just get one. But I didn't end up getting it for some reason that I forget... What?! It's always time for good food right?! Yeah, I'm disappointed in me too!

Anyway, "Zeppin" is a series of "premium" burgers by Japanese fast food chain Lotteria. The Japanese word "zeppin" is a superlative term meaning "unique" or "superb."  Yes, I looked it up. I only know a couple of choice phrases in Japanese like "thank you" and "shove it up your bum!" Okay, I lied about the second one but then again, I doubt it would be very useful in Japan anyway... They're very polite over there, especially the service employees who you can't tip. Go figure, huh? But back to the burger...

Under the bun of the Lotteria Zeppin Ultimate Cheeseburger.

It wasn't until we came back to Tokyo from Kyoto that I finally tried this sweet-looking burger... I remember it like it was yesterday... We had just finished visiting Sony headquarters. It was a rainy fall day but, oddly, not that cold.  Across the street earlier, we had spotted a Lotteria and I vowed to finally eat the Zeppin Cheeseburger.  At the bottom of a set of winding stairs set beneath the street was the entrance and through a glass door was my burger of promise.

At the counter, I pointed, "One of these!"

"Set?" the service guy replied. I shook my head "no" and placed my money on the counter.

Cross section of Lotteria Zeppin Ultimate Cheeseburger.

In a few short moments, I had my burger! But it was so tiny!

So how was it? It was actually pretty good, if a bit pricey; especially for the size! It's not quite as small as a slider, but it's not bigger by much.  You can get a sense of the size in comparison to my hand above.

On the plus side, there was a fair amount of meat to it. The seasoned somewhat peppery patty was pretty juicy which is all too rare for a well-done fast food burger patty (the patty is double Lotteria's normal burger weight). It also came with two slices of melted, deliciously gooey, natural cheese (they were Gruyere and Cheddar). The bun was a pliant Japanese-soft (which is to say really soft) toasted egg-washed bun. The price tag? 360 yen (~$3.96 US)!

Still, if I found myself back in Japan, I think I'd eat this one again. Maybe with a round slice of bacon. I saw it on the menu!


  1. No bulgogi burger? The Lotteria in Vietnam had them. I didn't try it when I was there though.

  2. interesting to use gruyere on a burger. the cheese looks a little too melted though?

  3. based on the picture on the menu, it's about the size that i'd imagine. i tried lotteria in vietnam also but i don't remember what i ate.

  4. Mmm...have you ever had Mos Burger? That's another popular Japanese burger chain. Good burgers. I highly recommend it the next time you're in Japan.

  5. @edjusted: I had Mos Burger in Taiwan! I didn't see too many in Japan though I think it originated there?

  6. @WC: I don't think I saw a bulgogi burger there though I took a picture of the menu!

  7. Forget the bacon. It's better without it. The double version is good though.


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