I am not one who typically eats at a fast food chain while traveling overseas, however, I recently made an exception while I was in Japan this past September. After I had finished work for the week I had spent my Saturday at Arima Onsen and then took the ropeway over Mt. Rokko for a view of Kobe at night. I was tired and hungry, but needed to get something relatively quick since the last shinkansen train back to Nagoya from Shin-Kobe was in less than an hour. I was walking around the Sannomiya Station looking for a place to grab a quick bowl of ramen or donburi when I saw a Burger King. Normally I wouldn't have considered eating there, but I had heard that they were offering a black burger for a limited two month time and it just seemed too strange not to try.
Two black burgers were available to try, the KURO パール (KURO Pearl) the KURO ダイヤモンド (KURO Diamond). The color black in Japanese is written 黒 and pronounced kuro, so the names mean Black Pearl and Black Diamond.
The KURO Pearl featured a hamburger patty with black pepper and a black Shalyapin sauce made from garlic, soy and squid ink. The bun and cheese were also black with the color derived from charcoal bamboo. The KURO Diamond was the same with tomato, lettuce and onion added.
I decided on being a purist and went for the KURO Pearl to avoid any added color from vegetables to my black burger. The meal with fries and a soda set me back ¥750 (about $6.50 US). I chose to pair my burger with melon soda because I felt neon green soda would go well with a black burger.
The burger came packaged in a black wrapper and when I opened it up it looked even less appetizing that the promotional photos Burger King had hanging up throughout the restaurant. I've eaten everything from raw horse to beef intestines in Japan so a little strange coloring wasn't about to deter me and I took a bite.
The bamboo charcoal that was used to blacken the bun and cheese didn't seem to me to really affect the taste. The unique flavor was primarily from the sauce (soy, garlic and squid ink) and the black pepper on the burger patty. Overall it wasn't bad, but I wouldn't say it was really great either. It just tasted like a garlicky, peppery fast food burger.
Overall, it was fun to try it but I wouldn't order it again. Although it wasn't the most amazing dinner the burger did serve its purpose of being a quick meal and I was able to get to Shin-Kobe Station with a little time to spare before the last train.