Visitors in Japan are so excited to try the local foods and drinks, but after a long journey you may be curious about the western options in Japan or to fill your belly for a relatively low price, quick and easy meal — fast food! But if you are not fluent in Japanese, there will be some natural anxiety about going inside a high-speed ordering fast food shop for the first time. Here are the introduction of the top fast-food restaurant chains in Japan and a basic ordering guide for you.
1. Choose the restaurant you want to go
As the world’s biggest fast-food chain, McDonald’s Japan shared a similar menu with the west, except the smaller portion. McDonald’s is pronounced as “makudonarudo” in Japanese, and people try to keep it simple and short so they name it “makku”（マック). Same as other localized McDonald’s, they have seasonal items such as Black Thunder McFlurry and teriyaki-burger.
The most exciting menu for kids — Japan only toy from Happy Meal! You will find all your favourite anime characters.
— マクドナルド (@McDonaldsJapan) June 19, 2020
One of the biggest differences between the KFC back home and the one in Japan perhaps is the fries. You will get regular fries instead of the potato lattice, and you won’t find the KFC Buffalo Fried Wings as well.
One interesting Japanese tradition since the 1970s is the pre-ordering KFC Christmas set menu. Instead of having turkey, the Japanese celebrate by having a bucket of fried chicken with their families and friends.
MOS BURGER is a Japanese fast food shop founded in 1972, and it has expanded to over 1,600 shops worldwide. They have many burgers with Japanese flavours, such as pork cutlet, vegetable mixed tempura, and teriyaki chicken. It is best known for its rice burger, green burger, low allergy menu, and the healthy option to replace the bread bun with layers of lettuce!
Taking its name from its parent company, Lotte Corporation, LOTTERIA has become one of the leading fast-food chains in Japan and Korea. If you are a cheese lover, do not miss out on their excellent cheeseburger and fried cheese fingers. They often have many limited edition burgers and snacks too, such as the extra-large fries and the crazy 4-layered cheeseburger.
Wendy’s First kitchen（ファーストキッチン）
First Kitchen first opened in Tokyo in 1977, and it joined Wendy’s Japan in 2016 to become Wendy’s First Kitchen. They sell not only the regular American burgers but also a vast variety of spaghetti, desserts, floats, and some more unique ones such as pancake burger and Vietnamese drink “Che.”
Founded in 1992, Freshness Burger often advertises itself as “Fresh and Organic.” It looks more like a modern cafe that serves quality burgers, hotdogs, and ciders. Their persistence on premium ingredients is reflected in their choice of patty, bun, and Japanese vegetables such as avocado, asparagus.
— フレッシュネスバーガー【公式】 (@Freshness_1992) January 18, 2020
2. Reading menu in Japanese
Since most of the items on the menu are originated from English, they are usually shown in katakana, which makes it even more difficult for a beginner. But no worries! Take a look at the list of the common food and drink you will find in fast-food restaurants.
|エビカツバーガー||ebikatsu-baga||fried shrimp paste burger|
|オリジナルチキン||orijinaru-chikin||original favoured fried chicken|
|骨なしチキン||honenashi-chikin||boneless fried chicken|
Side and dessert
|フロート||furoto||ice cream float|
|ポテトセット||poteto-setto||fries set meal|
|ドリンクセット||dorinku-setto||drink set meal|
|ランチ||ranchi||lunch set meal|
|チキンセット||chikin-setto||chicken set meal|
|ハッピーセット/キッズセット||happi-setto/ kizzu-setto||happy meal/ kid’s meal|
|ホット・アイス+コーヒー・ティー||hotto/aisu + kohi/ti||hot/iced + coffee/tea|
3. Ordering and making special requests
The sequence is simple — find a seat, order at the counter, take your meal and enjoy at your seat. Here are lists of phrases you may hear or need when ordering food in a fast-food chain.
|こちらでお召し上がりですか？お持ち帰りですか？||Kochirade omeshiagari desuka? Omochikaeridesuka?||Welcome! What would you like to order?|
|ここで食べます/持ち帰りで。||Kokode tabemasu. /Mochikaeri de.||Eating in./ To go (please).|
|これを一つください。||Kore wo hitotsu kudasai.||One of this please.|
|お飲み物はいかがですか？||Onomimono wa ikaga desuka?||Would you like anything to drink?|
|コーヒーをください。||Kohi wo kudasai.||I would like to have a coffee please.|
|コーヒーはホットでよろしいですか？||Kohi wa hotto de yoroshiidesuka?||Do you want your coffee hot?|
|アイスでお願いします。||Aisu de onegaishimasu.||Iced coffee please.|
|セットにされますか？||Setto ni saremasuka?||Would you like to make it a combo/ set meal?|
|はい、セットにします。||Hai, setto ni shimasu.||Yes, please make it a set meal.|
|ご注文は以上でよろしいですか？||Go chumon wa ijo de yoroshi desuka?||Will that be all?|
|１０番でお待ちのお客様。||Juban de omachi no okyaku sama.||Customer who is waiting with a number 10. (Is number 10 here?)|
|お席までお持ちいたします。||Oseki made omochi itashimasu.||We will bring your order to your table.|
|テーブルでお待ち下さい。||Teiburu de omachi kudasai.||Please wait at the table.|
|Japanese (special requests)||Pronunciation||Meaning|
|英語のメニューはありますか？||Eigo no menyu wa arimasu ka?||Do you have an English menu?|
|ドリンクは氷を抜いてお願いします。||Dorinku wa koori wo nuite onegaishimasu.||No ice for the drinks please.|
|玉ねぎを抜きでお願いします||Tamanegi wo nukude onegaishimasu.||No onion please.|
|ソースを抜きでお願いします。||Sosu wo nukide onegaishimasu.||No sauce please.|
|ケチャップをつけてください。||Kecyappu wo tsukedekudasai.||May I have some ketchup?|
|ストロー下さい。||Sutorou kudasai.||May I have a straw?|