I’ve been to the Hida (飛騨) area in Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県／Gifu-ken) twice now, and I highly recommended it. Shirakawa-go (白川郷) and Gero Onsen (下呂温泉) are amazing, and if you’re looking for a place to travel in Japan that’s just a little out of the way, you should check them out. But the best thing about Hida is the Hida beef (飛騨牛/Hida gyuu). This is Hida beef:
Hida beef often comes served in the “hooba miso (朴葉味噌)” style, where slices of beef and tofu are laid on top of miso, which is spread over a kind of leaf (you don’t eat the leaf).
As you can see, the price is a rather steep ¥1,300. As this includes a drink OR a salad OR french fries, it’s not quite a bargain. Still, my husband and I shelled out for two of them.
As I entered my local Lotteria, I saw a sign above the counter proclaiming that the Hida beef burger was “１０食限定 (juushoku gentei/limited to 10 servings).” I was able to take 2 home.
As the box explains, Lotteria is currently in the middle of a campaign where a burger made from a different brand of Japanese beef goes on sale on the 29th of each month (肉の日[niku no hi/meat day]).
Let’s take a look at the Hida beef burger:
Who put this thing together?
Lopsidedness aside, the burger was pretty straightforward. The patty was big and thick, and there was miso sauce on top, and some kind of different sauce on the bottom. There were no vegetables.
The hamburger was a hamburg steak (ハンバーグ), with onions inside it. It was soft and juicy, and really good. The miso was sweet; the bit of bread left after I finished the burger (thanks to the lopsided construction) was soaked in the miso sauce and became a nice dessert. But I don’t know if it was worth ¥1300. Maybe about ¥800 or so. My husband pointed out that hamburg steaks usually contain egg, breadcrumbs, and other ingredients meant to make the patty thick and soft, so we don’t even know how much of this was actually Hida beef.
Like all of Lotteria’s crazy items, it’s something to try just for the sake of trying. I’m thinking of trying the Kobe beef (神戸牛/Kobe gyuu) burger when it comes out in January 2015. But I won’t be eating the Hida beef burger again. I can’t wait to go back to Gifu and eat real Hida beef.