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Unwrapped your latest fast food burger only to find it looking a little charred? Worried about the distinct colour of the melted processed cheese? Before you give the counter employee a hard time about sending your meal back to the chef, let us introduce you to the latest culinary concoction making headlines in Japan: Burger King’s Black Burger with Charcoal Cheese.

The distinctly coloured burger — a riff of the Kuro (Black) Burger introduced by the franchise in 2012 to mark its five-year anniversary in Japan — gets its burnt-bun looking colour from black pepper and bamboo charcoal. The bread is then topped with a patty, charcoal cheese (which still looks like the processed cheese slice variety, only black), and a black ketchup made from garlic, onion and a topnotch chef ingredient: squid ink.

Two versions of the upgraded Kuro Burger, one with lettuce and tomatoes and one without, will be released on Sept. 19. Our personal favourite remains the 2012 Kuro Ninja burger that the franchise released. That Kuro bun was topped with a patty, a hash brown, lettuce, mayo, onion-garlic soy sauce and a protruding “tongue” made out of thick bacon.

kuroninja

And you thought black pasta was weird.

By no means are these Kuro Burgers the first to pop up on fast food menus in Asia and Europe. McDonald’s added a Black and White Hamburger Combo to their menu in China two years ago, you can get a fish burger with squid ink in London, and the Dark Vader burger from French chain Quick was released to celebrate Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

The trend hasn’t exactly caught on in Canada, although we hear black bean burgers are quite delicious if you’re looking for a healthy alternative. But then there’s always the tried-and-true Black-and-Blue burger, a char-grilled patty topped with a generous helping of blue cheese.