YOKOSUKA, Kanagawa -- Japan's Shogun Burger shop recently won the country's first qualification round to book a ticket to compete in the burger category at the World Food Championships in Dallas, Texas, in November.
The first-ever preliminary round in Japan ran from July 29 to 31 at Saikaya Department Store Co.'s Yokosuka branch in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. Eight famous hamburger restaurants from across the country competed in making five burgers in 90 minutes, and judges evaluated their workmanship and taste.
Shogun Burger has branches in Toyama, Tokyo and elsewhere. Its entry was praised by judges as "like a course meal" in one burger, and for having "the taste of Japanese cuisine," and was crowned champion.
Teruyuki Nakajima, 35, a Tokyo-based food and beverage consultant and self-proclaimed "unparalleled hamburger lover," negotiated with the international competition's organizers by phone and email to get permission to hold a qualifier in Japan. Nakajima's initiative became a reality in collaboration with the Yokosuka Municipal Government, which has been moving to boost the local economy with gourmet hamburgers, and the Saikaya Department Store.
Nakajima plans to cover the about 3.5-million-yen (approx. $26,000) cost of traveling to Dallas through crowdfunding. "I'd like to see how Japanese hamburgers, which are evolving in a unique way, will be evaluated in America -- the home of burgers," he said. For inquiries including about crowdfunding contributions, contact Nakajima by phone at 090-8303-9077.
(Japanese original by Toshiaki Hashimoto, Yokosuka Local Bureau)