It seems Japan and China get all the cool burgers. Chains in those countries are willing to introduce oddball menu items and entertaining promotions involving black cheese and superhero branding.
This late-2014 cheeseburger from Burger King Japan not only has a black bun, it also has black cheese. Bamboo charcoal gives the food its Darth Vader-y hue.
Residents of the US finally got a chance to bite a black bun with Burger King's A.1. Halloween Whopper Sandwich. The interior looks pretty normal, consisting of a classic hamburger patty, American cheese, onions tomatoes, mayo and lettuce.
The bun, however, is as black as a demon's soul, though the sprinkle of poppy seeds on top is rather festive. It also has A.1. steak sauce flavor baked into it. Its striking looks make in an oddity on the US fast-food scene.
Burger King Japan wasn't willing to just sit around and coast on the success of its black cheeseburger. It decided to take a trip to Hades with the Aka Samurai Burger featuring a bright-red bun and a slice of similarly colored cheese. Tomato powder gives the cheeseburger its eye-catching color.
The boutique-burger competition got off to a brisk start back in 2012, with the European chain Quick offering "Star Wars"-themed burgers. Hungry sci-fi fans could choose between a "Dark Burger" (poppy-seed bun) or "Jedi Burger" (weird unidentifiable white bits sticking out). Both came with cheese, so at least the Sith and Jedi have something in common.
Weird fast food isn't just about burgers with strange coloration. KFC in the UK got plenty weird with an edible coffee cup made from a cookie wrapped in sugar paper. A layer of white chocolate acted as an insulator to keep the brew hot and prevent the cup from melting away in customers' hands.
McDonald's Hong Kong wasn't going to sit around and let Burger King have all the fun with strange themed burgers. Last year, it introduced a Batman tribute burger called the "Diner Double Beef." With two beef patties, cheese and a fried egg, it's enough to fill up a hungry superhero.
KFC Japan has established itself as the leading fast-food chain for weird promotions. It launched a Twitter contest last year that offered up a fried-chicken keyboard as a prize. Each key has a morsel of fried chicken modeled onto it. The only readable letters are, naturally, "K," "F" and "C." The keyboard was not edible.
The fried-chicken keyboard from KFC Japan soon got a companion in the shape of a very large drumstick. This particular drumstick was actually an iPhone case where the smartphone tucks into the leg-meat area. The impractical case is sure to garner envious stares in public.
Fast-food aficionados in Sweden were treated to a strange fashion show earlier this year when McDonald's introduced a lineup of wearable Big Mac items. The catalog included thermal tops, a raincoat, Wellington boots and bed linens sporting Big Mac prints. The best item on offer was this dog coat, which the dog-model doesn't seem to mind wearing. There was probably a cheeseburger being dangled out of shot.
The world of oddly colored burger buns expanded recently with KFC China's pink chicken sandwich. To be clear, the bun is pink, not the interior of the chicken. It has the ungainly name of "rose cheese roasted chicken leg burger," but it's certainly a looker. If you like your food to appear unnatural, this is a great option. A black-bunned chicken sandwich accompanies the pink-food promotion.