Burger King releases new Whopper to ward off evil in Japan Bow down to the Spicy Yakuyoke Whopper, which translates to Spicy Apotropaic Whopper. The Japanese word “yakuyoke“, or “apotropaic” in English, means to “ward off evil” or “protect against misfortune“. Yakuyoke is particularly important at the end of the year in Japan, where temples offer Yakuyoke services for those wanting to yoke (ward off) the yaku (bad luck) they’ve accumulated over the year so they can start the new one afresh. And let’s face it, that sounds like something we could all do with after everything we’ve been through in 2020. Burger King’s Yakuyoke Whopper therefore acts as an edible amulet of sorts, and driving this sentiment home is a new commercial, showing Burger King staff attending a Yakuyoke service at a temple, where a monk chants by a fire filled with wooden prayer boards to imbue the burger with its protective powers. The dramatic commercial also shows that the paper wrapping around the burger resembles a daruma, a round doll that commonly signifies good luck with its traditional red-and-white coloring. A traditional daruma comes with no eyes, as the owner is required to paint one eye on while making a wish for the future. The other eye is painted on once that wish has been fulfilled. The fire from the temple ceremony is recreated in the burger with its flame-grilled beef patty, while the heat comes into play in the special spicy sauce. This sauce contains super spicy garlic flakes made with a spicy flavouring called “Nihon ichi karai ougon ichimi” (“The spiciest golden flavoring in Japan“) by Kyoto’s Gion Ajiko. This spicy powder is said to be ten times hotter than Japan’s Takanotsume Pepper, also known as the Hawk Claw Chilli, due to its talon shape. The new Whopper contains a beef patty with cheese, pickles, onion, tomato, and lettuce. The spicy sauce takes centre stage in the middle, where its hot garlic pieces are clearly visible. Burger King says this sauce is the spiciest ever used in the history of the chain. The evil-fighting garlic is said to be so strong that customers will receive a free Yakuyoke Mint to cleanse the palate after eating the burger. The Spicy Yakuyoke Whopper will only be available for a very limited time, from 25-28 December, priced at 780 yen (US$7.53) on its own or 1,080 yen as part of a set with medium fries and a medium-sized drink.

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