Gastronomicon: Burger King's new Whopper blackens Halloween's name

Your friend arrives to your Halloween party. His costume is clearly just a cheap mask he had in his closet. Are you happy? Do you wish he tried harder? Or do you just let it go, knowing that he could have shown up in something significantly more offensive and/or racist?

The Halloween Whopper from Burger King is that guy, if that guy was put together from spare parts by a PR-obsessed bioengineer with an eye for synergizing branding opportunities.

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s just a Whopper with a black bun. Junk food junkies may recognize this as a less threatening version of the Kuro Burger, the Japanese Burger King’s sandwich that’s completely black, cheese and all. The Kuro is dyed with squid ink, but apparently the American market is too cowardly for that and needs a flavor-based reason for the bun to be black. 

Hence, we get A1 Steak Sauce baked into the bun, which is bullshit and doesn’t even make sense. The rest of the burger is exactly the same as a normal Whopper, with the addition of plain ol’ A1 there to make sure you actually taste the #brand. Rationalizing away strangeness with branding is the only way to make Americans feel at ease, apparently.

I could applaud the fact that they found a way to hit on novelty without offending anybody (unlike Carl’s Jr. and their domestic terrorism burger). I could also be grateful that they brought the black burger to our jealous shores. But I can’t and I won’t, if only for a stubborn despisal of mediocrity. If you’re gonna take a crack at freakishness, you’re gonna have to be a bit weird. 

I can’t help but feel the Burger King of years previous, the home of the horrifying King mascot and the Subservient Chicken, wouldn’t have been so afraid to ratchet up the gonzo with this. At best, this nothing burger tastes like the tension between the franchise’s new, clean image and the nightmares of its past.

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