One night in Tokyo—McDonald’s Ebi Filet-O Burger and 7-Eleven Oden

By Tana Kosiyabong

McDonald's Ebi Filet-O Wrap

I woke up at 9 a.m. to get ready for a two-week trip to Japan and Thailand. After a short morning routine, it was time to say goodbye to my pet parrotlet “Giant.” The poor guy didn’t have a clue that he would be home alone for the next two weeks (except for when a caretaker came by to feed him). Then I dragged my luggage to catch the Canada Line at the Waterfront Station. From there, the train only took 25 minutes to the airport. Thanks Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

The airport wasn’t as busy as I thought. I got through the check-in line in a breeze. Then I stopped at a currency exchange counter to conduct my own experiment. One valuable lesson I learned from this was I would never exchange my money at the YVR airport again. Compared to the exchange rates in Japan and especially Thailand, I pretty much got robbed here in Vancouver. And on top of that, they added $3.50 service charge to the transaction. I paid no such thing in Japan or Thailand. (If you need to exchange money in Vancouver, there are some currency exchange stores downtown that don’t charge service fees. Just ask first.)

“Tokyo, here I come!” I thought to myself as the plane took off. After three movies, two meals, and a couple of naps later, I landed in Tokyo. Unfortunately, I only had 24-hour transit here. After I got out of the immigration, I hopped on a Keisei limited express train to Nippori, then switched onto JR Joban Line to Minami Senjyu.

Although the Keisei limited express isn’t as fast as the Skyliner, I really love it. The fare costs much less (¥1,000 vs. ¥1,920) and it only takes 15-20 minutes longer to the destination. More importantly, my idea of traveling is to watch local people go about their lives. Keisei limited express offers a 75-minute-front-row seat to Japanese lifestyles at no extra charge.

Once I got off at Minami Senjyu, I barely recognized the neighbourhood. This area has changed rapidly in the last two years. Right next to the station now stood a McDonald’s. So I stepped inside to check out any menu item I couldn’t get here in Canada. “Ebi Filet-O Burger!” I shouted happily. “Cool, I’ve got to try it.”

McDonald's Ebi Filet-O Unwrapped

The name “Ebi Filet-O,” or perhaps Filet-O-Ebi, is a bit misleading. The shrimp patty is made of small shrimps bound together with eggs and wheat flour, then deep-fried until golden brown. It wasn’t a big piece of shrimp filet. But for the price of ¥320 ($4), I didn’t expect it to be. Despite that, the Ebi Filet-O was a home run. The patty had a crispy panko crust, yet soft inside. The small shrimps were juicy and perfectly cook. The sesame seed bun was soft, though I could live without the iceberg lettuce. The mayo based sauce with finely chopped pickles, similar to Heinz sandwich spread, gave the burger a tangy yet creamy sensation. Dammit, I wish I could had another one.

McDonald’s Ebi Filet-O Inside

McDonald's Ebi Filet-O Patty

Once I finished the “Ebi Filet-O,” I walked about 15 minutes to the “JuYoh Hotel” to check in. This budget hotel is located on the edge of Taitō-ku, Tokyo (just South of Arakawa). Most of the stores and restaurants in the neighbourhood were closed since 9 p.m. After settled in, I went out to a 7-Eleven store nearby for a bowl of oden. I wasn’t hungry, but I only had 24 hours in Japan. I must eat like there was no tomorrow.

There was an overwhelming number of ingredients in the oden pots. I chose Shirataki (konnyaku) noodles, a big chunk of stewed daikon radish, and hot dog wrapped in fish paste (surimi) for my oden. All the ingredients were put in a small foam cup with dashi broth (possibly made with kelp and dried fish). The whole cup was only ¥255 ($3.19). The price may vary depending on the items you choose for your oden.

The stewed daikon radish was beautifully cooked. It was soft, sweet and savoury. The radish had fully absorbed the flavour of the tasty broth. The hot dog snapped when I sank my teeth in. Its meaty juice dispersed all over my mouth. The surimi was a tad sweet. The Shirataki noodles added interesting chewy texture to the dish. They are also low in calories and high in fibre.

7-11 Oden in Cup

Once the oden had magically disappeared into my body, it was time to work on my 3rd schedule post (Kent’s Kitchen). A couple hours later, I finally finished. My eye lids were as heavy as a pair of 10 lbs dumb bells. I had no choice but turning off the light. Good night my sweet Tokyo.

McDonald’s Ebi Filet-O: ©©©©

7-Eleven Oden: ©©©©

Stay tune for next week story as I desperately searched for a great Cheap Appetite in Tokyo while the time was running out.

BUDGET BREAKDOWN:
Remaining Budget: $332.80
Budget Spent: -$7.19 (4+3.19)
Budget Available: $325.61

NOTE: All food prices in this post are tax included.

©2010 Tana Kosiyabong and CheapAppetite.com™. All rights reserved.

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12 thoughts on “One night in Tokyo—McDonald’s Ebi Filet-O Burger and 7-Eleven Oden

  1. McDonald’s is really something you love to hate.
    A couple days ago, my co-walker bought me a pie from M. Not an apple pie, pineapple pie, blueberry pie…..when I took my first bite, there’s hot white gooey sweet filling stretching out. And you know what that was, it’s S’more pie filled with marshmallow and chocolate. OMG!!!! I remember I had my first pineapple pie in Thailand!
    The Ebi Filet-O seemed to be a very nice surprise!

    1. I didn’t realize that we can get pineapple pie at McDonald’s now. I’ve gotta try it. I had tried their s’more pie once. A bit too sweet for my taste but pretty good otherwise. I love pineapple pie from Thailand. So yummy. The Ebi Filet-O was definitely better than I expected. You may have a chance to try it when you travel to Asia later this year. How exciting!

  2. Oooh, you’re making me so nostalgic for Tokyo again! I remember being quite impressed with some of the McDonald’s stuff in Japan… in fact, I think I may have had that Ebi Filet-O once or twice.

    7-Eleven offers all sorts of great food above and beyond their oden; it’s way better than 7-Eleven here! My favorites were their takoyaki and their onigiri. Lawsons was pretty good too.

    1. I still wish I could have another Ebi Filet-O. It was so yummy. There are a few other items that I hadn’t tried at the Japanese McD.

      You’re right, there are so many things to eat at 7-Eleven. I wish I tried more stuffs than just oden. But the oden was really good, especially the stewed daikon radish. Drool. lol. I’ll make sure I try other stuffs next time I visit Tokyo. Thanks for visiting Cheap Eats 2010.:)

  3. Take me with you!!! I LOVE these posts! I love McDs outside the U.S. =) Did you read the NYTimes article about udon and Tokyo?? Check it out – has some recs! Have fun – can wait until the next installment.

    1. Hey Belinda,
      Thanks for your kind words. I didn’t read the NYTimes article but I wish I did. It would have been much easier for me to find a good restaurant there in a short amount of time I had. But trying to find one without any clue was also fun and exciting. I think you’ll like the next post:)

  4. Hello! I have been waiting for your posts on your trip to Japan and Thailand so thank you for putting them up! Your Filet o Ebi looks out of this world. I would easily eat that up in a heartbeat. It looks so juicy on the inside and crunch on the outside! DARN! Why can’t they sell delicious sandwiches like that here in the u.s! I am sure that plenty of people would order it! As a matter of fact, more people would probably eat at mcdonald’s more if that option were there!

    1. I was definitely impressed with the Ebi Filet-O. It was so yummy. I definitely buy them if they ever sell here. I’m sure it’ll do well here in Vancouver. So, McDonald’s, if you read this, please bring Ebi Filet-O to Canada. Oh wait, and the US. Patty wants it too!

  5. We have those shrimp burgers in here Taiwan now, but I’ve yet to try them….

    Geisha, ODEN is really expensive in Japan. In Taiwan, a cup like that with three items in it would cost about 45NT (12 to 15NT per item), or $1.50. The other day I had an ODEN cup with four items and ramen noodle added to the soup and it still came to under $3.00.

    1. Hey Sam, let me know how you like the shrimp burger once you’ve tried it. Wow, Taiwan oden are cheap! I love oden. I’ve been connecting flight in Taipei airport so many times but never get to see the city. I’d definitely want to visit one day. We have Taiwanese food here too. But probably not as authentic as you can get from there. Still good though. Thanks for visiting 🙂

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