Thursday, January 8, 2009

Goya Burger? Where’s the Beef?!!!

Here at Goya Republic we love Goya! From the standard Goya Champuru (stir fried goya) to Goya Juice and everything in-between. We love it for the accent it offers in flavoring for our favorite dishes to its medicinal properties.

However, (comma pregnant pause) we feel protecting the reputation of our namesake important enough to have to comment not only when someone gets it right but, equally important, be honest enough to admit it when someone gets it wrong. Such is the case with the alleged Goya Burger offered at the chain of JEF restaurants found across southern Okinawa.

The JEF chain used to be a part of the A&W chain of restaurants. Years ago a split in management broke away from the parent company to start their own chain of restaurants. To their credit, JEF does some things far better than their former partners. For example, their French fries actually taste like French fries and the portions are usually a little larger than their former partners in crime.

But competition in the burger business is keen. I’m assuming that the upper management decided they needed something to help them stand out from the competition. A&W was the first major chain on Okinawa and was soon followed by the World champion McDonald’s chain. Brands like Mos burger and a brief encounter with the  Wendy’s brand mean the battle for number one in the burger market is still hotly contested.

Other burger chains have come and gone through the years and only a few chains have had the staying power to hang in there. Fortunately for the folks at JEF, they were one of them. With Goya being a favorite of Okinawans, being the first to bring the Goya Burger to market would seem to be one way get a leg up on the competition.

Where they failed in my humble opinion is by not putting any beef into the burger. The thing, for lack of a better word, they are trying to pass off as a burger is appears to be a mixture of tofu and egg with just a few microscopic slices of goya scattered in for flavor. Furthermore the size of the concoction is less than one would expect from a signature offering. For example, McDonalds has its “Big Mac!” Although Burger King is available in mainland Japan, aside from the bases it’s invisible in Okinawa. Wendy’s, before they folded shop in Japan, used to offer their famous double and triple here too.

If any of the folks at JEF are reading this, I would suggest they rethink the concept. A burger means beef or at least some kind of meat in the mix. Heck goat meat would have been better. As for the English speaking folks here on Okinawa, aka American’s, do yourselves a very big favor and pass on the Goya Burger. As much as we love Goya, we’re sad to say that you’ll be sorely disappointed with it.


  1. Researching for this story sounds like you gave it your all. Hope you'll be OK. Thanks for the info on local eateries.

  2. They're just lucky I like Goya. This story is an older one but if I remember correctly, we thought about getting our stomachs pumped out but decided to drown our sorrows in grease with a real burger somewhere else.

  3. Love my goya but, that place made me furious !


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