Vendors cash in on Trump mania with premium burgers, chocolate and toilet paper

by

Staff Writer

While foreign products paying homage to new U.S. President Donald Trump are hot items online in Japan, the country’s manufacturers and shops have also developed a range of items of their own — from premium hamburgers to chocolate.

A search for “Donald Trump goods” on Rakuten’s shopping website turns up shirts, watches and toilet paper bearing the image of Trump’s face. Two months ago Donald Trump rubber masks made by a Japanese manufacturer made headlines around the globe.

And now BLT Japan, the Japanese franchise of American steakhouse BLT Steak has been serving customers gourmet Trump Burgers since he was inaugurated last Friday.

BLT Japan spokeswoman Mari Asano said after a BLT Steak outlet opened inside Trump International Hotel in Washington last September “staff at BLT Japan started considering releasing Trump-themed items on the menu if he got elected.”

The price of a Trump Burger is ¥5,800, while more popular burgers sold at the restaurant at lunchtime cost ¥2,300.

“We wanted the hamburger to resemble the U.S. president, and since Mr. Trump is a multimillionaire, we decided to make a luxury hamburger,” said Asano.

She said the price was due to the 150-gram filet mignon patty, a cut of beef taken exclusively from the smaller end of the tenderloin. By comparison, an ordinary patty, for example in a Burger King whopper burger, weighs roughly 113 grams and is from a cheaper cut of meat.

On top of that, other ingredients include 100 grams of foie gras and a line of golden apple compote that, according to Asano, resembles the president’s forelock.

“The color is brownish, but it’s very tasty. Our customers are . . . saying it’s delicious,” she said.

BLT Japan opened three years ago, and now has two restaurants in Tokyo — one in the nightlife district of Roppongi and the other in the upscale Ginza shopping area.

Only three Trump Burgers are available daily, and only during lunch. Reservations must be made a day in advance.

Manufacturers and shops, meanwhile, are also trotting out Trump-themed products ahead of upcoming holidays.

Loft department store chain operator Loft Co., which is holding a Valentine’s Day gift campaign until Feb. 14, said its Shibuya store is selling chocolate that appears to resemble Trump.

The product, Daifugo Choco (Multimillionaire Chocolate), comes in a deck of cards-style box and features the image of a man in a suit with blond hair. It can be found in the “joke chocolate section,” said Loft spokeswoman Koyumi Yokokawa, adding that the store has no plans to stock products directly linked to the president.

“We don’t usually sell products related to (other countries’) presidents,” Yokokawa said.

A spokesman at Yume Pocket, the manufacturer of Daifugo Choco, said the company had also released a chocolate product when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.

The Fukuoka branch of the Mitsukoshi department store chain, which is now selling goods geared toward setsubun (the coming of spring), will sell eho-maki (lucky direction) sushi rolls named President Rolls on Feb. 2 and 3.

Two varieties of the product will be on sale: a blonde roll that uses fried egg to make it look like the president’s hair, and the trump card roll with designs of hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs.

Eho-maki is believed to bring good luck if people eat it facing a designated direction, which is north-northwest this year.

A Mitsukoshi Fukuoka spokeswoman said the store developed the President Roll because “he is in the limelight now,” stressing there is nothing political about the food.

“We are not supporting or criticizing him. We recommend products that capture the trend of the times,” she said.