Japan, not known for its over-the-top eating habits, is taking a step toward becoming a true Fast Food Nation. Burger King Japan's new 1,160-calorie 'Meat Monster' is stacked high with two hamburger patties, a chicken breast, two slices of cheese, and three slices of bacon (plus lettuce, tomato, and onion, perhaps as a token nod to health). Of course, the West has provided plenty of inspiration in the past. Here, some of the heavyweight sandwiches that have captured headlines and increased waist sizes in recent years:
1. Hardee's Monster Thickburger
In 2004, Hardee's introduced a cheeseburger that tipped the scales at 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat. The ingredients: Two slabs of Angus beef, four strips of bacon, three slices of cheese, and gobs of mayonnaise on a buttered sesame seed bun. Health advocates attacked the franchise, but Hardee's chief executive Andrew Puzder was defiant. This is "not a burger for tree-huggers," he said. "This is a burger for young hungry guys who want a really big, delicious, juicy, decadent burger."
2. KFC's Double Down
The Double Down, which debuted on KFC's menu in April 2010, consists of two slices of cheese, two slices of bacon, and special sauce — all sandwiched between two fried chicken fillets instead of bread. The sandwich, which has a relatively tame 540 calories, but an incredible 1,380 milligrams of sodium — gained a cult internet following before it even came out, and upon its release, bloggers rushed to sample it. "I seriously think my heart stopped for a second after I ate that," said Joe Golfen at The Arizona Star.
3. Burger King's pizza burger
Last year, Burger King unveiled a 2,520-calorie pizza burger, available for a limited time at its New York "Whopper Bar" restaurant. The pizza burger comes on a 9-inch sesame seed bun cut into six pizza-like slices. The concoction includes four Whopper-sized patties topped with pepperoni, mozzarella, Tuscan pesto, and marinara sauce. "My theory," said Dan Hopper at Best Week Ever, is that after the success of the Double Down, Burger King released this "giant fat ring" simply because it knew that the patent absurdity would get people talking.
4. Oscar's Diner's 40-ounce burger
The owners of Oscar's Diner, an American-themed burger bar in Shropshire, England, created a 2.5-pound, 4,200-calorie hamburger with all the fixings. Its ingredients: two 1-pound beef patties, six strips of bacon, two chicken breasts, two potato waffles, four onion rings, and one tomato. The restaurant paired its sky-high sandwich with fries, coleslaw, and a milkshake, and challenged customers to polish it all off in 45 minutes. Amazingly, one winner managed the feat in seven minutes flat.
5. The Heart Attack Grill's quadruple bypass burger
The Heart Attack Grill in Chandler, Ariz., plays up the unhealthy factor with a wink. The restaurant is hospital-themed, a fake surgeon general's warning urges diners to "go away" if they want to live, and customers who weigh more than 350 pounds eat for free. The "quadruple bypass burger," which consists of four beef patties weighing a total of 2 pounds, three layers of cheese, four bacon strips, and lettuce and tomato, contains an estimated 8,000 calories. If you can manage to finish the whole thing, a waitress (dressed in nurse's garb) will push you back to your car in a wheelchair.
Sources: TIME, Arizona Star, Telegraph, Daily Mail, MSNBC (2), Best Week Ever