Here's What Happened To Wendy's Japan Foie Gras Burger

American fast food restaurants were booming in Japan around 2009, so much so that Wendy's Japan couldn't quite keep up with the competition. Wendy's, the third-largest fast food chain in the U.S. at the time, was forced to close its 71 locations in Japan after 30 years of serving square patties, the tasty Frosty, and baked potatoes. However, Japan only had to wait two years for the Wendy's hiatus to end, and in 2011, it made a full comeback. Of course, it had to have something enticing planned for the big reopening to really "wow" potential customers. The chain came back with a more upscale menu with plenty of new deluxe options to try. Why so extra? According to Los Angeles Times, restaurant analyst Nick Setyan stated, "The 'Americanness' of the brand connotes a higher-end if not elite experience, as opposed to the 'get in, get out' roots in the U.S."

For the chain's relaunch at an Omotesando location in Tokyo, you could order a burger with avocado and wasabi or a grilled chicken sandwich topped with truffle and porcini mushrooms (via Time). Not fancy enough for you? Fast food lovers with more expensive tastes also had the option to shell out $16 to sink their teeth into the priciest item on the menu — the Wendy's foie gras burger. A mouthwatering delicacy to some and a highly controversial topic for others, the truffle and mushroom-filled foie gras burger didn't last long.

Wendy's Japan foie gras burger quietly vanished

If you're familiar with foie gras, then you know that the process used to create this French cuisine specialty is a widely disputed one in the world of culinary ethics. It involves feeding geese multiple times a day with metal feeding rods. "This is done so that they can be force fed large amounts of grains that make the animals' livers more fatty, a process that creates the desired flavor and texture profile of the spread" (via Organic Authority). This practice, seen as cruel and inhumane, has been banned in several countries and has been illegal in California since 2012. Foie gras is still legal in Japan today, but the expensive burger promoted by Wendy's Japan definitely doesn't exist anymore.

Not a lot is known about exactly why the foie gras burger was discontinued, but it "hasn't been spotted" since the fancy Wendy's menu was announced. Though, we do know it didn't take long for it to be stricken from the record. Back in December 2012, PETA came for Wendy's Japan in a callout tweet, condemning the fast food chain for selling the foie gras burger. "We checked earlier this week, and none of our Japanese restaurants have foie gras on the menu," Wendy's responded, meaning the menu item existed for only about a year. In that short time, there were some excited foodies who ventured to Japan to try the foie gras burger for themselves before it disappeared for good.