What is Hot Lips you ask?
Hot Lips is the name of the newest culinary addition to Aomori City. This provocative burger joint is located just a few doors down from the Circle K convenience store next to Aomori City Hall, on the intersection of the National Route 4 and Yanagimachi-dori. Pretty impressive sign, right? Wait to you see the decor…
If it wasn’t for the Japanese katakana syllabary in the back there, you wouldn’t know that it’s Japan. Even the small details, from the salt and pepper shakers down to the pepsi glasses are all Americana. The only thing I can think of that would make it complete would be large fluffy paper napkins in a polished metallic napkin holder. The black and white floor reminds me of Twin Peaks, and on the walls hang Route 66 road signs, a poster version of Warhol’s Marilyn Triptych, and even a Where’s Waldo poster in the bathroom, all making it a very poignantly American experience, even if Where’s Waldo is originally from the UK… But anyway, how is the food?
It’s good! I could tell that the burgers weren’t exactly 100% American and were more close to the Japanese ideal taste of burgers, which is generally a juicy and much softer texture and less beefy taste than American burgers. If you have never seen a Japanese person make a hamburger, then you should know that they get pretty serious about their burgers, tenderizing the patties with lightning fast speed so that the warmth from the hands of the cook won’t affect the taste of the meat. Anyway, the burgers here come in affordable sets including a drink and a salad or fries. There aren’t too many places in Japan besides major fast food burger chains that have burger buns, so I was surprised to learn that the brother of the owner runs a bakery in Aomori, and makes all the buns for the shop. Besides burgers the menu also has pancakes, some pasta, sides, and Loco Moco, a Hawaiian favorite of mine that I have yet to try.
They also have a salmon and shrimp burger, which was really good, so you can also bring vegetarians. The prices are pretty reasonable, drinks are well priced and they have a good mix of beer and different popular cocktails in Japan and of course, whiskey. I haven’t had a chance to go yet for lunch but they have lunch combos too that look great. Oh, and they are open really late, from 11 am to 3 am! I’m hoping that late night pancakes and burgers will catch on here like in the States. Anyway, if you get a chance, try Hot Lips, a gem that offers a taste of Japan in a taste of America in Aomori.