So, apparently numerous ’50s and ’60s B-Movies (and one glorious ’80s cartoon) and a popular, genre-defining video game weren’t enough to deter scientists from playing God with plant-life if the growing number of hybrid vegetables available on Japanese store shelves is any proof.

These days, most hybrid vegetables are created over a roughly 10-year period of crossbreeding certain seeds in what we presume is some kind of laboratory setting, although the practice has been alive for centuries – yielding some hybrids that the general public isn’t even aware are hybrids. The Romanesco, for example, is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, and was created in the 16th century. Side note: It’s also probably mind blowing to look at while high.

But the things we’re seeing increasingly often in Japan these days are just plain weird.


Along with the Romanesco, another of the bizarre-looking hybrids recently on the rise in Japanese groceries is broccolini – a cross between broccoli and kale (aka “hipster feed”). Other new vegetables going on sale are purple carrots – which are not genetically altered and are actually more genetically “pure” than the orange ones we’re used to, ice plant, and a broccoli/”Kai-lan” Chinese broccoli hybrid that is called, as far as we can tell, “Stick Señor” in Japanese.


Other new vegetable aisle entries include artichoke, yacon, butternut squash, and orange cherries – generally all staples in other countries but never-before-seen in Japanese grocers.

Aside from the inevitable The Last of Us scenario, the sudden increase in vegetable selection available in Japanese grocery stores is significant given that  the produce section as recently as a few years ago typically consisted almost solely of indigenously-grown fare, which limited the types of dishes one could cook – guaranteeing that restaurants and homes were unlikely to try non-traditional recipes and making homesick expats very, very sad.

Source: Naver Matome
Photos: Feature, Inset 1, Inset 2