B gourmet

Ultimate Condiment: We Thought We Knew Taberu Rayu, Then We Tried Lao Gan Ma

For the past two years, Japan has been hooked on taberu rayu, an edible version of the rayu chili oil often used in Chinese dishes. Taberu rayu, which literally means “rayu that can be eaten,” is less spicy than regular rayu and packed with a variety of goodies to give it more substance, such as fried garlic chips, fried onion and dried shrimp.

The condiment has become such a sensation that, in 2010, the word “taberu rayu” took 7th place in an annual ranking of the most significant phrases and words which entered the Japanese lexicon that year.

However, legend has it that while Japanese condiment makers were scrambling to jump on the taberu rayu bandwagon, the condiment had long since been perfected in its homeland of China.

When we learned that this legendary Chinese taberu rayu was available for purchase here in Japan, we wasted no time in securing a bottle for ourselves. Read More

Akihabara Restaurant Serves Up Three Squares in One

Many Japanese restaurants serve a “yama-mori,” or “mountain-sized,” serving of rice and other main dishes, but Adachi’s in Akihabara may boast the biggest one in the country.

Adachi’s claim to fame has always been its large portions. The first Adachi’s operated out of the Kanda Market, and its clientele were people who worked in the fruit and vegetable market. They worked up huge appetites by performing manual labor from the early morning hours, and regular portions would not fill their bellies. It was then that the elder Adachi decided to provide huge portions.

The affable younger Adachi told me all about it during my first visit to the restaurant. The restaurant is famous for letting its patrons eat to their hearts’ content, and anyone who has ever dined there knows that the “regular” portion of rice is five to six times larger than normal. Read More

How To Make an iPhone Hamburger

iPhone fans: if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably wondered if there isn’t someway you could enjoy your favorite smartphone in delicious hamburger form.

When I purchased a clear plastic iPhone cover at the 100 yen shop the other day, it hit me that this just might be the key to making that dream a reality.

However, as with many of my other culinary escapades, making a presentable iPhone hamburger was no simple endeavor.

I have recorded the recipe I used below. Feel free to use it as a guide when attempting to perfect your own smartburger. Read More

Pepsi’s New Japan-Exclusive Strawberry Milk Flavored Cola Boasts Of Class, Tastes Like Candy

Pepsi’s new Japan-exclusive strawberry milk flavored soft drink, “Pepsi Pink,” hit supermarket and convenient store shelves on November 8.

According to Pepsi Japan: “Pepsi Pink is a glamorous pink cola drink perfect for the winter party season. Pepsi Pink is defined by a rich strawberry milk aroma and refreshing taste. We jazzed up the package with a pink metallic label featuring a strawberry motif.”

Well book me a suite at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton, it’s Pepsi winter party time!

We made no waste in heading to the convenience store to pick up a bottle and taste Pepsi’s claim for ourselves. Read More

McDonald’s New Korean Barbecue Burger Isn’t Bad, But It’s No Big America

On October 28, McDonald’s Japan showed a little Hallyu love with the launch of its new, limited-time-only Korean Barbeque Burger (KBQ Burger). The KBQ takes a 100% beef patty (guaranteed Australian and New Zealand beef) and tops it with sweet and spicy bulgogi—thin strips of marinated and then barbequed beef— and lays it on a bed of fresh lettuce, melted cheese and a “mildly-spicy sauce” made from gochujang, a fermented red chili paste.

Faithful to RocketNews24 tradition, we made our way to the nearest McDonald’s to see how it tastes. Read More

New York’s Bento Burger Impresses The Japanese

During a recent trip to New York, we heard about a Japan-inspired hamburger restaurant that’s popular with the locals called Bento Burger.

When we say Japan-inspired hamburger, we don’t just mean things like teriyaki sauce or ramen noodle buns (though Kobe Beef and Japanese Hambuugu are available). As the name suggests, Bento Burger arranges its hamburgers on bento box-inspired platters along with a variety of toppings, which customers may dress their burger with or enjoy separately. Read More

Obama Fried Chicken Opens In Beijing

Scholars have long grappled with the question: “Who loves fried chicken more, African-Americans or Chinese people?” African American’s love of fried chicken is said to date back to the 19th century, when chicken was the only livestock slaves were allowed to raise. On the other hand, the Chinese have been frying chicken for centuries and their love for even Western variants on the dish is evident in the skyrocketing popularity of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the country.

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SodaStream Carbonated Beverage Maker Debuts In Japanese Market And Our Office

In Japan, carbonated beverages are a precious resource for many people looking to cool down during the hot and humid summer months. We are constantly making trips to the convenience store, supermarket or nearest vending machine to get a fix of fizzy relief. However, this dependence comes at a price: since most people can’t make these beverages in their own homes, they must pay for plastic bottle after plastic bottle that eventually yield some degree of waste, even if recycled.

Israel-based company SodaStream offers a solution to this problem with its line of household carbonated beverage drink makers, which turn tap water into sparkling water in 3 seconds. This breakthrough machine is already available in 41 countries, with Japan joining the party later this month. Read More

New AKB48 Cafe & Shop Fun Experience For Fans and Non-Fans Alike

It seems like there is no stopping the phenomenon that is Japanese female idol group AKB48. The group’s popularity continues to snowball in both Japan and overseas, they recently launched their own sketch comedy program, and just about everywhere you go you’ll find merchandise labeled with the girls’ smiling faces.

Keeping up with this unrelenting march is AKB’s newest attraction, the AKB48 Café & Shop, which had its grand opening September 29 in Akihabara, Tokyo.

The venue, located right outside the Denikigai Exit of Akihabara Station, is a large, one-floor space that holds a theatre area with regular showings of AKB48 concert videos and a buffet to eat while you watch, a shop stocked with exclusive AKB48 merchandise, a private event room where it is said members will come and visit, and a café.

Customers may enter the café portion without reservation and entrance to the shop is limited to café customers. The theater area and private group room require reservation and cost 2700 yen and 10,000 yen respectively.

On opening day eager fans waited to get in the cafe in a line that didn’t get any smaller even after it turned dark.

To be honest, I only know about AKB48 as the average person. However the café is about much more than just eating and does an excellent job at providing an enjoyable experience – even if you aren’t a die-hard fan. Read More

Attention, gluttons on holiday in Japan: RocketNews24 has compiled a list of five restaurants that feature signature dishes with gut-busting, imagination-defying, comically-oversized portions.

First, some vocabulary to help you enjoy your eating spree. You probably already know to ask for o-mori when you want a large portion of rice and an extra helping of the main dish, but there’s still one level to go: deka-mori.

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Yakiniku Restaurant Offers Free Tongue To Customers Who Tongue

It’s a common business strategy for restaurants and bars to offer discounts or free food and drinks for customers who come in groups or dress up as the opposite gender.

Beijing yakiniku restaurant Yakinikunin (烧肉人) promises customers a little literal tongue for a little metaphorical tongue. Read More

Why do the Japanese love ramen so much? It seems like every week television programs, magazines and websites are ranking and reviewing the countless ramen shops across the country; and every week thousands of people set off to see what all the fuss is about.

Today we’d like to offer you a list of 5 ramen shops in Tokyo (and 1 in Chiba) that we’ve been fussing about. However, instead of ranking the tastiest broth or thickest noodles, this list aims to give our fellow ramen-lovers a few unique recommendations for the next time they’re looking to try something a little different. Read More

Camel Steaks & Gecko Burgers: The Top 5 Rare Meats Available For Purchase On Amazon.co.jp

Fast, convenient and a selection of products large enough to make shopping malls obsolete, Amazon.com is the Mecca for internet shoppers.

The site is particularly useful for purchasing products you may not be able to easily find at local shops, such as rare books, collectibles and a unique variety of butchered animals.

That’s right – while they may not show up on the front page’s daily deals, the internet retailer does offer a hefty selection of rare meats. We’ve searched amazon.jp to see just what we can have shipped to us in that happy brown box and today we’d like to serve you our top 5 choice cuts. Read More

Free Admission – Twelve of Tokyo’s Best Kept Secrets

Expensive Tokyo living got you down? Are you staring another three-day weekend in the face and wondering what havoc it will wreak on your wallet?

There are places to enjoy yourself for free all over Tokyo, if you know where to look. RocketNews24 has sifted through the many options and has come up with 12 suggestions that will not disappoint. Try them next time you have a last-minute date or cobwebs in your billfold! Read More

Timeless Fukuoka Ramen Shop Serves Up Good Memories, Cheap Eats

Part the curtains at the simple storefront of Shoryuken, wrestle the creaky, swollen sliding door open, and step back in time to 1972.

A worn, handmade menu at the Fukuoka City ramen shop advertises ramen bowls for 100 yen, and it is clear that that price has persisted through the restaurant’s 39 years of existence. Read More

Beer. Shochu. All-You-Can-Drink. 299 yen. Yakitori Marukin. Shimbashi. Now.

Tired from a long day at work? No money in your wallet? You’re headed straight for Yoshinoya for a beer the beef bowl and salmon set, aren’t you? That’s about 1,000 yen out of your pocket right there.

Fear not, we’ve found a better way for you to stretch that thinnest of Japanese bills. Yakitori Marukin in Shimbashi offers an all-you-can-drink special you can’t afford to pass up – 30 minutes for 299 yen! Marukin rolls out Kirin Ichiban Shibori as well as “Kuro Kirishima” imo shochu, “Kumeshima no Kumesen” awamori and a host of other popular shochu drinks. It’s possible to get pretty plastered in just one half-hour session. Read More

24 Hour Vending Machine Restaurant Offers Hamburgers And Memories Of The Good ‘Ol Days

It’s no secret that Japan is well endowed with vending machines offering a colorful variety of products. While beverage vending machines are naturally the most common, you may occasionally come across one stocked with hot food products like noodle dishes or hamburgers.

While such vending machines were countless in number during the Show era (1926-1989), they have become remarkably scarce in recent days. When I heard there was such a hamburger vending machine at a drive-in eatery in Saitama prefecture, I didn’t hesitate to hit the road and get a taste of this fading culture. Read More

Our Top 10 International McDonald’s Hamburgers

McDonald’s is one of the most prominent symbols of modern globalization. Yet while it is possible to order a Big Mac in all corners of the world, many travelers seek out the golden arches to see what regional specialties are served in that country.

Throughout my own travels I’ve encountered many a fascinating and exquisite McDonald’s hamburger not available here in Japan. Wishing to share my findings with other potential McTravelers, I have compiled a list of my top 10 regional McDonald’s hamburgers.

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Tokyo Chikara Meshi Takes Beef Bowl to New Level

I finished my “special” beef bowl at Tokyo Chikara Meshi and immediately called for the cook.  I wanted to grab his hand, shake it, and thank him for the absolute best beef bowl I have ever had the pleasure of eating.

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In Nakano Broadway, Giant Soft Serve Ice Cream Eats You!

Tucked away behind a counter on the first basement floor of renowned manga, anime and action figure haven Nakano Broadway is Daily Choco, a simple soft serve ice cream joint.

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