food

Japanese Shoppers Buying Tomato Juice Like There’s No Tomorrow, Or Like There’s A Fat Tomorrow

Supermarkets all across Japan have been struggling to keep up with demand for that barely-tolerated gritty beverage known as tomato juice.  This is the latest in an ongoing series of food fads many in the country believe to be effective in reducing weight like cabbage and bananas.

At the beginning of February one supermarket in Osaka had a well-stocked shelf of tomato juice daily, most likely catering to the odd person avoiding blood clots or making Bloody Marys.  However, on the weekend of February 10, hordes of shoppers descended on their supply of juice like so many locusts on a farm.  By the 14th, the staff was turning desperate dieters away as new shipments could not reach them in time.
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Ramen Shop Serves Mountains of Meat, Gets Customers and Laughs

There is a ramen shop in Japan that will pile the sliced pork higher than anything you’ve ever seen. It’s name, fittingly enough, is Niku-ya (Butcher Shop), and according to their sign, “We’re not a ramen restaurant, we’re meat specialists.” It definitely seems like they want to emphasize that end of the business rather than the noodles.

While it does look like a ramen shop and their customers are there to order ramen, their main selling point is definitely their meat. It’s said that their pork ramen has the largest portion of roasted pork slices of any shop in Japan! Well, we had to go check that out. Read More

North Korean Gasoline-Baked Clams Taste Great, Could Reinvent BBQ As We Know It

Nothing says North Korean cuisine like gasoline-baked clams. No, seriously. Laying a bed of clams on a gravel pit, dousing them with gasoline from a bottle and lighting them on fire until cooked through is actually something they do in North Korea.

We recently had the chance to speak with a Japanese traveler, who goes by the alias Kuzo, who actually sampled gasoline-baked clams during a trip to North Korea last month.

Kuzo claims that while lighting clams up like fuel-drenched charcoal may not seem like the safest method of preparation, gasoline-baked clams surprisingly carry no trace of gasoline and are rather tasty.

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Steve Jobs Much Better at Marketing than Cooking

It’s well known that former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who passed away on October 5th last year, was a huge fan of Japanese food, and not just high-end sashimi and sushi, either. He reportedly enjoyed more quotidian fare like hearty udon noodles.

He even went so far as to develop his own Japan-inspired menu item for Apple’s company cafeteria, Cafe Mac. But is it really any good? Read More

Puyo Puyo Steamed Meat Buns On Sale Now, Stackable But Not Popable

As the success of last November’s Dragon Quest Slime Manju showed us, steamed meat buns shaped like videogame characters are so hot right now.

Now, Sega has teamed up with Japanese confectioner Imuraya Co. to bring us frumpy pink Puyo Puyo steamed meat buns.

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We Ordered 5 McDonald’s Burgers Without The Buns Because We Can

Since 1999 in America and 2005 in Japan, McDonald’s has employed a production process known as “Made For You” where employees at different stations begin preparing your burger the moment the order goes through the machine.

As opposed to the previous method of pre-cooking hamburgers and then selling them as needed, “Made For You” ensures each order arrives in customers’ hands fresher and hotter.

The method also gives employees more flexibility in responding to special orders, like extra sauce, no pickles or, as we recently tried ourselves, no buns.

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Ramen Shop’s Strangely Persuasive Billboard Brags “Nothing Good Here!”

Wherever you go in the suburbs of Japan, you can bet that there will be a ramen shop along the main road. They usually offer a large parking area and have the run down look of shops that have been in business for years and years. They’re the kind of places long-haul truckers like to stop for a meal and a nap.

One such ramen shop has made news recently when its rather unique billboard was blogged about. In bold, black letters, the sign reads, “There’s nothing good here!”
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Finally, Potato Chips That Make Us Feel Filthy Rich

On 19 January, potato chip maker, Koikeya, announced they will sell a new flavor in their Premium Series line of chips, this time using the flavor of one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles.

Sold at convenience stores across Japan from January 30 to February 6, you too can get a taste of the good life for only around 150 yen (US$2) a bag.

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A Japanese Perspective: American Blueberry-Flavored Cake Looks Like Mold

During a recent trip to Hawaii, I was shopping in the food section at Japanese department store Don Quixote when my attention was caught by a strangely-colored cake.

Now, I don’t know about our American readers, but here in Japan we take the appearance of our food very seriously. Most Japanese are dumbfounded by the unnaturally vibrant colors of some American foods like candies, cereals or cakes covered in brightly colored frosting.

Not many Japanese would find something like this appetizing and I honestly thought it was just a moldy cake that the staff had forgotten to take off the shelves.

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A Fast-Food Joint to Visit Before You Die

First Kitchen is a Japanese fast-food chain that has been rapidly expanding in the Kanto and Kinki areas. Readers in Japan have probably been to a First Kitchen at least once, but did you know that there is a branch with phenomenal views that rival high-end resorts and skyscraper restaurants?
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Discovering the Best Strawberry Shortcake in Japan

Japanese strawberry shortcake is different from the kind usually eaten in the United States in that it’s more like an angel food cake with whipped cream icing and sliced strawberries. Amongst Japanese people, strawberry shortcakes are considered a classic dessert. In Sugamo, Tokyo, is a bakery where it is said that the finest shortcakes in Japan are produced. The French Pound House Bakery is found in a quiet residential district, only a five minute walk from JR Sugamo train station.

Because they have received a lot of media exposure, their strawberry shortcake is still their top selling item. Even though they try to keep up with demand, they often run completely out of sponge cake.

For such a good reputation, I felt that it was necessary to find out for myself.

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Wendy’s Strikes Back In Japan With Foie Gras, Wasabi Avacado. Wendy-chan Spotted Loitering Outside New Store At 4AM

American fast-food chain Wendy’s is back in Japan!

The flagship store opened at midnight on December 27 in Omotesandō, Tokyo, two years after the company had pulled out of the market due to falling profits.

We headed out at 4AM to see the Wendy’s for ourselves and when we arrived, TV stations were preparing their cameras to cover the burger chain’s grand re-opening.

It looks like Wendy’s will have some media coverage to help it get its name out there, but will Japanese customers heed the call?

There was already one person lining up outside by the time we arrived, though we have reason to believe that she may be just a little biased.

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The Fermented Soy Cheesecake Challenge

Natto, for those of you that haven’t been introduced to the smelly, sticky Japanese foodstuff, is fermented soy beans. And if you do know natto, you probably also know that Mito in Ibaraki Prefecture is the place to go for the good stuff. Well, recently a venerable Mito natto company started selling a rather surprising new item: natto cheesecake. That’s right, a cheesecake made from fermented soy beans. Read More

Survey Shows 2 of 3 People Who Enjoy Sweets Get Lucky On Christmas, Morinaga Sells Condensed Milk Love Elixir

So you’re in Japan, it’s almost Christmas, but you still don’t have any plans for Christmas Eve and, as we established in a previous article, we know that can only be because you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend to spend it with.

Well my lonely friends, there’s still luck! A report recently published by Japanese dairy and sweets company Morinaga Milk Industry reveals that 2 out of 3 people who like sweet foods have plans for Christmas.

We want you to think about the implications of this. In Japan, saying you have plans on Christmas is basically an indirect way of saying you’ll be spending a not-so-silent night on the 24. 66% of people who enjoy sweet foods won’t be spending Christmas alone. It can therefore be deduced that people who eat sweet foods regularly have a 66% chance of getting some action at least one night a year.

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Japanese Packed Lunches That Are Hard to Swallow; Edible Batteries and Bathroom Cleansers Enough to Make Andy Warhol Blush

Recently a lot of attention has been directed at Japanese mothers’ painstakingly crafted packed lunches called charabens (character bentos). It’s something of a competition for mothers to send their children off to school with not just the best tasting or healthiest food, but also the most creatively arranged. The BBC ran a feature showing how housewives attend classes to arrange rice, seaweed, and other ingredients into characters ranging from Hello Kitty and Totoro to Michael Jackson and Barack Obama.

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KARA’s Han Seung-yeon Crafts Cute Bunny Wieners

Korean female pop idol group KARA is riding the top of the Korean wave here in Japan.

In particular, member Han Seung-yeon has been growing in popularity recently with the release of the video for the their hit single “STEP,” with many charmed fans lauding her as having the “most adorable baby face in history.”

Now, Seung-yeon, who is also known to be something of a foodie, has uploaded photos of her own home cooking: a sausage dish with the sausages cut to look like adorable little weenie-bunnies.

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Manhattan Japanese Restaurant EAST Serves Unexpected Tear-Jerker

I happened upon a kaiten sushi-ya (conveyor belt sushi restaurant) while on an extended trip to New York, and I was surprised that something other than the hot wasabi brought tears to my eyes.

Japanese Restaurant EAST in Manhattan is a far cry from any Japanese kaiten sushi-ya – this place is as hip as any nightclub in the area. The chef is not Japanese, but his skills are just as good as those of any “genuine” sushi chef. He rolled out perfectly squeezed nigiri sushi and delicious miso soup.

And though I like to get adventurous with the wasabi from time to time, I was not prepared for the rotating item that would move me to tears on this day.

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BREAKING NEWS: Captain Jack Sparrow Now Manages Cake Shop

As I was taking a walk through the city the other day, I encountered a cake shop with a fantastic exterior like something out of a fairy tale. It had a very cheerful ambiance, and on closer inspection, I noticed a remarkable figure. Could it be? Star of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Jack Sparrow, selling pastries? Captain Jack managing a cake shop?
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6 Reasons Disneyland’s Secret Restaurant Club 33 Is Awesome

Did you know that there is a secret, members-only restaurant in Tokyo Disneyland called Club 33? The majority of memberships are corporate accounts, allowing them to do business entertaining there, but there are also individual members. Don’t get your hopes up, though, because they aren’t accepting applications. If you want to get in the door, no matter who you are or how much money you have, you have to be invited by a member.

But what is this mysterious Club 33 actually like? We’ve tracked down someone who was invited to enjoy a luxurious evening there, and according to him, these are the six most amazing things about Club 33.
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Calling All Boozehounds! All You Can Drink for 30 Minutes, Just 299 Yen!

The weekend is almost here! You’re off tomorrow, so how’s about hitting the bars? Come on, you’re probably sitting at your desk right now sneakily checking out your options for a post-work tipple.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking: if you want to drink the good stuff and actually manage a buzz, it’s going to cost a pretty penny. Well, think again. Rocket News has found the best, cheapest nomihoudai in town.
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