food

Korean Feces Wine is a Real Thing and We’ve Got Two Bottles of it, Contains Cat Bones as Well

Ttongsul, or “feces wine”, is a Korean drink made by pouring soju, a distilled grain alcohol,  into a pit filled with chicken, dog, or human feces, and leaving the mixture in the pit for three to four months until it ferments. It is then extracted from the pit and drank straight, with the belief that it can cure illness and help in the aid of bone fractures.

It sounds like the stuff of urban legends, but Ttongsul is indeed a real beverage that, while by no means popular, can still be found if you know where to look.

How can we be sure? After nearly six months of extensive research, RocketNews24 was able to track down a private Ttongsul vendor in South Korea and procure a bottle of the elusive feces wine ourselves.

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Instant Ramen Maker Sets up Tiny Restaurant in Shibuya Station: Three Dollar Lunch, Anyone?

Japanese food manufacturer Nissin, maker of incredibly popular “like fresh” instant noodle brand Raō, has taken the unusual step of opening a tiny restaurant of its own in Shibuya station, Tokyo. The restaurant opened just yesterday and is situated, of all places, in the very centre of the busy Yamanote line platform.

The miniature restaurant’s menu consists of just two items: two flavours of regular, shop-bought instant ramen, each costing just 250 yen (US$3).

Always eager to try out new food and discover interesting new locations, our intrepid RocketNews24 reporters headed down to see the restaurant for themselves.

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Edible iPhone 5 Case Made From Rice Cracker Protects Your Life but not Your iPhone

On the eve of a large-scale natural disaster, preparedness is everything. Sure smartphones can keep us in contact with the rest of world when traditional communication networks are down, but Twitter won’t help you much when food supplies start running low.

That’s where the “Survival Senbei iPhone 5 Case” comes in. This special case is made entirely from Japanese brown rice and salt, baked into a crispy golden-brown senbei rice cracker that fits snugly around your iPhone 5.

An iPhone that you can eat in times of crisis: this must be the future that Steve Jobs envisioned for the device! You just might want to avoid walking around with it your pocket…

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【Cheapskate News】 McDonald’s Japan Giving Away Free Hamburgers (Again)

Is there no end to the Golden Arches’ generosity?

Just as the restaurant’s french fry offer comes to an end– but not before some teenagers took full advantage– McDonald’s Japan has announced that it’s about to give away free hamburgers.

That’s right- even to degenerates like you and me!

Full details after the jump>>>

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Curry Hamburger: Delicious! Nutritious!! Contains Cesium!!! Our Brave Reporter Investigates

It’s not every day that you hear of a dish whose ingredients include a chemical element.

When most people hear of cesium, they probably think of either high school chemistry class or, if you happened to be glued to the TV during last year’s nuclear disaster in Fukushima, the element’s association with radiation…

So when a restaurant in central Tokyo openly advertising a lunch-time curry featuring a “cesium burger” came to our attention, we had to check it out.

Our brave food reporter Kuzo headed into town to find out whether the rumours were true and, if they were, to see what on earth a meal featuring a potentially hazardous chemical substance could taste like…

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New York’s Famous Restaurant Sarabeth’s Opens a Branch in Shinjuku, May Not Have What it Takes to be Popular in Japan

Sarabeth’s is a popular New York bakery restaurant chain featuring a breakfast menu loved by the locals since 1981, and has become such a huge part of New York food culture that it has influenced movies, TV, and publishing. And now Sarabeth’s has finally arrived in Japan, opening a branch in Shinjuku at the beginning of this month.

Rocketnews24 correspondent/foodie extraordinaire Kuzo went to check it out!

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America! Our Japanese Reporter Approves of Julian Apple Pies, and You Should Too

When travelling to America, most Japanese people usually have one or two “must-eat” foods on their itinerary, the most popular of which are probably hamburger and apple pie.

When our Japanese reporter, Yoshio, visited America last month, he wasted no time in seeking out the former. His haste and curiosity led him to something called the Donut Burger, which, as you might imagine, didn’t go over so well.

Determined not to commit the same mistake with his apple pie, Yoshio had his American acquaintances point him in the direction of the best damn all-American apple pie the country has to offer.

Where did that take him? Check his report below to find out!

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Whole Lotta Fish 【You, Me, And A Tanuki】

You, Me, And a Tanuki is a weekly featured blog run by Michelle, a Californian who is currently one of only two foreigners living in Chibu, a tiny fishing village on one of the Oki islands in Japan. Check back every Saturday for a new post or read more on her website here!

If I ever have a craving for fish, I just have to stand out in front of my house and wait for a fisherman to drive by (which won’t take too long since I live on an island).  Last Monday I was waiting outside with my husband to be picked up for a work party when the taxi driver (who is also a fisherman) drove by.  He stopped his little K-truck and asked if we wanted some fish.  I said yes and he proceeded to fill a plastic grocery bag with around 20 flying fish, 4 long scary looking fish, 3 or so pokey fish, and a weird purple/blue crab (sorry, he said the names in Japanese so quickly that I didn’t manage to remember them all.  Any fish experts, please tell me what they are in the comments section below).

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Ramen Stand Ranks First for Sweets and Oden, Such Mouth Watering Variety (but what about the ramen?)

Ramen stands can be found all over Japan, and Fukuoka prefecture is no exception. But there probably aren’t many ramen stands out there that are popular with the locals for just about everything but ramen. Maruwamae, located in Kokura, Fukuoka, is one such ramen shop.

According to Tabelogu, a local restaurant review site akin to Yelp, ramen shop Maruwama is ranked first in the city for the best sweets and the best oden. In particular, reviews rave that their ohagi and kinako mochi surpass all cake, cookie, and Japanese sweet shops— a reputation that’s sure to have the competition cringing. Their ramen, by the way, is ranked fourth.

First, for those unfamiliar with the dishes, oden is a winter soup dish consisting of a number of ingredients which are anything from octopus, fish cakes, and boiled eggs, to konbu seaweed, daikon radish, and potatoes; all skewered on wooden sticks and simmered in a huge pot of tasty broth and eaten with yellow mustard. Ohagi and kinako mochi, the sweets available at Maruwamae, are sticky mochi rice cakes covered in sweet bean paste and sweetened soybean flour, respectively.

While oden we could understand, it’s a wonder that a ramen stand is ranked first for sweets, which is why we sent resident RocketFoodie Kuzo to see and taste for himself!

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We Made a Big Black BigMac

Aside from their yearly Big America burgers, McDonald’s Japan is usually mild-mannered when it comes to gimmicky burgers. Burger King Japan, however, is the flashy, too-much-making-wearing stepsister of the far more popular McDonald’s. From the Pumpkin Bomb Burger, filled with deep-fried pieces of kabocha to the BK RiNGO Burger filled with grilled slices of apples and cinnamon, BK Japan has produced their fair share of shocking burgers.

Arguably the most shocking burger to grace the “BK Lounge” was the completely black Kuro Burger, released in September.

Since McDonald’s doesn’t have a black version of their signature sandwich, our resident foodie, Kuzo, decided to make his own Black BigMac…a BigBlack if you will.
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Nara Noodle Shop’s Revolutionary and Fun Way to Eat Udon From a Draw String Bag!

As fall turns into winter, Japanese people look to food such as hot noodle dishes as a tasty way to warm up.  Udon noodles, in particular, are great during the winter, and nothing beats slurping up a steaming bowl of udon on a cold day.

We discovered a unique way to eat hot udon noodles at Mentouan, a noodle shop in Nara.  When you order a bowl of udon at Mentouan, you are presented with what appears to be a small pouch floating in broth…but you can’t see the noodles!

Following his report of Kyoto’s gigantic one-noodle udon, our resident foodie Kuzo went to Mentouan to try this “invisible udon” for himself. Read More

Kyoto Noodle House Serves One Big, Long Noodle

Udon is one of Japan’s most well-loved noodles dishes, ranking in line with soba and ramen. Everyone has an opinion over which is the tastiest, but those who like a bit of girth in their noodles will probably go for udon, which are traditionally rolled thicker than other Japanese noodles.

If you really want something to chew on, Tawaraya, an established noodle house in Kyoto, makes udon noodles so thick that only one fits inside the bowl.

Our resident foodie, Kuzo, recently took a train out to the ancient capital to try Tawaraya’s udon for himself. Check out his report below!

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Kids Cause Mayhem at McDonald’s, Challenge Themselves to Eat 60 Servings of Fries in One Sitting

“Suddenly, potatoes!”

Some of you may have already seen the recent internet meme featuring a truck-load of everyone’s favourite starchy vegetable spilled all over the road. But no country is consuming more potato this week than Japan, thanks to McDonald’s latest promotion…

Offering small, medium and large-sized fries for just 150 yen (US$1.90), the fast food chain has seen an influx of people taking advantage of the promotional campaign and filling up for less, no doubt prompting heads of McMarketing to call the offer a huge McCess success.

That is, however, until the end of last week when photos appeared on Twitter showing high school kids buying up 60 large-sized cartons of fries at once in an attempt to eat them all in one sitting…

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Paradise is Lunch at the Foot of a Beautiful Waterfall in a Coconut Plantation in the Philippines

Villa Escudero is a beautiful hacienda-style resort built inside a working coconut plantation located in the Quezon province of the Phillipines. The resort has become a prime tourist destination for both locals and overseas visitors, who are drawn by the cozy rooms, natural beauty, and unique cultural activities such as bamboo rafting and rural village tours.

Perhaps most unique of all is the Waterfalls Restaurant, where guests can enjoy a meal on bamboo dining tables set at the foot of a small waterfall.

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Japanese Convenience Store Pasta Getting Tastier, Sets Guinness World Record

Has anyone living in Japan noticed an upgrade in quality of convenience store food lately? 

One of our Japanese reporters frequents his local convenience stores twice daily and, as an avid fan of their food, tells us that he has been pleasantly surprised by the recent rise in quality of convenience store food.

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Our Japanese Reporter Eats Donut Burger in Search of “Real” American Hamburger, “I never want to eat that again”

Before departing on his trip to the United States, our Japanese reporter Yoshio told us that he was looking forward to eating a real American burger. What that meant to him, apparently, was a 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon patty wedged between two glazed donuts and skewered on a steak knife.

Are you happy now, America? Japan associates you with bacon and glazed donuts. Actually, that sounds about right…

Check out Yoshio’s taste report below!

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Food Fight: We Compare Yoshinoya and Sukiya’s Pricey New Dishes

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Times are tough in Japan, and, as reported here on RocketNews24 earlier this week, the country’s two biggest gyūdon chains, Sukiya and Yoshinoya, are tightening their belts after seeing financial losses in the first half of the tax year.

The restaurants’ response to the decrease in profits? Stop cutting costs, end the focus on dirt-cheap dishes and instead launch new, fancier menus in the hope of enticing new customers and squeezing a few extra yen out of regular patrons.

Both Yoshinoya and Sukiya’s new dishes that are more than twice the price of their regular gyūdon staples, but the restaurants claim that they are a cut above the rest as a result. But will the average salary-man, with just 500 yen per day to spend on lunch, want to pay extra for a fancier menu? And if they do, which dish should they choose?

Armed with a camera and grumbling stomachs, we headed out to both restaurants on two seperate days to try the new dishes for ourselves.

Let the New Gyūdon Wars begin!

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Biryani Restaurant in the Middle of Tokyo Offers a Delightful Taste of Spice with Your Rice, Open One Day a Week

We Japanese love rice; we’re quite obsessed with rice, in fact. We all have our favorite brand of rice, depending on the specific type of rice and the location it was grown (yes, location is very important and can greatly affect the price of the rice), and some people shell out a fortune to buy super-expensive “high-end” brand rice. But not many Japanese people are familiar with biryani, the spicy flavored rice common in India and some Muslim countries as well.

One of our reporters at the Pouch site recently had the chance to taste some excellent biryani right in the middle of Tokyo and shares with us her experience. Her report follows below. Read More

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