food

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

Doing it Wrong: 20 Laughably Bad Chinese Character Cakes

The aesthetic quality of a character cake can be judged by the degree of reluctance felt before cutting into it. Some cakes are so well-crafted that taking a knife to them would be nothing other than desecration of art. Conversely, some cakes are so insultingly terrible that basiac survival instincts would compel most people to take knife in hand and stab them out of their misery.

A series of images recently shared on Chinese Facebook ripoffsocial networking site Renren suggests character cakes in China fall into the latter camp.

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Hatsune Miku Should not be Made Into Yakisoba and Here’s Why

Remember those Hatsune Miku steamed buns? Those were pretty cute, even if they didn’t hold up in the heat too well. But most of the time, the virtual idol’s turquoise/grey color palette doesn’t make for the most appetizing themed dishes. Yakisoba is no exception.

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First of all, let it be known that I like meat.

Chicken, beef, turkey, pork; it’s all good. While I’m by no means shy of vegetables or fish, I love to cook, and there are few meals that I enjoy more than a good chicken curry, a classic beef lasagne, home-made hamburgers, or a nice, simple, piece of medium-rare steak.

But when food comes to me with its face still intact, I’m not so happy.

In the past, a few vegetarians have told me “If you couldn’t bring yourself to kill and prepare meat then you shouldn’t eat it.” Personally, I wouldn’t care to chop down a tree and painstakingly make individual sheets of paper, either, but I’m still happy to use the stuff on a daily basis, but even if it makes me a wimp, or immoral, I’m still happy to eat meat so long as I don’t have to get my hands dirty. So long as there are no eyes looking up at me from the plate, and preferably nothing that screams “I used to be alive, you know!”, I’m happy to tuck in.

So when I came across ITMedia writer Wataru Kato’s first-hand experience of eating a whole, roasted rodent, it was with both a curious mind and a slightly churning stomach that I read on, wondering whether, were I presented with the same dish, I could bring myself to eat it, let alone sit with it staring back at me.

The rodent in question is a specially bred Peruvian guinea pig, quite far removed from the kind of creature you might spot scuttling down a dark alley or up a drain pipe.

Nevertheless, we recommend tackling this particular story after you’ve finished your next meal.

Hold on to your lunch…

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Once upon a time, nobody read RocketNews24 because it was really really bad. RocketRevival is a weekly corner that takes a look at some of our more passable articles from that bygone era that still hold valuable lessons today.

Over the past ten years or so, sushi has become one of the most popular dishes in the world and has mainstreamed the consumption of raw fish in countries that previously wouldn’t think of sticking a fork in a salmon without grilling it first. While some people may still feel apprehensive when trying sushi for the first time, it usually only takes one bite of faith and you’re hooked.

On a trip to Thailand, however, one of our reporters found a seafood dish so raw that even the most sushi-loving Japanese might think twice before sticking it between their chopsticks.

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Cockroaches Ending 2012 Season with a Bang, Stories of our Black Buddies Coming Fast and Furious

As the summer cools back down to a comfortable autumn, the cockroach index has slid to a 1 across much of Japan. But before they go to sleep in many parts of the world, it looks like our little black friends are squirming their way into the headlines to give us something to remember them by.

We’ve all probably heard the tale of Edward Archbold who mysteriously died after winning a cockroach eating contest in the USA.  However, in China, roaches making quite a stir – by getting stirred into the food.

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Nocturnal Ramen Shop in Sapporo, So Yummy That People Line Up For it in the Middle of the Night!

Isonokatsuo is a ramen shop in Suskino, the drinking district of Sapporo, Hokkaido, that opens its shutters around the time the city night life starts revving up into full swing and continues to serve up hot bowls of noodles until 7  o’clock the next morning.

All-night ramen shops are not unheard of in Japan, but Isonokatsuo is known for making ramen so delicious that people line up for it in the middle of the cold Sapporo night. On a recent trip to Hokkaido, one of our reporters decided to burn the midnight chili oil and try out Isonokatsuo for himself.

Check his report below!

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【News Bite】 South Korea Now Imports More Than Half of Its Own National Dish

Stereotypes; you have to love them.

Americans all own guns; every Brit has bad teeth; Asians make bad drivers; Koreans all eat Kimchi.

Usually stereotypes are utter nonsense- none of my American friends have ever held a real gun, let alone own one; a Japanese friend of mine once piloted my car along possibly the narrowest mountain road known to man when I was too freaked out to do it myself; and, as far as I can tell, my teeth are not in need of any urgent dental work.

But with 18kg (40lbs) of kimchi consumed per person in Korea each year, there might just be a grain of truth to that last  stereotype.

So when news broke earlier today that Korea now imports more of its own national dish than it makes, it’s understandable that there were a few raised eyebrows… Read More

Here, Have Some Chocolate Cow Poop Mochi From Hokkaido

About half of the milk in Japan is produced in the beautiful and vast countryside of Hokkaido, the largest of Japan’s 47 prefectures and northernmost of Japan’s four main islands. As such, cows have become a symbol of the prefecture. Walk into any souvenir shop in the prefecture and you’re bound to find a few locally-produced snacks with bovine-inspired packaging.

On a recent trip to Hokkaido, one of our reporters came across one such snack that was a little less run-of-the-mill than your usual butter cookies: “Cow Poop?” chocolate mochi.

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Cut Into the Face of an Angel This Christmas with Fourth Limited Edition Evangelion Cake

Japanese anime production studio Khara wants to make sure you’re excited for the upcoming Evangelion: 3.0 movie and they’re proving their sincerity by serving you the Third Angel Sachiel’s head on a platter.

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Fact or Fiction: Can Washing Wilted Produce in Hot Water Bring it Back to Life?

 Mr. Kazumasa Hirayama, a representative from the Cooking Technology Research Society, claims that washing wilted produce in 50℃ water (122°F) will restore its freshness.  Could it be true?

This magical method is now all the rave in food preparation circles.  The technique was contrived by Mr. Hirayama, who began spreading the word making it a recent hot topic among restaurateurs   According to Mr. Hirayama, its use is not only limited  to fruit and vegetable produce, but also works with a number of other food products as well and can even make food taste better. Read More

Japanese Men Arrested for Murder, Confess to Making Curry From Victim’s Dismembered Remains

After more than three years of searching, Tokyo police thought they had finally gotten a lead on the whereabouts of Kazuyuki Kobayashi, a male restaurant owner who suddenly went missing in May 2009, when an investigation led them to three men who were said to be acquainted with Kobayashi before his disappearance.

The men, who had been arrested on separate charges of fraud earlier this year, were brought to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department for questioning on Sept. 27 and were immediately suspected of murder after it was found that Kobayashi has come to them demanding the repayment of an unspecified amount of money he had lent them earlier.

The case then took an even more gruesome turn when, on October 1, two of the suspects confessed that they had stewed the pulverized remains of Kobayashi in a pot of curry.

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These Adorable Japanese Curry Dishes are Sure to Curry Your Favor

The curry and rice combo is to Japanese college students what spaghetti is to their American counterparts. It’s cheap, tasty, easy to make, and you can throw in lots of veggies so the next time your mother asks if you’re eating healthy, you can answer “yes” with a clean conscious.

But just because curry is simple to make, that doesn’t mean it has to look simple as well. Below is a collection of quirky Japanese curry arrangements that turn Japan’s go-to meal for the cheap and lazy into (for the most part) adorable platters of art.

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Japanese School Lunch Fail【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!

When I first got to Japan, I made a goal to try any food that was offered to me.  Sea snails (freshly cracked out of their shells and still alive), check.  Sea cucumber, check.  Shiokara (fermented salty squid), check.  I’ve encountered some of the grossest edible things I’ve ever seen, but stuck to my goal, tried not to think about the slimy mess in front of me, and ate the new food.

To up the ante on my food challenge, I told myself that I would eat every dish  that was served in kyuushoku (school lunch).  The main reason I took this challenge is that I think it sets a good example for the kids, who are made to sit at the lunch table until they finish every bite of their food.  Usually, completing my goal isn’t a chore at all.  I’ve had some of the most delicious meals I’ve ever encountered in Japan served to me in the lunchroom at school.  But it hasn’t all been easy.  I’m not a fan of shishamo (pregnant smelt fish) which are eaten with head, eyes, tail, bones…everything, intact.  As unappealing as shishamo is to me, I still manage to eat all of them when they are served in the school lunch.

Unfortunately, my undefeated school lunch record has come to an end.

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Japanese Man Faces Criminal Charges for Cooking, Serving His Own Genitals at Private Tokyo Banquet

Some of you internet aficionados may have heard the story of the 22-year-old Japanese man who cooked his own genitals and served them at a dinner party back in May, giving new meaning to the term “self serve.”

It was reported that after the event, local police refused to launch an investigation as nothing had been done that was against the law. However, on September 18, it was revealed that the case had been sent to the Tokyo Public Prosecutors office on suspicion of “public display of offensive sexual materials.”

But they were displayed in private to a group of paying customers… Do we really live in a society where a man cannot freely cut off and saute his own genitals and feed them to the public without risking prosecution!?

For the sake of humanity: yes please.

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Great Tasting Sashimi Dishes For Very Reasonable Prices—in Ginza Nonetheless!

Assorted Sashimi Plate

Itamae Baru, a Japanese food restaurant in Tokyo’s ritzy Ginza district, offers dishes to get excited over!  Why? You can’t find steamed abalone for 500 yen ($6.25 US) or uni pasta with generous amounts of sea urchin for 780 yen ($9.75 US) this tasty anywhere else in the city!

Itame Bare is one of these wonderful up and rising  restaurants where young itamae, or sushi chefs, create Japanese dishes for astonishing low prices! 

We went to Baru for a taste of this amazing fare. Read More

The Cakes at Seoul’s Hello Kitty Cafe Are So Cute, You’ll Feel Bad Mutilating the Face of the World’s Most Beloved Cat

Just about everyone knows Hello Kitty.  The Japanese born cat of Sanrio, with her simple expression and cute little bow, has reached the far corners of the world.  Hello Kitty, known as Kitty-chan in Japan, has made appearances on lunch boxes, debit cards, $5,000 necklaces, electric guitars, and even airplanes.

The expressionless white cat’s overwhelming popularity has spread throughout the world, prompting the creation of the Hello Kitty Cafe franchise in South Korea with locations in Seoul, Incheon, and Sinchon.  One of our reporters, enamored by the cuteness that Japan’s most famous cat exudes, decided to pay a visit to Hello Kitty Cafe’s Seoul location.

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Jewelry You Can Eat! Q-Pot Cafe: The Sweetest Most Adorable Cafe in Tokyo!

Are you familiar with the Q-pot brand of jewelry?  It could get a bit sticky if your tried wearing it on your next night out on the town, but it certainly is attractive, and tasty!

That is because Q-pot Cafe arranges chocolates, cupcakes and macaroons into delightful rings, bracelets, and necklaces!  Never before has there ever been such delectable mouth-watering jewelry, something that is served up in the most appealing manner at the Q-pot cafe. Read More

Eggshell in Your Cake Got You Down?  Try Baking the Entire Cake in an Eggshell Instead!

There’s nothing worse than sitting down to enjoy a big slice of your favorite cake, only to feel the unpleasant crunch of an egg shell between your teeth.  Well, what if your entire cake was baked in an egg shell?

One of our reporters has cleverly devised a way to cook a cake inside an egg!  She’s got a cute idea, but I prefer my cake eggshell-free, no matter where the eggshell ends up.

If you’d like to try your hand at making an egg cake, have a look at her recipe and commentary:

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A Candy Store Variety ‘Cream of Corn Soup’ Flavored Ice Cream Bar Fit for a Fancy Restaurant

If you give a kid a hundred yen to buy a treat on a hot summer’s day, he’ll most likely skip off to the candy store to buy himself a Gari Gari Kun, a very popular ice cream bar sold just about anywhere. It is also the preference of many dark jedi. The standard Gari Gari Kun (gari gari is the sound of ice being crunched or scratched, and kun is an informal address aking to ‘boy’) comes in blue packaging and is cream-soda flavored. When it comes to ice cream bars, why give up a good thing?

Because right now, there is a limited-edition cream of corn soup flavored Gari Gari Kun! Gari Gari Kun comes up with different flavored ice cream bars all the time, though they’re usually a special seasonal flavor, like grape or melon. Although there is no season to cream of corn soup, it would be safe to say that cream of corn soup is a standard ‘soup of the day’ for many fancy European restaurants.

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