food

Giant mushroom will either provide you with months worth of meals, or days worth of psychedelic high

This mushroom spotted in China weighs a whopping 15 kilograms (33 pounds) and measures over a meter in height, baffling scientists and piquing the interest of recreational users of psychoactive substances everywhere.

Apparently, researchers are still unsure as to what type of mushroom this monstrosity is, meaning it has an equal chance of tasting delicious, killing you, or turning you into an enormous, nigh-invincible super version of yourself (if you operate on video game logic, which as we all know is infallible).

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We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

April 25 was a sad day for Japanese ice cream lovers, as that was the day the final Japanese Häagen-Dazs store closed shop. The company had achieved its goal of spreading their packaged ice cream through convenience stores and supermarkets, and, after thirty years, decided that the Japanese locations were no longer necessary.

Many a frozen, delicious tear was shed that day.

But you can stop your crying, at least until September 2, thanks to a collaboration between Häagen-Dazs and j.s. pancake cafe!
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Tokyo Station’s top 5 breakfast spots

As one of Japan’s largest train stations, Tokyo Station is the central hub for many of the JR lines as well as the Shinkansen (bullet train). You can expect some standard grub in most stations, but Tokyo Station has plenty of food places that go beyond the basics. Before setting out on a trip, why not arrive a bit early and enjoy a delicious breakfast before boarding your train? It’s the perfect start to your adventure. Here we introduce five of the best breakfast spots within the station itself.

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We go fishing for scallops 30 seconds after stepping out of Aomori Station

Located on the northern tip of Japan’s main island of Honshu, Aomori Prefecture is known for its great seafood. Aomori scallops are especially prized, and any shellfish fan visiting the area should definitely make time to have a few.

But how can you be sure you’re eating the freshest scallops possible? Easy: catch them yourself. Even if you don’t have the time to venture out onto the open seas, there’s a restaurant right across the street from Aomori Station that lets you do just that.

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Road trip! All-you-can-eat tempura for just 700 yen in Kumamoto Prefecture

Over the last few years, more and more restaurants have been offering what people in Japan call “one coin meals,” costing less than 500 yen (US $5), the highest denomination coin here.

We recently found a restaurant in Kumamoto Prefecture, on the southern island of Kyushu, that just barely misses the cut with its 700 yen tempura set. That extra 200 yen is totally worth it though, because it gets you all-you-can-eat tempura. And when we say all-you-can-eat, we mean that literally; there’s no time limit for how long your meal can last.

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Feeling parched? How about a nice bottle of fish stock from this vending machine?

Any well-stocked Japanese kitchen needs a bottle of dashi, a salty cooking stock usually made with dried bonito. Dashi is sometimes combined with soy sauce, and the resulting mixture, called dashi-joyu, is commonly used to prepare soups and season a number of ingredients.

As such a ubiquitous part of Japanese cooking, you can buy dashi-joyu at any supermarket. And if you happen to be at a certain few parking lots in Hiroshima or Okayama Prefectures, now you can get it from a vending machine, too.

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Baskin Robbins Japan giving out a third scoop of ice cream free for all of August

Yes, there is Baskin Robbins in Japan, where it’s known by the locals as just saati wan, or “31.” Just like at locations in the U.S., Baskin Robbins Japan offers free samples of flavors on tiny little pink plastic tasting spoons.

Of course, for some people the single bite offered by the taster spoon may not be enough to properly judge whether or not the newest member of the ice cream chain’s constantly evolving ice cream line-up is worth ordering. If only there was a way to try a whole scoop for free.

Well, now there is.

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Chinese man’s body covered in bruises after eating shish kebab possibly containing rat meat

According to reports from media outlets in Beijing on July 22, a man who consumed what he believed to be a regular shish kebab was rushed to hospital after bruises appeared across the whole of his body. Doctors immediately performed a blood test which revealed traces of rat poison.

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We try shaved ice doused in Dom Perignon, feel like comically rich billionaires looking for novel ways to spend money

Reporters get a lot of unexpected perks. Occasionally, our editor will demand we interview a porn star or go stuff donuts in our faces on the company dime. That’s great, for sure. But truth be told, the greatest perk of being a reporter is that not only is it expected you’ll be drunk around lunchtime, it’s even encouraged!

And so it went that we were asked to sample some shaved ice doused in Dom Perignon, because everything is better doused in Dom Perignon. Go ahead, pour a bottle over your head and walk down the street. See if you don’t get a couple of phone numbers.

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Domino’s Pizza Japan offers dinner and a show with new toppings and a Hatsune Miku mini-concert

With the majority of its pizzas costing over 2,000 yen (US$20), even in medium size, Domino’s Pizza is positioned a bit more upmarket in Japan than its native U.S. Sure, the convenience of home delivery is worth paying a slight premium for, but with prices stretching beyond what you’d pay in a reasonable Italian restaurant in Tokyo with full table service, Domino’s Japan has to offer something more than just a slab of cheese and sauce.

The pizza giant recently convinced us to open our wallets, though, with a three-pronged attack that’s two parts delicious pork and one part high-tech entertainment.

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We try one meter of skewered grilled chicken: The Mega-Yakitori

When out on the town many drinking establishments in Japan offer yakitori, which is basically grilled marinated chicken on a stick. These are offered in a wide variety using different parts of the chicken, added vegetables, or different sauces, salts and spice blends.

Now Zenyaren Sohonten Tokyo is offering a one-of-a-kind type of grilled chicken called The World’s First Mega-Yakitori. This limited edition menu item is said to contain 30 times the meat of a regular stick of yakitori. This isn’t a simple case of quantity over quality either as the chicken is specially selected from regions across Japan.

Before anyone even asked him, Mr. Sato was digging out his most loose-fitting jeans and on his way to try it out.

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Unique interpretations of sushi found around the globe

A couple of weeks back we posted an article here about the unique interpretation Ukraine has given Japan’s most iconic dish, sushi. Now, having read the insightful observations of Mr. Masayoshi Kazato, chairman for the World Sushi Cup, a competition between sushi chefs from around the world, we think it’s safe to say that not only has sushi gained footholds in all corners of the globe, each country has established its own set of regional recipes.

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10 awesome ice creams available from convenience stores in Japan

The country may not be especially well known for its confection and frozen treats, but you’d better believe that Japan loves its ice cream. Whatever the season, there are hundreds of varieties to choose from, and chain stores like Baskin Robbins and Ben & Jerry’s attract enormous lines on a daily basis, constantly whipping up new flavours to appeal to the Japanese palate.

Today, we’d like to take you on a tour of the konbini aisu, or convenience store-bought ice cream, of Japan. They may not be quite as sophisticated as your top-of-the-range Häagen-Dazs offerings, but boy are they tasty, and since they’re available for just a couple of hundred yen each you can afford to treat yourself pretty much every day this summer. We hope you’re hungry!

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Lotteria to offer bizarre milkshake flavor based on horror flick The Ring

Apparently, if you could taste fear, it would taste like cool lemonade.

Starting July 27, Japanese burger chain Lotteria will offer a limited-time lemonade shake flavor themed after classic Japanese horror icon Sadako – the unmistakable and absolutely horrifying long-haired ghost girl from The Ring.

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Can you bring yourself to eat the art on these awesome anime cakes?

A quick glance at the name of Japanese cake maker Priroll should tell you that they specialize in roll cakes. What might not be so readily apparent is that the “Pri” stands for “printing.” Customers can include a photo when ordering, which Priroll will then reproduce on the side of one of its desserts, making it a great choice for birthdays, graduations, or other celebrations.

Being able to reproduce any image on this sweet, spongy canvas, though, means that the folks at Priroll aren’t limited to using just photographs, though. If you want, they can also whip you up an anime cake.

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Stand back guys, I’m hitting the salad bar! Diners get creative at Pizza Hut China

Tired of being taken to the cleaners by overly enthusiastic patrons at its all-you-can-eat salad bar, a few years ago, Pizza Hut China decided to limit customers to a one-plate serving. After implementing the new rule, however, the company still found itself losing money as customers started stacking their fruit and vegetables into enormous towers, packing as much onto their plates as physically possible.

Check out this collection of photos depicting the monolithic cuisine creations.

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We brave the Tokyo heat to munch on these limited edition Krispy Kreme summer doughnuts

‘Tis the season of the “Summer Gentei” (“Summer Specialties”) in Japan; an exciting time of year where near every food vendor in the country offers up some sort of cold, frozen, or energy-packed  limited edition summer-themed menu. And even the foreign chains are getting into it, with Krispy Kreme Japan currently offering three new summer-only doughnuts and two summer-themed drinks. Because we love you, we went and stuffed our faces.

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How to eat lunch in Tokyo for less than 300 yen

For students and professionals just starting their careers in pricey Tokyo, finding ways to economize is a must. Unfortunately, the cost of housing in the city means a lot of young singles end up in pretty cramped living quarters. In my old apartment, the only refrigerator I could cram into the place was so small there wasn’t enough room to keep both my beer and my drinking water chilled. For the record, it takes about two months to get used to drinking lukewarm H2O.

This lack of space also makes it difficult to stock up on groceries to use in cooking your own lunch to bring to school or the office. As a result, many people buy bento, boxed lunches with rice and some sort of side dish. You can get passable bento at any convenience store, and in recent years even some full-fledged restaurants have started selling them on the sidewalks of business districts in the afternoons.

Bento tend to be somewhere in the range of 500-1,000 yen (US$5-10) though, so the cost really adds up if you’re buying one a day. Trying to cut our expenses even further, we sent our reporter out with 500 yen and a mission: go get lunch, and bring back change.

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Getting free ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s just became every Japanese citizen’s civic duty

Japan loves ice cream, so when Ben and Jerry’s started opening locations here in 2012, it was welcomed with open arms.

But the Vermont-based company didn’t just bring its assortment of tasty flavors with untranslatable pun-based names. It also brought its well-known commitment to social activism with it. In keeping with those values, Ben & Jerry’s Japan is offering free ice cream to encourage people to vote in the country’s upcoming election.

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Are blue foods as cool as the color implies? We try blue curry, ramen, and beer

Under normal circumstances, Japanese people have an open aversion to unnaturally colored foods, especially blue. This is true even of sports drinks and birthday cakes. Without even addressing the never-ending debates over artificial food colorings and health, something about the color blue appears unappetizing to their taste buds.

However, in the overwhelming heat of summer, the color blue also carries with it the connotation of something cool and calm. Could the implicative promise of a refreshing counter to the summer sun override this instinctual revulsion against imbibing something blue? After hearing about a certain Thai food restaurant that serves bright blue dishes, we decided to send one of our more adventurous culinary reporters to check it out.

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