food

Independent study suggests that McDonald’s double-large fries are more ‘meh’ than Mega

A couple of years back, RocketNews24 put out a story on how McDonald’s has been skimping on their servings of French fries. Now that the Japanese branches have added a new mega size to the menu, some of the good people at Japan’s Gold Rush decided to run their own little test of whether or not today’s hungry fry lovers are getting what they pay for. What they discovered may mean better things for the body, but is nonetheless quite disheartening.

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One more reason to hate Mondays: bad beef

Ah, Mondays! I’m sure you’re just like me in that you always wake up 30 minutes before your alarm goes off, bursting with energy at the idea of getting a start on spending the next five days at the office. Or, more accurately, you may be just like me in that you have a tendency to lie in order to cover up just how much you hate Monday mornings.

But when duty calls, you’ve got to go. As you struggle to convince your body to drag itself out of bed, maybe you try to sweeten the deal by promising yourself a tasty dinner as a reward for not just creating your own little three-day weekend by calling in sick. Yeah, you can make it through your shift if you’ve got something to look forward to at the end of it, like maybe some high-grade beef. And why bother cooking at home when Japan is filled with yakiniku (Korean barbeque) restaurants?

Not so fast there, cowboy. It turns out Monday is the worst day to go out to eat yakiniku.

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Strap on your thinking caps: bath salts based on popsicle based on soup go on sale

We’ve talked before about how Gari Gari-kun, the popsicle/shaved ice hybrid, is among the most refreshing treats produced by modern society, especially during the hot, humid summer months.

But Japan is a country where a daily bath, as opposed to just a shower, is a way of life. Since most people bathe at night, this presents a problem if you’ve just cooled yourself off with a nice after-dinner Gari Gari-kun and don’t want that feeling to go to waste from soaking in a pool of hot water. Thankfully, toy manufacturer Bandai has a whole lineup of Gari Gari-kun themed bath salts, based on the some of its most popular popsicle flavors, such as soda (really a mix of apple and citrus), pear, and corn…wait, corn?!

Perhaps we should start at the beginning.

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Subway Japan solves Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) pudding dilemma

Head on over to your nearest Subway the next time you’re wondering, “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?” Starting May 29, the purveyor of those fresh, delicious, made-to-order subs is offering double meat portions on selected sandwiches.
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Want to enjoy the health benefits of natto without the smell? Try this natto and ice cream recipe!

Not familiar with natto? Shame on you! Natto is the fermented soy bean “snack” loved throughout the Kanto region for its supposed health benefits that outweigh the questionable flavor and strong smell, which is optimistically described as “cheesy and pungent” and otherwise described by detractors with violent gagging noises.

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Some like it hot: We get a taste of R18 Curry

A new brand of curry has recently appeared in Japan that’s entirely inappropriate for minors, or at least that’s the way it’s being marketed–we haven’t seen this many mature content labels grouped together since we last sent a reporter to the adult video store. The otherwise nondescript packaging is absolutely covered with R18 warnings in print both large and small, and in case that isn’t enough to tempt frighten underage eaters, the curry’s makers have even slapped a sticker in the corner that reads “for adults only.” Naturally, we were wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so we called in our most adult-minded taste tester to try it out.

Don’t worry. While the contents of the curry are too hot for children, we’ve censored the summary so that it’s entirely safe for work.
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We devour a mountain of ramen (toppings)

By far the plainest, most bare-bones name for a guy in Japan is Taro. Look at just about any sample application form in the country, and nine times out of ten the applicant’s name will be listed as “Taro.” When coupled with a girl’s name like Hanako it’s the equivalent of “Dick and Jane,” showing up in children’s stories and textbooks.

Nonetheless,the name Taro is something of a classic, and a common choice for first-born sons. But change the first kanji character Taro is written with and you get “Jiro,” meaning more or less “second son.” Jiro doesn’t have quite the cachet of Taro, as it has a perpetual little brother-like ring to it.

Restaurant chain Ramen Jiro doesn’t play second fiddle to anyone, though, especially with creations like this.
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We answer the age old question: How many McDonald’s fries can one person stuff into their mouth in one sitting?

There’s something quite wonderful about the humble french fry. That combination of starch and grease, the crunchy outside and fluffy inside; it stimulates something deep in our reptile brains to create a tuber-induced euphoria. We could easily plow into and finish a new Mega Potato in one sitting; that’s child’s play. But there must be some upper limit to the amount of golden, crisp french fries one single human being can eat at one time, right? Right?!

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Pigs fly (in broth form) as ANA serves up in-flight Ippudo ramen

Japan has earned plenty of foodie cred over the last few years. Tokyo has topped multiple lists of the best cities in the world to eat out in, morning talk shows showcase delicious, hole-in-the wall restaurants and bakeries almost every day, and this month even provincial Hiroshima got its own Michelin Guide.

But even with a nation of enthusiastic diners and gastronomic craftsmen ready to serve them, airline food is, for the most part, nothing to get too excited about. Unless you happen to be flying ANA internationally, that is, where you can now get Ippudo ramen. Read More

Silly Pun Leads to Great Dessert – Special Strawberry Shortcake Available Just Once a Month at Japanese Convenience Store

In almost every company in Japan, payday is on the 25th of the month. While this means every month feels a little like Christmas, it also means that if you’ve been partying a little too hard for the last 30-odd days, around the 22nd, your bank balance might be looking pretty dismal.

But no matter how much you try to cut back, man can’t live on bread alone. Looking to treat yourself to the most meager luxury possible, you might stumble into a branch of the Japanese convenience store Lawson, where there’s a special treat to brighten your day that’s available only on the 22nd of each month. Read More

Satisfy a Royal Craving – We Try Ice Cream Fit for an Emperor

Even royalty can get a sweet tooth from time to time, and in the blistering heat of a Japanese summer, what could be a better way to satisfy the urge for sweets than a big bowl of ice cream? Of course, when dealing with the imperial family, not just any old brand of ice cream will suffice. That’s why in 1968 a special recipe for handmade ice cream was developed for their royal highnesses, the Emperor and Empress of Japan. It’s called Snow Royal and can still be purchased from Snowbrand-Parlor (雪印パーラー) in Hokkaido..

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We Use Lotteria’s Ramen Burger to Make a Bowl of Ramen Noodles, Restore the Natural Balance of the Universe

On May 17, Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria’s ramen burger went on sale in the Tokyo area. Comprised of a slab of seasoned pork and a handful of noodles sandwiched inside a bun, with a cup of broth on the side, the sandwich is a collaboration between Lotteria and the popular ramen restaurant chain Musashi.

Representing the convergence of two of fast food’s all-stars, the ramen burger has been a hit, with lines stretching out the door when it went on sale. But our stomachs are fickle masters, and we decided to tear the two star-crossed lovers apart once again by using the ramen burger to make a bowl of ramen noodles. Read More

The Grave of Christ and Vampire Ice Cream – Japanese Town Solves Many of the World’s Mysteries

For being a country so heavily steeped in traditional culture, Japan sure does love to fiddle with an amalgamation of spiritual folklore. Just listen to the bizarre conglomerate of beliefs practiced in one particular “town of mystery” in Aomori Prefecture of the Tohoku Region. Shingou Town claims to be the true burial site of Jesus Christ, and if that’s not crazy enough, just wait until you hear about their connection to Dracula and the pyramids! Read More

Comically Huge Mega Potato is a Gift from the (Obese) Starch Gods

McDonald’s Japan’s returning limited-edition Mega Potato side is so frighteningly large it ought to come with graphic warning photos of what happens to people who make a habit of eating it, like cigarette packs in the West.

The reintroduced Mega Potato is equivalent to two orders of large fries and comes in a container so comically huge you could just stick your face directly into it like a pig at a trough, if that’s your thing. Or you could share it with “friends” or something, like anyone actually has that in mind when ordering one of these.

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Korean High School Cafeteria Has a Bit of a Cleanup Problem

People are pretty good at returning their trays after they’ve finished eating at a self-serve cafeteria. It’s no fun task cleaning up after others, so dumping leftovers in the appropriate bin and separating utensils and trays and returning them to their designated pickup areas is highly appreciated by kitchen staff. Recent photos uploaded to the Korea-Japan Cultural Exchange (KJ Club) website, however, makes one wonder if students and teachers at one Korean high school might be in need of a manners lesson.
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The Mega Potato is Finally Here!!! McDonald’s Potato Party Fans Rejoice!

Earlier this week, we reported on a rumor that suggested McDonald’s Japan would be bringing back the “Mega Potato,” which packs in double the French fries in one container…two large orders of fries in one container to be exact. Well folks, the Mega Potato is finally here (if “here” means Japan for you).

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Who Needs a Cherry on Top? Osaka Café Crowns its Parfaits with Cake

Tokyo’s restaurants may have more Michelin stars, but for many Japanese foodies, the real culinary action is in Osaka. Particularly if your tastes run more towards good honest grub than haute cuisine, Japan’s second largest city is the place to be.

The people of Osaka enjoy a good meal so much that they coined the phrase kuidaore, to eat until you collapse. But even with this image firmly entrenched in our minds, the city has found a new way to surprise us with its gastronomic decadence.

On a recent day out in Osaka, our reporter stopped by a café and ordered a truly hard-core parfait. It wasn’t that the parfait was so big, and no, it didn’t contain any shocking ingredients. What blew our minds about this parfait was its topping.

It was a slice of cake, and it was so big it wasn’t even trying to fit into the glass.

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99-Year-Old Tea Shop Offers Something New: Green Tea Beer

Being in Japan gives you plenty of opportunities to knock back a beer. The country is filled with pubs, and alcohol consumptions is so accepted that should you tell people, flat-out, “My hobby is drinking,” they’re more likely to ask you to recommend a good bar than to stage an intervention. At the same time, Japan has countless places to sip a relaxing cup of tea, whether it’s the strong, frothy variety used in tea ceremonies called matcha, or hojicha, for which the green tea leaves are roasted before steeping. But with two tempting beverage choices to relax with and only so many hours in the day, how can anyone be expected to choose between tea and beer? As it turns out, you don’t have to. Read More

Today’s Reason to Come to Japan: Free Curry Refills

Big eaters in Japan have a saying: “Curry and rice isn’t something you eat. It’s something you drink.” And as with any beverage, nothing’s better than free refills.

We’ve talked about it before, but it’s worth repeating. The Japanese curry chain CoCo Ichibanya (also known as just CoCo Ichi), provides a free refill of curry sauce to any customer one who asks for it. Read More

Run, Forest! Run to your Nearest Bubba Gump Shrimp for Seafood so Tasty Even Japan is Enamored  【3-D Photos】

How many of you are familiar with the restaurant Bubba Gump Shrimp, based on the 1994 Oscar-winning film Forest Gump? Speaking as a sweet ol’ Southern girl, raised in the Heart of Dixie, USA, I’m well acquainted with both the movie and the real-life restaurant that it inspired. Bubba Gump Shrimp, with its American Cajun-style cooking, has branches scattered all across the globe, including three within Japan. As the name would imply, the menu features an abundance of shrimp, making it an irresistible spot for seafood lovers. Read More

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