food

Ooh la la! MOS Burger’s new premium hamburger packs a sophisticated punch

MOS Burger, the Japanese fast food chain famous for being a fresher, slightly healthier alternative to other hamburger joints, has recently announced that it will release a new hamburger sandwich to go alongside its existing range of plain and cheese “Tobikiri” hamburgers. The exciting twist? This one’s loaded with French demi-glace sauce and aligot, a sumptuous mix of potato and cheese that’s sure to send you to premium burger heaven.

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We hope Ishigaki Island’s specialty snack food goes viral in Japan… Uh, we mean that in the “popular” sense not the “virus” one

Ishigaki Island has a few well known specialty foods such as Ishigaki beef and Yaeyama soba noodle, but aside from these delicacies a little-known snack food has been making waves across the nation. They call it onisasa.

Onisasa should be mistaken for some gimmicky new flavor the city of Ishigaki has concocted just to drum up tourism. This little hidden gem had been around for a long time in the region before getting the attention of greater Japan. So just what is onisasa?

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Nestle Bennana to come to Japan minus rumors of being melt-proof

It feels like yesterday when our reporter Kuzo travelled deep into China for find the fabled “melt-proof ice pop” named Banana – a vanilla ice cream encased in a protective gummy sheath. However, this year Banana has come to the world (under a variety of names such as Bennana in Japan), and this October it will reach the shores of Japan.

To celebrate, Banana’s maker Nestle held a “Banana Day” event in Harajuku, Tokyo on 7 August. Yet another punny Japanese holiday on a Japanese reading of “8/7”, it involved the giving away of free monkey ears, T-shirts, and of course Bennanas.

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This could be the most macho 80-year-old we’ve ever seen

It’s come to that time of the year again when many of us will be thinking about getting in shape (or wishing we already had!) as our garments become skimpier and the amount of flesh on show sees an increase. For some, this means planning well ahead of the summer season and going through heavy exercise or muscle training sessions at the gym. However, I’m sure that if you came across the 80-year-old Japanese man in the photo above, you’d find it hard to believe that he was a professional bodybuilder. Perhaps the most natural response would be, “An old man keeping himself active.” But wait until you see the body that he’s hiding under that tracksuit.

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Remote tea shop serving up deep fried leaves as a summer treat

Japan is a rich country when it comes to specialty treats and dishes. Small towns all over the nation can offer up unique foods and drinks you’ll never find anywhere else.

Shigenobu Matsuzawa who has uncovered Japan’s hidden treasures such as Digital Kowloon City, The Life and Sex Museum, and Gunma Cycle Sports Center now has found one such snack in Mie Prefecture that you’re unlikely to find in most places: Maple Tempura.

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Coffee mascot event with cosplaying idols proves to be too much for some fans to handle

Tea is the first beverage that comes to mind for most people when they think of Japan, followed closely by sake, beer, chu-hi, and a plethora of other alcoholic beverages for those who spent time at a Japanese university. There are plenty of coffee drinkers in the country too though, with Yuki Jirushi (“Snow Mark”) Coffee’s café au lait being a steady seller in supermarkets and convenience stores for 50 years.

With such a long history, however, the company thought the product’s image could use an updating, and they asked artists to submit their designs for a new mascot to be called Yukiko-tan (-tan being an even cuter version of the already cute Japanese name suffix –chan). Six finalists remain in the contest, and Yuki Jirushi recently held a promotional event to help the undecided pick a favorite by utilizing the tentpole that seemingly all major Japanese marketing campaigns are built around: cute girls.

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Shocking noodles: One company turns udon into electricity

Today, ladies and gentlemen, we have for you the future of electricity production. No more mining, no more worries about radiation, no more oil. And it’s as simple as throwing your leftover noodles in a giant pot!

Wait, noodles?

That’s right! Your tasty, leftover udon may soon be producing enough electricity for fifty households!

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New York-style Japanese ramen! We try Totto Ramen in Midtown Manhattan

So, you’re a loyal RocketNews24 reader. You’ve seen us posting about ramen, possibly the greatest food ever, and always wanted a nice big bowl of your own to scarf down. But an international flight to Japan is both expensive and exhausting, so it’s remained little more than a dream for you. You lie awake at night, tossing and turning, as thoughts of hot noodles, thick, delicious broth, and perfectly sliced pork dash through your head. Well, now you can finally put an end to your torture! If you live in New York that is. Otherwise, you’ll have to keep saving for that flight.

A few months back, one of our esteemed Japanese writers found himself in New York and decided to check out one of the city’s finest ramen shops: Totto Ramen. Here’s his thoughts on the Japanese restaurant! Does it measure up??

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Chiharu Hatakeyama and self-sufficiency in the 21st century【People we love】

“Forgive me for asking so abruptly,” Chiharu Hatakeyama begins as she stands on a stage decked out in the familiar TED colours of black, white and red, “but who among you thinks they could wring the neck of a chicken before they ate it?”

After the events of March 11, 2011, when the largest recorded earthquake in Japanese history tore the northeast to pieces and brought with it a wall of water that smashed through everything in its path, Chiharu decided that she had to change. Realising that her entire world could be turned completely upside down in the blink of an eye and that she relied on others–most often people that she had never nor would ever meet–in almost every facet of her life, she set out to achieve a life of complete self-sufficiency. Growing her own vegetables, butchering her own meat, making accessories and clothes for herself, she is now sharing her newly acquired knowledge with as many people as she can via her blog, Facebook page, and more recently a TEDxTokyo talk. This is her story.

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Salted fish dog is popular Kyoto snack that looks about as appetizing as you’d expect

The Kyoto Aquarium is offering a limited summer snack officially dubbed the “ayu salt-cooked hot dog.”

To the uninitiated, this probably sounds like a hot dog topped with some exotic, delicious spice called ayu, but adventurous expats will recognize ayu as a native Japanese fish species often served grilled whole on a stick.

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Show solidarity with fellow runny egg lovers with “over easy” smartphone case

How one prefers their fried eggs cooked is about as divisive an issue as whether Batman or Wolverine would win in a fight. Many a surprise anniversary breakfast in bed has no doubt ended in bitter tears due to fried eggs being prepared in the incorrect way.

But you can avoid this unnecessary situation and show solidarity with fellow runny egg lovers with this new “egg in a basket” iPhone 5 case. Just snap your iPhone inside and share the other half with your runny egg soul mate; then, by clicking the two halves together as a secret greeting, you can baffle and enrage all those cretinous fully cooked yolk lovers at the diner.

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Cute, occasionally terrifying images appear in Japanese produce

People often say that cuteness is a religion in Japan, and really they’re only half-joking. Fashion magazines have even broken the faith into sects such as adult cute (otona kawaii), sexy cute (ero kawaii), elegant cute (eleganto kawaii), and the somewhat redundant “cute cute” (kyuuto kawaii).

Just as some of the faithful hold that Jesus’ image at times appears on potato chips and tortillas to remind mankind of his existence, so too do the gods of cuteness occasionally manifest themselves on foodstuffs in Japan.

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The 10 convenience store candies that are perfect for summer (we hope you like salt)

We’re pretty sure the last time someone went out of their way to eat hard candies when perfectly good ice cream and chocolate bars were available nearby was the 1930s or those tin candy scenes from that heartbreaking anime, Grave of the Fireflies.

But in Japan, candy comes in so many crazy flavors, colors and varieties, you’d be remiss not to at least try the convenience store greatest hits. Unfortunately, doing so would probably give you adult onset diabetes, so we’ve gone ahead and tried all the candy on offer because we’re already gross and diseased anyway. Here are our top 10 picks for the greatest hard candies on offer at Japanese convenience stores.

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How to make café-caliber coffee and snacks with your toilet

Starbuck’s remains a hugely successful coffee chain in Japan drawing droves of workers on a daily basis. Of course, their drinks don’t come cheap, which is why the guys at Omocoro are constantly looking for ways to recreate the Starbucks experience at home and on the cheap like their homemade Frappuccino.

In another experiment they sent writer Kisho into a back room, locked the door, and told him not to come out until he could surpass the Starbucks formula.

It’s been four months, and everyone at Omocoro has forgotten about Kisho’s existence. However, some startling news out of Hong Kong has him racing against the clock to complete his mission or die trying. Here is his story.

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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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