snacks

Step aside, fortune cookies! Here come fortune cat rice crackers from Japan!

Fortune cookies can be sort of anti-climactic, can’t they? Most of the time, that little slip of paper just reminds you of some pearl of wisdom to help you make yourself a better person, instead of giving you the inside information on the future that you really wanted so that you could succeed in life without all that bothersome self-improvement stuff.

On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine anyone being disappointed if they cracked open their snack to find an adorably chubby cat figurine.

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Matcha green tea potato chips coming soon to make snack time in Japan cultured and delicious

Potato chips and matcha green tea seem like the opposite endpoints of the refreshment spectrum. Matcha is a refined, high-class drink meant to be sipped and savored in a quiet moment, whereas potato chips are often most enjoyable when scarfed down by the handful while watching sports or playing video games.

But sometimes the best way to find balance in life is with contrasting extremes, like the matcha potato chips that are about to go on sale in Japan.

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Snack time! Our team list their favorite Japanese convenience store treats

If you spend any length of time in Japan, you’ll probably find yourself at the convenience store quite a bit. While there are plenty of foods that you might not be accustomed too, there are also plenty that will delight your mouth.

But with the wide range available to you, it may be hard to pick some to start with. So to help you decide, we asked some of our very own writers, all of whom have lived in Japan for years, what their favorite snacks are and compiled this list for your shopping information and drooling pleasure!

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The Snack Poster: Illustrations to spread the love for authentic Japanese foods

For those unaccustomed to Japanese food, even the most common edibles may seem quite odd and, well, unappetizing, at first glance. The first time you saw monjayaki, did you not think it looked a little…weird? Of course, not all Japanese cuisine is unappealing to the eyes, but even the delicious-looking food is still not widely known throughout the Western world.

A California-based Japanese food blogger is trying to change that. Gaining momentum from the success of her Ramen Poster, artist Fanny has come up with another hand-drawn infographic displaying some of her favorite Japanese street foods and snacks: The Snack Poster.

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New citrus-yuzu-salt-flavored Jagariko potato sticks are delicious, cheap, and ultra-limited

Calbee’s Jagariko is among the tastiest snacks in Japan, if you ask us. The little cups of potato sticks come in a variety of flavors, including cheese, butter, and salad. There are also some seasonal flavors, like yuzu-shio, or yuzu and salt, available now! If you haven’t tried Jagariko yet, this is definitely a great introduction to one of the best snacks in Japan!

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7-Eleven sells grapes with skins you can actually eat! We kid you not

Back where I come from, it wasn’t uncommon to pick a grape off its stem and pop it right into your mouth without a second’s thought. The very idea of peeling a grape was something along the lines of a diva demanding a bottled-milk bath while dining on a bowl of only red-colored Skittles.

However, in Japan, where many varieties of grape have thick or rubbery skins, peeling them is pretty much standard. In fact, whenever I eat a grape with its skin intact, I’m stared at as if I had just plucked a live spider off the wall and ate it.

That’s probably why 7-Eleven can get away with marketing their frozen bags of grapes as having “edible skins” here.

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Taste the world this summer with Pretz versions of international food favorites

Kids in Japan only have about one more week left of school until summer vacation starts, while working adults are counting down the days until Obon vacation. It’s also the season where many Japanese snack makers start putting out limited summer edition flavors of your favorite snacks.

In fact, just today Glico launched a limited edition summer line of their popular Pretz series in Japan, so for those with no time or no money to travel abroad this summer vacation, you still have a chance to experience some exotic and not-so-exotic food flavors from across the ocean in the comfort of your very own home.

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Ministop and Koikeya bring six new eats to a conbini near you, but can you handle the heat?

The Japanese are known for not being able to handle spicy food. While it is true that traditional Japanese cuisine tends to have rather mild flavors and limit the use of spices, and there are still many who don’t have the tongue to tough out a bit of heat, times are a-changin’. Now, many Japanese people are more than happy to sit down to a hot plate of Indian curry, a fiery bowl of Korean tteokbokki, or enjoy a kick from a spicy snack like Karamucho (カラムーチョ).

These popular hot chili-flavored chips have been around for years, but they’re now being revamped into six new, unique meal items, from bento to fiery chicken, to be sold at the Ministop convenience store chain throughout Japan. So fire up your taste buds, foodies, and come take a look at the hot, new lineup!

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Distinctive Japanese Häagen-Dazs lids proving unusually versatile

Ice cream manufacturer Häagen-Dazs is pretty popular in Japan. The company has a large enough market share to run near-constant ads inside subway and above-ground train cars; usually a pretty good indicator of market success since ads on JR trains cost, approximately, all the dollars that ever were or ever will be.

One reason for the brand’s popularity in Japan – other than, you know, it tastes good – is the fancy, sturdy packaging used for individually-portioned cups. Now, most people just like them because it contributes to the brand’s premium mystique, but it turns out a lot of Japanese Twitter users are finding recently that the sturdy, distinctive plastic lids have a huge variety of neat, bonus utility and decorative uses even after all the ice cream inside is gone.

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New snack sensation: super sour and certainly salty lemon flavour potato chips

Yep, it’s “weird potato chip flavour” time again! Hot on the heels of steak sandwich flavour, tangerine flavour, and banana and peach “breakfast chips”, we bring you… super sour lemon!

No doubt these crunchy potato slivers will be burning huge holes in our tongues when they go on sale and we immediately rush to satisfy our curiosity by guzzling several bags at once.

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“Japanese steak sandwich” flavour potato chips have us slavering over our keyboards!

Here at RocketNews24, we love trying out all of Japan’s weird and wacky potato chip varieties. Just recently, we wrapped our chops around bags of banana and peach flavoured “breakfast” chips. And of course there was the time that we sampled coffee flavour chips

But after all that taste bud overloading, our tongues are in need of something a little more subtle. Luckily for us, a new flavour of potato chips is about to hit the market, and they sound absolutely delicious. Japanese steak sandwich flavour? Shut up and take our money!

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Cheese and seaweed treats are as tasty as they are visually appealing

At first glance these might look like some kind of plastic toy, building blocks or a pile of random puzzle pieces, but what you see before you are multi-layered nori (seaweed or laver sheets) and cheese slices, and they’re are making the rounds on Twitter.

According to beer nuts, these savoury little morsels are the perfect accompaniment to beer or wine.

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Oh… yummy! New snack to hit Japan: giant isopod senbei rice crackers!

We’ve already mentioned how fond we are of deep sea creatures here in Japan, in particular the giant isopod that has been turned into various products from phone cases to gachapon toys. Well, now it seems that Yamaki Honpo, a maker of traditional Japanese senbei (rice crackers), has taken the Japanese love of isopods to new heights. They’ve come up with … yes, you guessed it, Giant Isopod senbei crackers! And while we can certainly understand how people might find these creatures fascinating, we have to say, we’re honestly not sure how to react to this new snack. Bug crackers, seriously?

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Delicious cherry blossom-flavored treats are in full-bloom in Japanese stores

Congratulations, you’ve made it through another winter in (hopefully) one piece! Spring is here and much of the northern hemisphere is enjoying the first signs of new greenery and Japan’s favorite flower, sakura (cherry blossom), are starting to decorate the landscape.

The only thing better than relaxing under the sakura trees is relaxing under the sakura trees while consuming one of many delicious sakura flavored goodies. But you have to get them quickly, because they are as fleeting as the flowers themselves.

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New “peach and berry tart” Crispy Sandwich from Häagen-dazs makes spring debut

The weather is finally getting warmer and the cherry blossoms are starting to peek out here in Tokyo. So naturally, we’ve started planning all the snacks we’re going to much on during our cherry-blossom viewing parties and picnics.

We’ve already staked out some room in our tummies for Magnolia Bakery’s cherry blossom cupcakes, but we have to consider our ice-cream needs, too. For portable snacking, Häagen-Dazs‘ range of Crispy Sandwich ice cream treats are always a great option. And, as luck would have it, they’re rolling out a special new flavour for spring: Peach and Berry Tart!

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Snack company Calbee recalls 140,000 tubs of Jagarico potato snacks for the weirdest of reasons

I love potato chips, don’t you? Except in the UK, where I’m from, we call them crisps because we already use the word “chips” to refer to those chunky morsels of potato commonly served with fish. Regardless, chips and crisps – whatever you want to call them – are totally delicious, and Japanese snack company Calbee has long since perfected the perfect marriage of both – their crispy “Jagarico” potato chips, which are shaped exactly like french fries. (Or chips. Wait. I’m getting confused.)

Anyway, Calbee has caused a bit of a scandal by issuing a product recall for approximately 140,000 tubs of their yummy snacks which they feel are not fit for human consumption. But what exactly is wrong with them?

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Popstar nun Sister Cristina tries Japanese potato chips for first time, ranks them for us

Sister Cristina the nun popstar first came to Japan just the other day to promote her new album, give a small concert, and of course bestow some spiritual advice to questions taken from the audience.

One of those questions was about a man’s addiction to potato chips, and what he could do to overcome it. In suave sister-style, Sister Cristina advised him to try eating some other foods, and perhaps limit his chip intake, though she did mention that she is a fan of potatoes in all forms herself.

That set off a lightbulb in our heads, and we here at RocketNews24 wasted no time in sitting down with Sister Cristina to ask her the real hard-hitting question that everyone wants to know: would she be willing to try some Japanese chips and rank them for us? Watch the video after the jump!

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Just like the cherry blossoms, KFC potato chips return to Japan this spring!

Last year, something beautiful came to Japan. It was only here for a short while, but in that time, it left a deep impression on many people, including us here at RocketNews24. And while we were sad to see it go, it’s time to dry our tears, because this spring, it’s coming back again!

So, all excited for cherry blossom season? That’s great, but what we’re actually talking about right here are Kentucky Fried Chicken-flavor potato chips.

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Pocky maker claims Korean snack ripped off its packaging design, and it’s hard to disagree

You might expect working at one of Japan’s largest candy makers means every day at the office is filled with smiles, sunshine, and sentiments as sweet as the products they sell. But the management at Osaka-based Glico’s mood is downright sour these days, as the company claims rival Lotte’s new product is such a thinly veiled copy of one of Glico’s hits that it’s a slap in the face.

The company is in no mood to let this one slide, either, which is understandable since some say Lotte has been ripping off Glico for more than 30 years.

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Power of soybeans turns Bean-Throwing Festival into sexy action flick in awesome commercial

Despite being centuries-old, the core traditions of Setsubun can seem as silly as its common English rendering, The Bean-Throwing Festival. Once a year in early February, households across Japan toss roasted soybeans outside their doors, with folklore saying the practice will ensure prosperity for the next 12 months by driving off the ogre-like creatures called oni.

Perhaps the oddest thing is the way the oni are depicted in illustrations and popular culture. Generally obese and clumsy, they seem to present little if any threat, and the fact that they can be undone by a scattering of legumes doesn’t do anything to help them win street cred, either.

But what if the oni improved their eating habits and started hitting the gym? Would that make them terrifying once again? Maybe, but it also just might make them dead sexy, as shown in this stylish Japanese ad.

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