taste test

We order a bag of cicadas from China and eat them, because summer 【Taste Test】

Some things are inseparable from a Japanese summer: fireworks festivals, face-melting heat and humidity, young men and women awkwardly courting in yukata, and of course the deafening roar of cicadas. Here, the vociferous critters just provide the soundtrack to summer, but did you know that in some places, they are on the summer menu too?

Our intrepid Japanese reporter Ponkotsu did and he sent off to the cicada-producing center of Lishui in China’s Zhejiang Province for a bag of bugs to taste test.

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The makers of wasabi-beef chips bring you… transparent chips and how to make them! 【Video】

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How do you automatically make anything cooler? By making it transparent, of course! We’ve seen transparent coke and transparent smartphones before, but what about transparent food? Being able to see through something while you eat it has to make it more delicious, right?

Well, that’s what the people who made transparent potato chips thought. Yamayoshi, the same company that brings you delicious wasabeef (wasabi and beef flavor) chips, tried their hand at making chips that give a nice, clear crunch. Check out their video demonstrating the creation of the glass-like chips to see their reaction and then try making some yourself!

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We try Cup Noodle Ice Cream, filled with shrimp, meat, eggs, chives, and madness 【Taste test】

A few days ago, we heard that Nissin, maker of Cup Noodle, was now selling ice cream topped with meat, chives, and all the other fixings that are found in instant ramen at the Cup Noodles Museum. One of my coworkers, who lives not far from the Osaka Cup Noodles Museum, bravely volunteered to try it out, and I was all set to let him be our guinea pig, since I’ve already taken one for the RocketNews24 team as far as strange desserts go.

But as it turns out, the Cup Noodle Ice Cream is available exclusively at the second Cup Noodle Museum in Yokohama. Hey, wait a second! That’s where I live!

Uh oh…

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Mos Burger’s sauce-soaked Wet Burger sure is wet, but is it worth your burger bucks? 【Taste test】

A few days ago, we talked about fast food chain Mos Burger’s plan to unleash something called the Wet Burger, or Nure Burger in Japanese. Unlike normal sandwiches which are content to have their sauce on the inside, the Wet Burger is submerged in tomato sauce before serving.

But is this new challenger a legitimate rival to the standard Mos Burger, already considered one of the stars of the Japanese fast food scene? Or is it simply too bold and saucy for its own good?

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Japan’s barley soda is so weird in so many ways, yet so right in one 【Taste test】

So this morning, my boss asked me if I wanted to do a taste test of a new drink that just went on sale in Japan. I figured this was a pretty sweet assignment to snag for the day, and not just because at that same moment my boss was having some of the other RocketNews24 writers strip down to their underwear and pose for pictures as part of another project, which I would then have an excuse to sidestep.

See, the taste test was of a new carbonated barley-based beverage, and since beer is one of the wells I go to as a writer, I assumed my boss was talking about the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage. But nope, it turns out that there’s now barley soda in Japan, so I was off to the store to try some of this drink that’s devoid of alcohol but surprisingly full of mystery.

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Watermelon mousse cake sounds too good to be true, but it’s real and in our office 【Taste-test】

When we heard about a special dessert called the suika baumkuchen being offered through online retailer Rakuten, we were pretty psyched, since it combines two of the greatest things on the planet: watermelon and cake. As a matter of fact, we were so excited that at first we thought it was only going to be available for one hour on August 1.

But as we spent hours drooling over the watermelon cake’s webpage, which had us so captivated we barely had time to use the Internet to look at pictures of cats and swimsuit models, we noticed something: the suika baumkuchen is actually available right now! We put in our order right away, and now we’re here to bring you our report on this incredible culinary crossover.

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What do our Japanese writers think about putting lemon juice on watermelon?

Depending on where you’re from, you may have a very specific way of eating watermelon. For example, in Japan, people almost always put salt on their melons. As someone from the U.S., this was a bit of a surprise for me, but it’s not bad by any means!

However, P.K., one of the writers for our Japanese site, recently discovered that people in Italy apparently put lemon juice on their watermelon. We’re not sure how accurate that is, but he decided to give it a try anyway! Will he like it better than salt? Will his fellow writers enjoy it too? Read on to find out!

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Sushi-flavored potato chips?!? Could our world really be so beautiful? 【Taste test】

At the start of my workday, my boss asked me if I’d be interested in trying some potato chips that taste like o-toro, the extra fatty tuna that’s a highly prized sushi ingredient. Looking at the clock, I calculated that it had been about 14 hours since I’d had sushi for dinner, and since that’s honestly about two hours longer than I like to go without eating some of Japan’s most famous culinary creation, I solemnly accepted the mission.

But while I’d already experienced potato chips inspired by fine American cuisine, I’d never had sashimi-flavored ones, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, even before I discovered the other big surprise waiting for me.

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Salmon-flavored Puccho candy – disgusting or delightful? 【Taste test】

Japan is well-known for its creative flavors when it comes to soda, snacks, and candy. Some are epically delicious. Others not so much. And this latest collaboration between Japanese candy company UHA and Hello Kitty’s Sanrio probably falls into the latter camp.

For those unaware, Sanrio has a wide variety of characters other than Hello Kitty, including KIRIMI-chan, a cute slice of sassy salted salmon. We’re not sure why an anthropomorphic fish fillet was chosen to be made into a UHA Puccho flavor, but it’s already happened so there’s nothing we can do but try it!

To see if this flavor is tasty or trash, we assigned our own brave RocketNews24 reporter P.K. Sanjun to try a few pieces for posterity. Does he savor the salty salmon goodness or does he spit it out? Read on to find out!

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Burger King Japan unleashes red burgers and Angry Sauce on my stomach 【Taste test】

When Burger King Japan first brought out its black burgers, more than a few people were shocked, and even a little intimidated, by their sinister appearance. After diners got over their fear and tried them, though, they discovered they were pretty tasty, and they’ve now become a welcomed, sporadically appearing item on the chain’s menu.

Seeing how well that gamble played out, Burger King has decided to spin the roulette wheel once again, but this time they’re betting on red with two new sandwiches with crimson buns and cheese. So how do they taste? We decided to grab the pair and try them for ourselves.

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Japanese sushi chef samples the best cheap sushi the U.S. has to offer【Video】

In most Western countries, going out for sushi tends to make for a pretty pricey meal. In Japan, while there are certainly higher-end sushi restaurants that can put quite a dent in your wallet too, there are also plenty of places where you can eat your fill of great sushi for as little as 100 yen a plate (around US$1), or you can pick up a pack of sushi for lunch at the convenience for around 300 to 400 yen.

With sushi growing in popularity, many grocery store delis in the United States have started carrying variety packs of sushi for a more decent price, but how does the taste measure up? In this video, sushi from a number of grocery chains is pitted against the taste buds of long-time sushi chef.

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We try Japanese desserts made with bits of tuna. What could go wrong? 【Taste test】

Okay, Japan, I’m trusting you on this one. There have been a lot of times in the past when I was skeptical about your foods, and repeatedly you’ve proven me wrong.

You hit a home run with the raw fish thing. Pasta with spicy cod roe and seaweed? Now one of my go-to choices for a quick, hot meal. Grilled chicken cartilage? Stuff is delicious.

And now you want me to try desserts made with tuna? Sure, let’s do this.

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We try Tom Yum Pizza, the new Domino’s pizza that tastes just like the soup 【Taste Test】

Our reporter P.K. Sanjun is something of a tom yum goong fan. In fact, P.K. believes this spicy/sour Thai/Lao soup is one of the three great soups of the world (the other two are bouillabaisse and shark fin soup, since you asked).

So when P.K. heard that Domino’s Pizza in Japan was launching a tom yum goong pizza, he was somewhat skeptical. “They don’t even have tom yum pizza in Thailand!” he points out. But in the interests of investigative journalism, P.K. put aside his misgivings and ordered one spicy soup-flavoured pizza. And boy, did he love it.

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Taiwan’s Ice Monster brings monster shaved ice, monster lines, and monster brain freeze to Tokyo

Popular Taiwanese kakigori (shaved ice) chain Ice Monster opened on Omotesando, the main boulevard of Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku neighborhood, at the end of April to five-hour waits. Even now, waits regularly extend over an hour, but the scuttlebutt was that it was worth it for the mountains of delicious, delicious shaved ice.

We braved the lines and the brain freeze to find out the truth for you, dear readers.

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Watching Japanese people try Marmite for the first time will brighten your day [Video]

Pretty much every culture has at least one food or drink that, unless you grew up eating it, you probably don’t like. For example, the first time most foreigners try natto, Japan’s infamous fermented soy beans, the pure disgust may also make it the last time they ever try it. In the opposite direction, America’s root beer doesn’t have the best track record in Japan either.

YouTuber Chris Broad, from Abroadin Japan, has brought another such food to Japan: a traditional condiment from his homeland of the UK that is not even loved by all Brits: Marmite. As he puts it, “people tend to either love it or hate it.” With this in mind, Broad set up a camera so we could watch the reaction of Japanese people trying the polarizing food for the first time.

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Yogurt-flavored water?!? We try Suntory’s new beverage straight, mix it with booze 【Taste test】

Recently, it seems like Japanese beverage makers are all about helping us with our multitasking. First there was the sakura beer that let you enjoy a cold one and contemplate the cherry blossoms at the same time, and earlier this week it was time for a taste test of alcoholic matcha green tea.

Now, it’s time for another double-dose of drinkables, with Suntory’s just-released bottled water with the flavor of…yogurt?!?

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Vegetarian Yoshinoya? We taste test the chain’s new veggie rice bowl

Yoshinoya, Japan’s most ubiquitous domestic fast food chain, is known first and foremost for its beef bowls. So strong is the mental connection between the restaurant and gyudon, as beef bowls are called in Japanese, that Yoshinoya’s nickname among fans is Yoshigyu.

So we were surprised to hear that Yoshinoya’s newest menu item is not only beef-free, but doesn’t contain any meat at all! A vegetarian option at the king of beef bowl restaurants? Not only does it exist, but we’ve tried it.

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Alcoholic tea ceremony? We try Suntory’s new matcha green tea liquor 【Taste test】

Every now and then, after a nice, satisfying dinner, I’ll find myself with both a thirst and a quandary. Do I feel like capping the meal with a relaxing cup of tea, or something stronger?

Thanks to a new drink that just hit stores in Japan, though, I don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other, because this alcoholic beverage is made with matcha green tea powder.

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How do deep-fried frog burgers taste? We find out at Yokohama cafe 【Taste test】

Having lived in Yokohama for the past decade, I try to grab as many assignments as I can that are related to the city, as well as Kanagawa, the prefecture it’s located in. Also, as someone who gets hungry at least three times a day, I try to volunteer for as many RocketNews24 taste tests as my schedule will allow.

However, I graciously let one of my coworkers handle today’s project: heading to a cafe in Yokohama to chow down on a frog burger.

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We try the world’s first Kit Kat sandwich at First Kitchen, find out it’s like a bad date

Japan is a country serious about its Kit Kat candy bars, treating them with the respect of gourmet chocolate and putting them on top of pizza. Now the Japanese fast food chain First Kitchen has brought the world its first Kit Kat sandwich, so we of course had to try what seemed like a delicious idea. Click below for our review of the dessert and why our Kit Kat taster compared it to a bad date

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