taste test

Cherry blossom beer. Taste test. Need we say more?

After three months of cold weather, I’m ready for spring. Coincidentally, after a long week of work, I’m ready for a beer.

Lucky me, these two desires have dovetailed perfectly in the form of Kanagawa Prefecture microbrewer Sankt Gallen’s newest offering, made with the petals of the harbinger of Japanese spring, cherry blossoms. So strap on your drinking caps, because it’s time for the sakura beer taste test!

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Häagen-Dazs releases new mochi ice cream, and it’s amazing! 【Taste test】

There are a ton of different ways to eat mochi, with roasting it or dropping it into soup or hot pots being some of the more common. Outside of Japan, though, many people’s first encounter with mochi is in the form of ice cream-filled mochi spheres sold at specialty grocers.

But while they make a tasty treat, what would happen if you reversed the process, and instead of putting ice cream in mochi, put mochi into ice cream? That’s the question posed by Häagen-Dazs new kinako kuromitsu mochi ice cream, and we’re here with the answer.

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We try one ekiben shop’s three most popular bento boxes- out of a selection of 170 kinds

On March 14, the new extension of the Nagano Shinkansen line will open, connecting Toyama and Ishikawa Prefectures to Tokyo. This is exciting news for Chubu region locals and Tokyoites alike, as the trip from the northern central prefectures to Tokyo will take a mere 2.5 hours, so everyone is preparing for some fun day trips!

What’s the best part of Shinkansen day trips (other than effortlessly speeding through beautiful Japanese countryside)? Ekiben! Ekiben are lunch boxes sold in train stations, specifically to be taken on long train rides. One of our Tokyo-based writers visited a famous ekiben shop, which sells over 170 bento box options and ate the top three kinds. Do they deserve their rankings at the top?

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Mini bakeable Kit Kats return — this time in cheesecake flavor! 【Taste Test】

Some of our readers are undoubtedly aware that we here at RocketNews24 are quite fond of Kit Kats. And while we’re used to seeing the popular chocolate snack in an array of interesting flavors, we have to say we were genuinely intrigued when we heard about “bakeable” Kit Kats last year, as were many other Kit Kat fans across Japan, judging from the fact that the unique sweet attracted enough attention to be turned into pizzas.  Now, the bakeabke Kit Kats have returned, and in a new flavor to boot! Of course, we weren’t about to be kept away from such sweetness.  Join us as we try the new “Bake ‘N Tasty Mini Kit Kats Cheesecake Flavor” (Kit Kat Mini Yaite Oishi Cheesecake Aji)!

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Peach-scented and flavored strawberries seriously trip us up, still taste deliciously sweet

As I’m currently teaching at a high school, I already have plenty of teenagers trying to do things like change the due dates of their assignmentsmess in order to mess with my brain, thank you very much. The last thing I need is for my fruit to try to do the same…so imagine my frustration when I learned that there’s a place in Japan where you can buy strawberries pretending to be peaches (or is it the other way around!?)!

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Wasabi and sashimi bagels on sale now in Japan! We buy some and invent the Japanese dip sandwich

I’ve never been much of a bagel fan. It’s got nothing to do with a dislike of carbs, as I’ll happily chow down on sandwiches, rice bowls, and noodles. Bagels, though, have always struck me as sort of bland.

Sure, I realize there are ways to make bagels more flavorful, but a lot of the most common additions, like berries or cream cheese, don’t really do much for me. But when I found out that one of Japan’s most popular bagel chains was adding a kick to their offerings with a wasabi bagel, my interest was piqued. Then, when I learned that they also offered a bagel sandwich with tuna sashimi, my next meal was planned.

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We try the new 1,500-yen Kobe beef burger from Lotteria 【Taste Test】

Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria‘s newest luxury burger has finally landed, and it features legendary Kobe beef made from special livestock reared on pure water and premium feed. Kobe beef is of such renown that there are even rumours that cattle from the area are allowed to sip on beer, listen to fine music and enjoy a good massage so that their meat tastes simply divine.

So what would the fast food version of this luxury beef taste like? We were so curious we had to swing by Lotteria to pick up one of the new Kobe beef burgers as soon as they were released. Check out all the delicious details after the jump!

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How many do you know? 12 delicious foods in Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores

When you think of Japanese food, you likely think of sushi, ramen, or udon–all excellent choices! You might even find your mouth watering at thoughts of monjayaki or anko ice cream, but there may be a few that you’re not so familiar with. Today, we’re going to look at 12 lesser-known foods–and what one of our intrepid writers thought about them!

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We try beer with whipped cream on top…because we’re fancy

It’s been said that younger generations of drinkers in Japan just aren’t that into beer anymore. With them opting instead for cheaper and sweeter cocktails, good old ale (or ale-flavored stuff) is gradually being pushed aside.

However, our intrepid reporter Meg has found a way to reinvent beer to younger folks appealing to their sweet-tooths. It comes from South Korea where it’s called “Saengkeulim Maegju” or “Cream Beer” and is basically beer with some whipped cream on top. It’s so easy you can make it at home…so we did!

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Cheese & Pizza chocolate!? We force-feed our coworkers the weirdest Japanese snack ever

Tirol chocolate has been around in Japan for as long as any of us can remember. Super tasty, available in dozens of flavours, and cheap enough even for elementary school kids to buy with their pocket-money, you’ll find these tiny squares of goodness in pretty much any convenience store or supermarket up and down the country. Occasionally, Tirol (or chiroru as it’s pronounced in Japanese) will release a handful of limited-edition flavours, fusing sweets like custard pudding and tiramisu together with their tasty choco to create unusual, moreish combinations.

But every now and then, they’ll try something really, really strange. Like Cheese & Pizza chocolate.

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Baymax mitarashi dango: The best rice dumplings you can buy or Disney-themed choking hazard?

While not everyone in Japan quite knew what to expect from Disney’s newest hit Big Hero 6 (or Baymax, as it’s known over here), it hasn’t stopped audiences from loving the film. Or sobbing through half of it like big babies. (That wasn’t just me, right?) So, it was hardly a surprise when I spotted Baymax mitrashi dango at convenience store chain FamilyMart. And, being the curious person I am, it also wasn’t really a surprise when I found myself buying a pack just to see what they taste like!

Check out our review of the Baymax mitarashi dango and see if you’ll want to pick up a pack for yourself before you head to the theater!

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We eat the Resident Evil curry, discover it’s very tasty, not at all itchy 【Taste test】

It might be hard to imagine, what the guns-blazing nature of its live-action film adaptations and later video game sequels, but the original PlayStation Biohazard, retitled Resident Evil for its overseas release, was remarkably stingy with its weapons and ammo. Having to make the most of every bullet meant waiting until enemies were as close as possible before deciding whether or not to fire, but being a fraction of a second too late let the game’s powerful zombies tear into your tasty human flesh.

As such, smart players always kept a green healing herb on themselves, to help fill up their life meter. Now, survival horror fans can use green herbs to fill up their stomachs, as Biohazard curry is now on sale in Japan. Curious to know whether a dish based on a game featuring flesh-eating monsters could ever be truly tasty, we grabbed a pack for ourselves.

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We examine, sort thousands of grains of rice to test manga-approved cooking method 【Video】

Preparing a delicious bowl of rice is an absolutely essential part of Japanese cuisine, and fortunately for most amateur cooks today’s modern rice cookers have made that task as simple as pressing as button.

While these handy machines can whip up a tasty bowl of rice with little to no effort, we wanted to try out a time-consuming cooking method we learned from the popular food-themed manga Oishinbo. In it, one of the main characters painstakingly examines and sorts each grain of rice to prepare what is described as “a taste you won’t forget in 15 years.” But is all that hard work worth it?

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“You will need courage!”: We try a sweetfish hot dog

Salt fish hot dog! If you think a word (or two) needs dropping from that sentence, think again.

For a limited time only, a crisp, salty whole sweetfish – in a bun! – can be yours to enjoy at Kyoto Aquarium. Yep. At the aquarium. I don’t know about you, but after looking at aquatic creatures all day I’m not really in the mood for fish…

Not so our reporter Yuuichiro, who was so excited to hear about the fish dog that he headed down to the aquarium cafe and put together this photo review for us! This is his report, eyeballs and all.

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We try ramen from a can on the backstreets of Tokyo【Taste Test】

Akihabara has a well-deserved reputation as having Japan’s highest concentration of anime and video game shops, not to mentioned maid cafes. There’s one other thing it’s known for, though, and that’s weird vending machines.

And no, we’re not talking about Japan’s fabled panty vending machines, but rather automated sales of odd canned food. A few years back, Akihabara came to be known as the place to score canned bread. Next came the canned oden craze.

On a recent trip to the Tokyo neighborhood, however, we stumbled across something we’d never seen before when we spotted a vending machine that spits out hot cans of pre-cooked ramen.

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We take Doraemon home and eat him (in cream bun form)【Taste test】

To get an idea of just what a huge cultural icon Doraemon is in Japan, all you have to do is take a look at the theatrical versions of the anime robot cat’s adventures. The first Doraemon movie was released in 1980, and a new film in the franchise has hit Japanese theatres like clockwork every year since, with the lone exception of 2005. Perhaps in apology for the tiny break in the streak, Doraemon’s producers gave us two films this year. The second just premiered this month, and even though Stand by Me Doraemon is the 35th movie in the series, it still breaks new ground by being the first to be computer-animated.

CG isn’t the only new frontier the beloved character is challenging though, as he’s going one more place he’s never been before: our bellies, in the form of the Doraemon cream bun.

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We try Japan’s most exclusive beer at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka【Taste test】

In recent years, Japan’s gotten pretty into craft brewing. A few of the more prominent brands can be tracked down at specialty liquor stores in major cities like Tokyo, but many smaller outfits don’t have anything close to a national distribution network. For example, if you’re in the mood for a nice Doppo or Miyajima Beer, you’re looking at a trip out to Okayama or Hiroshima, respectively.

Still, most Japanese microbrews aren’t too hard to get your hands on, as long as you’re in the city, or at least the prefecture, where they’re made. Recently, though, we tried what might be the most exclusive beer in Japan, which is served in one place only, inside the U.S. naval base in the city of Yokosuka.

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McDonald’s Japan just released Tofu Nuggets, and they taste… 【Taste Test】

Just days after the taking Chicken McNuggets off its menu in the light of the China food scandal, McDonald’s Japan has unveiled a brand new, rather unusual product: Tofu Shinjo Nuggets and Ginger Sauce, a combination of bean curd, fish and vegetables shaped into bite-size pieces and deep-fried.

Turning to tofu–a food that has long been a favourite in Japan and known for its health benefits–is certainly a wise move, and McDonald’s is undoubtedly in need of something new to entice customers back with, but while we’ve no doubt all craved deep-fried chicken at some point in our lives, we’d hazard a guess that very few have ever longed for a box of tofu nuggets at the end of a night on the town.

Curious cats that we are, we headed over to our local McDonald’s to grab a few boxes of the new nuggets. Join us after the jump to find out how they taste.

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10 obscure Japanese vending machine drinks that fly under the beverage radar

With the rainy season over and done, we’ve been seeing day after day of scorching sunshine here in the Tokyo area. If you’re spending much time outdoors, whether sightseeing or just commuting to and from work or school, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids, since it’s the best way to ward off dehydration.

Thankfully, Japan is covered in vending machines, so you’re never too far away from a cold, refreshing beverage. Of course, you can only knock back so many bottles of Coca-Cola before getting bored with the flavor, so we’ve scoured the streets of Tokyo and came back with no fewer than 10 vending machine drinks that fly under the radar in Japan.

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Watermelon bagels arrive in Japan, then in our bellies【Taste test】

There’s a lot that I love about summer. The additional hours of daylight, awesome fireworks festivals, and the chance to wear a summer kimono are all big plusses in my book.

Still, even I have to admit Japan can get uncomfortably hot at this time of year. A cold beer or cup of sake are both refreshing ways of beating the heat, but there are times when chilled alcohol isn’t an option, such as when I have non-drinking related work to do and/or am already hung-over.

So in order to stay both sober and cool, I eat as much watermelon as I can every summer. And while I don’t think Japanese chain Bagel & Bagel designed their new watermelon bagel just for me, I figured I’m still in the target demographic, and decided to try it out.

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