taste test

We try Thai and Indonesian “Ethnic” Cup Noodles, one of them tastes like spicy Fruit Loops

Cup Noodles are an iconic part of the Japanese food landscape and of course they’re no stranger to the Japanese custom of adding unusual new flavors to stuff. This time around their maker Nissin has been inspired by some of their international partners and developed two flavors in the “Ethnic Series” of Cup Noodles based on Thai and Indonesian dishes.

The first one is modeled after the spicy Thai soup tom yum goong, and the other is said to resemble Indonesia’s savory noodles mie goreng. Having just been released on 14 April we went straight to the supermarket and picked them up to bring you the Asianiest taste that only a Chinese food made by a Japanese company based on South East Asian dishes can provide.

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We try Wazen, Suntory’s new beer specially designed to drink with Japanese food

Eating and drinking are two of our favorite necessary life functions, since they’re both so much more fun than sleeping and breathing. So when we heard, back in January, about a new beer from Suntory that’s specially designed to go well with Japanese food, our three months of anxious waiting until it was scheduled to go on sale started right away.

Well, spring is finally here, and we’ve just recently experienced the joys of stepping outside without an overcoat and admiring the cherry blossoms, so now it’s time for the last item on our checklist of vernal pleasures, as we sample a can of Suntory’s new Japan-centric brew, the all-malt Wazen.

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We try the adorable Krispy Kreme chick donuts convincing Japan to love Easter

Japan has wholeheartedly embraced Christmas and Halloween, but Easter is a different story. In a way, this is kind of surprising, as a holiday that gives people an excuse to dye eggs in pastel colors, eat chocolate, and even dress up like a bunny if they’re so inclined seems like it would hit the Japanese trifecta of cuteness, desserts, and cosplay.

But while Halloween and Christmas have become mainstream cultural events with decoration going up months ahead of time, Easter comes and go with such a lack of fanfare in Japan that some years we’ve completely forgotten about it until after the fact.

Thankfully, donut emporium Krispy Kreme is looking to up the celebration ante with its new chick-shaped Easter donut.

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Final Fantasy café puts spirits within you with materia cocktails, chocolate buster swords

With well over 20 years since the original Final Fantasy was released, everyone who was old enough to enjoy developer Square Enix’s hugely successful video game franchise from the very start is legally old enough to drink in Japan. So when we heard tale of a realm/café run by the company, called Artnia, where we could combine our passions for role-playing games and alcoholic beverages, we were intrigued, and when rumors reached us of chocolate buster swords, we were out the door.

Our journey took us through pitch black tunnels, subterranean cities, and secluded forests, but we persevered, and have returned to tell all of our adventures.

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We drink Japan’s spaghetti popsicle (seriously)

Don’t worry everybody, we’re fine. We didn’t suffer a stroke halfway through writing this article’s title, and the RocketNews24 offices haven’t been violently seized by half-literate chimpanzees with a penchant for prose (we make a protection payment of a bunch of bananas each week to the simian mafia to prevent just such a thing).

Spaghetti-flavored popsicles really do exist in Japan, though, and we decided to melt one down to see what would happen.

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We test the taste of the King’s Dog from Burger King

And now, due to popular demand, we have the taste test you’ve all been waiting for: the King’s Dog from Burger King. Ever since news of the hot dog offering from the fast food burger chain was released, we’d been anticipating its arrival. Boasting an extra-large sausage 2.5 times the thickness of a regular Burger King hot dog, we bought one of each to really see how the King’s Dog weighs up.

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Tokyo café says the best ice cream topping is two more ice cream cones

Today, let’s take a moment to ponder a serious question: what’s the best sundae topping? The old stand-by of a dash of sprinkles? A handful of chopped nuts for a little crunch and texture? Or do you find the idea of all that empty-calorie decadence troubling enough that it threatens to ruin the fun, so your vote goes to a few pieces of fruit?

We say the correct answer is none of the above. For our money, the best way to crown your parfait is with a whole ice cream cone. Of course, some of our more sarcastic readers may ask, “Yeah, smart guy? Well then what do you put on top of the ice cream cone?”

Another ice cream cone, obviously. Did you even have to ask?

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Mint chocolate beer sounds great, but how does it taste? We find out

Every year at Valentine’s Day, a slew of limited-edition chocolates are rolled out in Japan, where following the local custom, women give gifts to men. Unfortunately, while there are indeed plenty of guys with a sweet tooth, few of them really want candies shaped like butterflies and rosebuds.

Thankfully, there are a handful of more masculine alternatives, such as the Final Fantasy chocolates we recently introduced you to. But you know what’s even more manly than a video game about a dude killing monsters with a giant sword while his hot martial artist girlfriend cheers him on? Booze. Which is why today we’re knocking back a mint chocolate beer.

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Costco Japan’s bulgogi bake is a melting pot of deliciousness

For the most part, grocery shopping in the Tokyo area is a small-scale affair. The majority of shoppers go to the store on foot and carry their purchases home, meaning that each residential neighborhood has a number of small markets to ensure consumers don’t have to lug their bags more than a few blocks.

However, with a little over 15 years’ experience since opening its first store in Japan, mega retailer Costco has converted a number of the locals to its “bigger is better” philosophy. As you’d expect, Costco gives customers in Japan the chance to save by buying in large quantities, and also serves up hot meals in its food court, just like in other countries.

One thing that’s different about the food court at Costco in Japan, though, is the menu, which includes a Korean fusion item called the bulgogi bake.

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Historic Los Angeles donut shop makes our trip across the sea completely worthwhile

In many ways, Japan is a wonderland of desserts, a place with cherry blossom lattes, roasted tea parfaits, and even suicide-themed bean cakes. Still, the country is rather lacking when it comes to donuts. The indigenous Mr. Donut chain has branches all over, but while their products are indeed tasty, they’re usually a little on the bland side.

If you want the full-fledged flavor of an authentic donut, you’ve got to visit one of the American outfits in Japan, such as Krispy Kreme or Donut Plant. Unfortunately, Donut Plant locations are few and far between, and the lines at Japan’s Krispy Kremes are ridiculously long, so there’s no way for us to get our hands on the real deal without a bit of time and travel.

Since we’d already tossed subtlety out the window as far as flavor is concerned, we decided to do the same for the scale of our search for donut satisfaction. We hopped on a plane, leaving the Land of the Rising Sun and heading for the Land of the Ring-Shaped Cake, America.

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Burger King has apple burgers (and cocktails) in Japan, and we’ve got them in our bellies

Even as someone who can always appreciate a tasty hamburger, there’s a quandary I face whenever I go out to satisfy my beef-based sandwich needs. Your standard burger gives you plenty of protein from the meat, some nice carbs from the bread, and even a scattering of veggies between the buns, but it’s hard to get your fruit fix at a burger emporium.

Or, more accurately, it was, until Burger King Japan started offering two hamburgers with slices of grilled apple. We traveled to one of Burger King’s branches in Yokohama to try both on the day of their release, but they weren’t the only discoveries waiting for us. So come along with us as we present the ABCs (apples, booze, and couches) that make Burger King different in Japan.

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