Slimy, sticky, and stinky – natto is a triumvirate of all the things picky eaters are likely to find unpalatable. While these fermented beans are actually incredibly good for your health (being rich in vitamins and fibre), they’re nonetheless something that even most Japanese people don’t like eating. But now there’s a new miracle product which claims to make natto perfectly tasty and edible, even for die-hard natto haters.
When you think of gyoza, those traditionally Chinese parcels of meaty, vegetable-y goodness that go so perfectly with a frosty mug of beer, do you imagine they’re more likely to appeal to dainty, health-conscious ladies, or undiscerning, ravenous salarymen? Whilst undeniably delicious, gyoza are generally seen as an unrefined food option – good for a quick stuffing, but hardly haute cuisine. That’s all set to change with the invention of “Happy Maru“, a range of colorful boiled gyoza “dumplings” infused with beautifying collagen and polyphenols for the health and beauty-conscious modern woman. But just what’s so different about them?
Japan sure loves its plastic replica food. It’s a handy way for restaurants to demonstrate the dishes on offer, and it’s an absolute godsend for tourists who don’t read Japanese. Instead of grappling with menus written in complicated characters, they can simply point at the tasty plastic versions. In recent years, however, plastic food has found its way toward decorating all sorts of objects, from phone cases to accessories. We think that things might have gotten a bit out of hand, however, because now you can apparently wear a serving of plastic food around your neck. Join us after the jump to see the whole range!
Throughout the world, Britain is known for many things–great music, excellent literature, and sexy men. One thing the country isn’t known for, though, is their good food. In fact, if you ask nearly anyone what they think of British food they’ll probably stick their tongues out and make gagging noises.
It’s a bit unfair, but even in Tokyo–where you can find restaurants serving cuisine from all over the globe–the closest you’ll find to British food is a pub. Although, we have to admit, our friends from the Queen’s country at least know how to serve a good drink.
Recently, though, Mr. Sato and Yoshio, both writers for the Japanese side of RocketNews24, got their hands on a carton of Pot Noodle, a brand of instant noodles so awful “it was voted the ‘most hated brand’ in the UK in a 2004 poll.” And what did our Japanese colleagues think of these awful noodles?
A word of caution: you probably don’t want to be reading this on an empty stomach. We can almost guarantee that will lead to some very bad dining decisions.
So, go ahead and fill yourself up on a nice, healthy salad with some light dressing. We’ll wait.
All set? Good. Because we’re about to present to you some of the most epic food porn you’ll ever see coming out of Japan, where the stereotype has always been tiny, unsatisfying portions of delicately flavored dishes and subtle seasonings. And for those reading from within Japan and rather enjoying the unexpected weight loss after adopting the local cuisine, we’re very sorry for alerting you to the existence of these dishes:
In the first two articles of our three-part series on interesting ways to enjoy Kyoto based on my recent visit to the popular tourist city, I have already written about an attractive place to stay and a fascinating historic site to visit. In the third and final article of the series, I thought I would introduce a restaurant where you can have a truly unique dining experience, because of course, no trip to Kyoto would be complete without tasting the numerous culinary delights the city has to offer. The restaurant I visited was Hyotei, a famous establishment with a long history that specializes in Japanese kaiseki cuisine. And what is so unique about dining there? Well, for starters, you can have a breakfast rice porridge dish (asagayu) that costs 4,500 yen (US$45)!
Japanese kitchens are not the warm, oven-centred hubs that many westerners are used to. The majority of people here get by with a grill/broiler, a couple of gas burners and maybe a handful of kitchen devices like a rice cooker or, if they’re really swish, a bread maker.
True, more expensive microwave ovens often have an “oven” setting, allowing half-baked (sorry) chefs to cook things like pizzas and simple cakes and cookies, but since most microwaves are limited in size you can forget about cooking anything like a whole chicken or a nice ham around Christmas time.
Although vertically-loading toasters are few and far between, small toaster ovens like the one pictured above are very popular in Japan, and, as we’re about to see, can be put to incredible use so long as there’s a little creativity involved.
So, if you’re a foreigner arriving in Japan and bemoaning the lack of a gas oven like you had back home, feast your eyes on some of the mouth-watering creations that clever Japanese toaster oven users have put together.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Hungry students and budgeting businespeople! Have we got a great deal for you! Yoshinoya’s gyūdon beef bowls – made with the same USA beef, rice, onion and delicious marinade as ever – is available for just 250 yen!
This isn’t a special offer. This isn’t for a limited time only. This is 24 hours a day, seven-days-a-week wallet-friendly value. Available at a number of special Tsukiji Yoshinoya restaurants, for just US$3, you can have a big, hearty warming dish of rice and beef, guaranteed to warm your soul and fill you up until your next meal.
Our top dog Kuzo headed out to try the beef bowl for himself, and he can confirm that this is the same Yoshinoya grub that we know and love, for 130 yen ($1.60) less than normal!
As icky as it sounds to many of us brought up in Western cultures, the human consumption of insects is common in many parts of the world.
Most Japanese people are on the same page as the rest of the developed world in thinking of bugs as unappetizing—not to mention creepy, gross, and/or scary— little creatures that have no place in the home, and especially not on the dinner plate.
However, there are some rural regions of Japan where insects are are a local delicacy, and have been so for centuries. In Nagano, the prefecture this writer calls home, you can walk into any supermarket and expect to find plastic packs of grasshopper (inago) or stonefly larva (suzumushi) boiled in soy sauce, and sometimes even read-to-eat packs of boiled wasp larva mixed in with rice (hachinoko-gohan).
In the cities, eating bugs is still taboo, and even in rural areas insect cuisine is now considered fringe cuisine, especially among the younger generations. But in Tokyo, there is a group of people who believe that bugs just need to be given a chance, which is why they are hosting what is now the 4th annual Tokyo Insect Eating Festival (Tokyo Mushikui Festival) on November 23.