food

Japan’s oldest sushi train serves up unorthodox Blueberry Cream Sushi

Around the internet there is a Japanese term, majikichi, which is short for “Maji de kichigai jimiteru kara yamero” or “Stop because you seriously seem to be losing your mind”. Needless to say it’s a convenient word.

Perhaps a good example of majikichi is in the sushi world. With all of Japan’s less traditional sushi restaurants known as “sushi trains” competing for people’s attention, they often come out with some eye-catching toppings, and sometimes things go too far.

In the true spirit of journalism, our reporter Nakano has been out and about finding the most majikichi sushi in the land from bacon sushi to rice omelet sushi. Now his travels bring him to Japan’s first ever sushi train chain Genki Sushi and their latest offering: Blueberry Cream Sushi.

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McDonald’s attempts to lure back customers with open kitchen concept in Japan

It’s no secret that McDonald’s Japan has been on a slippery slope following several food safety scandals in recent years. In 2014, the fast food giant reported its first annual loss in 11 years, which amounted to 21.84 billion yen (around US$176 million).

In an effort to restore trust and reaffirm their commitment to quality assurance, the fast food chain recently fitted out two stores in Japan with an “open kitchen” design, allowing customers to get an inside view of operations to see just how orders are made, from start to finish.

But will this be enough to bring customers back to the golden arches?

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Pixar alters Inside Out’s visuals for Japanese release, removes broccoli

If you’re an anime purist, you’ve probably watched at least one title with a localization choice that rubbed you the wrong way. Maybe you were irked by Sailor Moon’s Usagi being called “meatball head” on American T.V. instead of “dango/dumpling head.” More recently, you might have wondered why Doraemon’s central family ditched all their chopsticks and now eat their Japanese food with forks in their U.S. appearances.

But localization runs in the other direction, too, and it’s just come to light that Pixar has altered part of the artwork in several scenes of Inside Out solely for the film’s Japanese release.

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Sweet frog hat-wearing pup is a totally edible yuru-kyara available from one place in Japan only

Yuru-kyara, or regional promotional mascots, are so ubiquitous in Japan it can sometimes be hard to recall which one’s which, where they’re from, or even what type of brand or product they’re promoting.

Over 1,000 mascots represent different regions in Japan, which means the need to leave a lasting impression is a constant driving force in the creation of cute products like the sweet puppy above. Can you guess which region he represents and the even more unusual place where he can be found?

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Is super-salty Tokyo ramen too much umami for foreign tastes? 【Video】

Ramen is the ultimate Japanese hunger-busting food. With its combination of greasy, fatty soup combined with carb-heavy noodles, it’s the perfect meal for when you’re REALLY hungry in Tokyo (or just really hungover.) But that doesn’t mean that this taste is for everyone. In fact, there’re probably a lot of people out there who just can’t handle that heavy hit of garlicky, salty grease.

Our Japan Wish competition winner Ashley mentioned in her winning video entry that she really wanted to get a taste of Tokyo ramen. We accompanied her to Ramen Jiro to watch as her tastebuds tangled with the pungent umami of a bowl of their finest slurping fare. Unfortunately, Ashley soon realised that the reality of the truly salty ramen might be a little hard to swallow – along with the actual ramen itself! Check out our video report!

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McDonald’s France serving up a McFlurry mess, Japanese customer not impressed

McDonald’s Japan has seen its profits tumble over the last year especially, mostly due to safety concerns after tainted meat was found to be have been used in some of its products. The situation is not nearly as dire over in Europe, but if the following tweet is to believed, it seems McDonald’s staff in France could work on their food presentation skills.

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Sushi dreamer now hankering for hamburger – Most nonsensical gacha toy yet?

Back in January, we introduced you to a series of gachapon toys that featured a young lady so smitten with sushi she wanted to be completely wrapped up in it. It seems she has moved on from that culinary fixation. Now she wants to soak in a carbonated beverage jacuzzi and be slathered in catsup at a fast food burger joint.

Allow me to present Moso Oneesan Hamburger Shop, or The Daydreaming Girl’s Hamburger Shop.

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Hello Kitty dim sum restaurant serving up dishes of cuteness in Hong Kong

For diehard Hello Kitty fans, no trip to Hong Kong is complete without a visit to the Hello Kitty dim sum restaurant. On a recent trip there, I had to go and check it out for myself. So it was that on a Saturday night I dined alone on some ridiculously cute Hello Kitty Chinese cuisine.

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Sushi shop in Tokyo has no name, passes savings on to you with 10-yen sushi!

In Yoyogi, Tokyo, there stands an unnamed sushi shop which sells impressively crafted sushi at rock-bottom prices. It’s a fairly new restaurant, known to locals as “The Sushi Shop With No Name” or “That Sushi Shop That Still Doesn’t Have A Name.”

To us, it became known as “The Place That Serves Yellowtail Sushi For Only 10 Yen (US$0.08) A Piece!” Granted, that’s not the catchiest of names, especially with the conversion to US dollars, but it’s definitely enticing.

And so, our resident sushi expert Mr. Sato set out to find this shop with no name and see if their quality also makes this a place worth visiting.

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Japanese marshmallow omelette: A real thing you can (and should) make right away 【Rocket Kitchen】

Recipes with marshmallows instead of sugar have soared in popularity online in Japan recently. We love marshmallows, so we’re hardly about to complain — so soft! so sweet! — and the rise in popularity even got the attention of some our Japanese writers, who decided to try out a recipe using marshmallows.

And what is the recipe? Cooked eggs!

Wait, cooked eggs and marshmallows? This really can’t turn out well…can it?! Read on to find out!

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Who needs bread when you have fried chicken? Try all of your comfort foods revamped by KFC

Does anyone out there still adhere to the low-carb diet? You know, the one where you have to give up all sorts of bread-y goodness under the presumption that carbohydrates make you fat, and that upping the protein in your diet would somehow help you to lose weight? Well, if you’re in to that sort of torture, fast food chain KFC may have something for you, as stores worldwide have put out various twists on old favorites by replacing burger and hot dog buns with chicken, and now KFCs in the Philippines are upping the game with their new, extremely limited crustless chicken pizza.

And sorry, low-carbers, we lied. As breaded, deep-fried chicken isn’t exactly a proper alternative, you may want to turn away now to avoid temptation. Everyone else, you may proceed to the wonder that is the “Chizza“.

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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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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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Celebrate the incoming Attack on Titan movie with a suitably colossal Oreo cookie 【Recipe】

With less than a month to go before the release of the live-action Attack on Titan film in Japan, related merchandise and tie-in collaborations have brought us everything from point cards to hot dogs in recent days.

Whether you’re anxiously awaiting the movie’s opening date here in Japan or further abroad, there’s one way everyone can join in the celebrations: with a giant Oreo cookie. Check out the delicious recipe after the jump, complete with all the mouth-watering step-by-step details. A snack this sweet and giant-sized is sure to stop any Colossal Titan in its tracks!

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I scream, you scream, we all scream at “Soft Susheam”

If you’re thinking that one “would have to be out of their ever-lovin’ mind to mix sushi and soft serve ice cream,” then you’re not alone; that’s exactly what our reporter Nakano thought when he spotted an item called “Soft Susheam” on the menu of an Iwasaka sushi train restaurant in Okayama City. And yet, like a moth to a flame, he found himself unable to resist its lure.

Could something which sounded like a cross between soft-serve ice cream and sushi – two foods which, when served alone, have always been true crowd-pleasers – really work? Nakano simply had to find out.

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We scarf down all-you-can-eat fried chicken at a Tokyo pub

Let it never again be said that America is the only country that has an unhealthy relationship with fried foods.

While you may not find such cynically, blatantly unhealthy fare as fried butter and fried Oreos  here in Japan, you will find that many square meals consumed in Japan are going to come with some kind of fried food. A lot of times the default is karaage, a dish that is basically the Japanese analogue to American fried chicken, and an item that Japanophiles the world over desperately, vainly argue is somehow healthier than American fried chicken by virtue of its, uh… Japanese-ness or something?

The truth is, karaage is every bit as unhealthy as fried chicken from anywhere else and the Japanese are just as prone to gorging on it to the point of discomfort. Don’t believe us? Exhibit A: This all-you-can-eat fried chicken restaurant we went to for, uh… “research purposes.”

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Fermented sushi? Two restaurants where you can get a same-day seat to try this gourmet treat

This year fermented sushi is in vogue among Tokyo’s gourmet crowd, with people raving about how the maturation of the fish brings out the elusive umami of the meatAs the name suggests, the creation of these dishes involves fermenting the ingredients to enhance the flavours and then using them to make regular sushi. This might sound strange since sushi is usually about having the freshest raw fish, but it’s actually an ancient form of sushi preparation from which the sushi we know today developed, and it’s apparently quite delicious.

However, as it requires great skill to properly ferment fish, there are currently few restaurants in the Tokyo area that specialise in this kind of food, and they’re already booked up by gourmet types leaving you to wait months before you can get a place. However, we’ve found two particular restaurants where you should be able to get a same-day reservation.

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All-you-can-eat stinky fermented soybeans come to Ginza, if that’s your thing

Spend a while in Japan, and at some point you’ll no doubt encounter natto, sticky, stinky fermented soybeans that often get served over rice for breakfast. This polarizing food has its superfans and impassioned detractors among Japanese and foreigners alike, but if you happen to be in the former camp, you should know there is an all-you-can-eat premium natto pop-up bar in Tokyo’s Ginza this weekend.

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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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