food

Cup of noodles for vegans! Japanese Zen Buddhist temple starts selling instant soba and udon

Upon coming to Japan, a lot of people are surprised to discover just how difficult finding vegetarian food can be. Many people imagine Japan as a country that eats very little meat, and while that’s definitely true in comparison to North America and western Europe, the flipside is that you’ll find at least a little bit of meat in just about all dishes, including salads and vegetable stews with surprising frequency.

Things get trickier still if you’re trying to stick to a vegan diet. Even something as simple as noodles are generally out, since almost all broths are made with meat or fish stock. But if you’ve got an aversion to meat coupled with a craving for soba or udon, you’re in luck, with two new types of vegan instant noodles produced by a Zen Buddhist temple.

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“It all came out?” Debate ensues over whether schoolgirl ad is just talking about mayonnaise

A teen model smiles sweetly at the camera. Deftly using her hands, she produces a considerable volume of white, goopy liquid. Then she turns to the camera and asks, innocently, “It all came out?”

Fetish video, or commercial for mayonnaise-topped noodles? According to some people in Japan, it’s sort of both.

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Fried chicken teams up with instant ramen in this cup of noodles fit for a king

There’s a popular Japanese TV show whose protagonist, a wandering gourmet with a healthy appetite, often finds himself looking over a restaurant menu while trying to make an agonizing decision about which of two tempting entrees to order. Often, he resolves the crisis by following the advice encapsulated by his catchphrase, “When you can’t decide which to eat, have both.”

That also seems to be the philosophy behind Nissin Foods’ newest product: instant ramen with fried chicken.

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Oh… yummy! New snack to hit Japan: giant isopod senbei rice crackers!

We’ve already mentioned how fond we are of deep sea creatures here in Japan, in particular the giant isopod that has been turned into various products from phone cases to gachapon toys. Well, now it seems that Yamaki Honpo, a maker of traditional Japanese senbei (rice crackers), has taken the Japanese love of isopods to new heights. They’ve come up with … yes, you guessed it, Giant Isopod senbei crackers! And while we can certainly understand how people might find these creatures fascinating, we have to say, we’re honestly not sure how to react to this new snack. Bug crackers, seriously?

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Five simple ways to take your curry rice to the next level

Curry rice is the perfect Japanese comfort food. It’s hearty, filling, sweet and just a little bit spicy, being a much milder version of Indian curry introduced to Japan by way of the British (you’re welcome, Japan!).

One of the best things about curry rice is how easy it is to customise it. You can subtly alter the flavour of the sauce by adding honey, apples, or even chocolate, and you can switch up serving methods by swapping the rice for udon or ramen. You can pour it over deep-fried pork katsu or seafood, or throw in all kinds of vegetables… the possibilities are endless!

But if you’re looking for ways to really step up your curry game, then we recommend trying some of these tips and tricks from professional curry chefs…

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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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Tokyo chain puts french fries on soba noodles, proves dreams really can come true

Ramen burgers. Bulgogi tacos. Cronuts. Sometimes the stars align and the gods see fit to bless the world with visionary new dishes–the kind that make people say, “Is that even possible?” Eventually, those same people end up wondering why no one came up with the concept sooner.

One of our Japanese writers was able to experience the joy of culinary experimentation firsthand during a recent trip to Tokyo’s Nadai Fuji Soba, which is now serving… wait for it… French fry soba! Though at first glance you might think someone spilled their Happy Meal over a plate of noodles, the tasty result is sure to make you a believer.

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With new branded correction tape, you’ll be making mistakes on purpose!

The great thing about computers is how easy it is to fix your mistakes. Make a typo while writing an email? Just use the backspace key and you’re done! Much easier than using a pen and paper (ask your parents, kids) where you’d have to either start all over or grab some whiteout and leave the page an ugly mess.

While we can’t help you stop making mistakes, we can help you enjoy them more! With this new white-out tape from Sun Star, you can now hide your Freudian pen slips with donuts, hamburgers or even coffee!

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New magic powder purports to make natto edible even for bean-haters

Slimy, sticky, and stinkynatto 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.

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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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Drew Barrymore arrives in Japan, begins quest to eat all of Tokyo’s delicious food 【Photos】

We recently looked at a commercial in which model Miranda Kerr gives in to the temptation of a mouth-watering tonkatsu pork cutlet lunch. Kerr isn’t the only celebrity with a craving for Japanese cuisine, though.

Drew Barrymore is in Japan right now, and while we’re sure she’s got some sightseeing and interviews on her schedule, what she seems most fired up about is the food, as the actress looks to be on a mission to sample all that Tokyo has to offer her taste buds, from cheap ramen joints to Michelin-ranked fine dining.

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Abashiri: Home of Japan’s Prison Museum, Prison Cafeteria, and Prison Beer

Hokkaido, Japan’s rural, northernmost island, has a wealth of tourist attractions. But while most travelers spend their time enjoying the natural beauty of the region’s mountains, forests, and oceans, visitors to the city of Abashiri often spend their time in a very different way.

That’s because in contrast to the sense of freedom Hokkaido’s wide-open vistas are so evocative of, Abashiri is home to the Abashiri Prison Museum. Aside from exhibits on the history of incarceration, the museum also has a cafeteria, where diners can eat a recreation of modern Japanese prison food, and even knock back a bottle of Abashiri Prison Stout beer.

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Fans break confectioner’s website in scramble for “kiss-flavored” candies from dating sim hotties

Last Saturday was White Day, the annual Japanese celebration in which men give gifts to women who gave them gifts for Valentine’s Day. As such, confectioners rolled out a huge selection of special offerings for the occasion, and while chocolate is a perennial favorite, shoppers could also choose from strawberry, green tea, cherry blossom, and a variety of other gourmet options.

Among female dating simulator fans, though, the big hit flavor this year seems to have been “kisses.” No, not Hershey’s Kisses, but candy that actually claims to tastes like locking lips with one of six virtual boyfriends. Even stranger, gamers were clamoring to buy them even though no one really knows what “kiss-flavored” means, except that apparently the anime-style heartthrobs’ kisses don’t taste like shellfish.

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Three years of character bento, Part 3: Countdown to graduation and everyone’s final reactions

Since March is the month for graduations in Japan, the final part of this series will focus on the character bento mom’s “Countdown to Graduation” bentos made for her younger daughter in high school, along with another round of familiar characters! (If you missed the past two posts, you can find them here and here).

As the telltale cherry blossoms get ready to bloom, and as young folks all around Japan prepare to close a chapter in their lives so that they can embark upon a new one, Kaori cooks up lunches that are full of not only protein and attitude but also parental advice for the future! We’ll also share some information on her book, her last thoughts regarding the immense project, and—wait, is that a token of appreciation from her laconic yet demanding daughter?!

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First ever Easter Kit Kats in Japan feature 13 types of carrot-flavoured cuteness

Kit Kats in Japan are well-known for their creative designs and flavours, including limited releases for annual events and holidays such as Christmas, Halloween and even the cherry blossom viewing season.

Until now, there was one special holiday that always went unnoticed: Easter. This year, Nestle Japan are releasing their first ever Easter range, with a clever play on words that ties the religious festival to the month of April, the start of the Japanese school and business year.

According to Nestle, Easter is an ii sutaato, which means “good start” in Japanese. And with these gorgeous apple pie and carrot flavoured chocolates on the market, it looks like it’s going to be a very good start indeed.

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“60-Minute Candy” is closest we’ll get to Wonka’s “Everlasting Gobstopper,” good for diets, too!

A new diet product has been catching on in Japan recently, despite it paradoxically being basically a giant ball of sugar that seems like it came straight out of Willy Wonka’s fictitious candy factory.

The “60-Minute Candy” is increasingly being talked about on the Twitterverse by Japanese women who are passing word on to each other that the long-lasting lollipop is great for suppressing cravings for even less healthy alternatives.

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Seven facts about Japanese chopsticks to help you win friends and influence people

We’ve been seeing a lot of articles recently about how to use Japanese chopsticks correctly. For those of us who grew up using forks and knives, it may seem a bit silly to obsess over holding two sticks at the correct angles. If you plan on visiting, living in, or especially working in Japan at some point, though, it may be a good idea to get out a protractor and practice those angles to save yourself a lot of embarrassing moments with friends and coworkers later.

To help you out, we here at RocketNews24 have compiled seven facts about chopsticks to help you along in your quest for perfect Japanese table manners. Even if you’re a seasoned chopstick expert, you may learn a thing or two from our advanced-level tips.

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Popstar nun Sister Cristina tries Japanese potato chips for first time, ranks them for us

Sister Cristina the nun popstar first came to Japan just the other day to promote her new album, give a small concert, and of course bestow some spiritual advice to questions taken from the audience.

One of those questions was about a man’s addiction to potato chips, and what he could do to overcome it. In suave sister-style, Sister Cristina advised him to try eating some other foods, and perhaps limit his chip intake, though she did mention that she is a fan of potatoes in all forms herself.

That set off a lightbulb in our heads, and we here at RocketNews24 wasted no time in sitting down with Sister Cristina to ask her the real hard-hitting question that everyone wants to know: would she be willing to try some Japanese chips and rank them for us? Watch the video after the jump!

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Are you holding your chopsticks correctly? Chopstick Man will show you how 【Video】

For many of us born outside of Asia, eating with chopsticks is not a skill we’re taught from a young age, and is something many people may go their whole lives without mastering. In Japan, however, kids are started on chopsticks from as early as a year old, and whether or not a person holds their chopsticks correctly reflects on that person’s upbringing (because only a lazy, incompetent parent would allow their child to hold chopsticks like a heathen!).

Not to worry though–foreigners in Japan are given a lot of slack in the chopstick department, since it’s generally assumed that chopsticks are pretty much non-existent in the west. But even if you don’t know how to use chopsticks doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn how, and if you can use them, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re doing it correctly. That’s where Chopstick Man comes in, with his tutorial on the proper way to hold your hold your chopsticks!

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Skills of the fastest mochi-pounding pros in all of Japan leave us dumbfounded 【Video】

The making of mochi, traditional Japanese rice cakes, is a traditional activity for many Japanese families around the time of the New Year’s holiday. The term for this important ritual in Japanese is mochitsuki (餅つき), which quite simply means “mochi pounding.”

While there are dozens of mochi specialty shops scattered throughout Japan, one particular shop specializing in yomogimochi (mochi mixed with mugwort, giving it a distinctive green color) in Nara Prefecture boasts much more than delicious sweets–its second claim to fame is that it employs the fastest mochitsuki champions in all of the country!

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