food

Latest evolution of Pokémon cafe to open in Shibuya this January

To celebrate the release of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, “THE GUEST cafe & diner,” a restaurant inside the Shibuya Parco building, will mega-evolve into a Pokémon-themed cafe for a limited time starting this January. They will offer a wide variety of meals, desserts, and drinks to fully restore the HP of all Pokémon trainers and their loyal Pokémon friends.

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Burger chain Lotteria trolls McDonald’s Japan’s potato shortage with pithy sign

Earlier this week, we reported that McDonald’s Japan is in the middle of a potato shortage, causing them to halt sales of medium and large-size fries. Even the meal sets will come with a measly small fries, though thankfully at a discounted price.

Rival chain Lotteria is happily pouring salt in the wound by using McDonald’s hardships to market their own fried spuds. See if you can spot the recent addition to their menu after the jump.

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Six non-traditional osechi New Year’s meals in Japan

New Year’s in Japan is usually celebrated with family huddled under the kotatsu while munching on mikans, and sharing a dinner of traditional food, called osechi. Each component of the meal retains an auspicious meaning, granting the eater with good fortune, health, or fertility, among other things, during the coming year.

However, in recent years, an increasingly large population of Japan’s youth have chosen to forgo eating osechi. There are many reasons osechi has been disappearing from Japanese homes during New Year’s, but these changing tastes have given rise to a smorgasbord of strange, unique, and, frankly, comparatively tastier pre-made osechi meals. From cooked isopods to a box full of meat, let’s take a closer look at six modern day osechi.

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Love sweets, hate Frozen? Solution: repurpose your Olaf bun into Bert from Sesame Street!

Remember when we recently had a little fun with the Disney’s Frozen pastry buns that have gone on sale all over Japan? You know, the ones oozing with cream and chocolate (mmm) and featuring the annoying face of that goofy snowman (grr) that’s absolutely everywhere right now? While we certainly enjoyed mangling Olaf’s face with a big knife whilst maniacally humming “Let it Go”, it seems that one Twitter user has an even better idea for dealing with that pent-up Frozen frustration. An idea that involves re-purposing the buns into something more aesthetically pleasing! Since we’re all about that silver lining (and since generally, we enjoy our food more when it doesn’t look like a murder scene) we had to investigate! It turns out that it’s actually pretty simple to change goofy Olaf into another character with a little more pedigree behind it – Bert from Sesame Street! Read on for the step-by step guide!

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Dumplings that’ll make you pretty! “Gyoza for girls” is the new food trend hitting Japan!

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?

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Sushi and tempura stamps will spice up your New Year’s cards, probably still taste like glue

With just two weeks to go until the end of the year, people across Japan are scrambling to finish up writing their New Year’s Cards, or nengajo, as they’re called in Japanese. While traditions have softened and it’s becoming a bit more acceptable to send tidings by email, many still choose to send physical cards, since receiving personal mail is something of a rare treat these days.

That means most people need to make a trip to the post office to pick up some stamps, and Japan Post is happy to oblige with special New Year’s varieties. And though the ones for the upcoming Chinese zodiac animal are undeniably cute, the designs that really caught our attention were the sushi and tempura stamps.

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Hate Frozen? Then you’ll love these photos of the Disney hit’s Olaf being murdered in pastry form

If Frozen struck a deep chord with you, it’s been a good year. Even now, months after the film’s home video release, it’s still got a hold on the imagination of animation and musical fans, and this week Japanese convenience store Family Mart started selling steamed buns filled with chocolate and shaped like Olaf, the Disney hit’s comic relief living snowman.

Family Mart did a fine job recreating Olaf’s look, and we’re sure moviegoers who were tickled by his antics are thrilled to have the character seemingly leap off the screen and into the palm of their hands. Plus, in a rare case of simultaneously being able to please a movie’s fans and detractors, the Olaf bun’s uncanny resemblance to its inspiration means it’s the perfect effigy for Frozen haters to unleash their resentment of the film’s success on.

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From the internet to your conbini! Ritz debuts new Peach and Mozzarella snacks

Back in August, we brought you the news that Japanese online foodies were going crazy over a new and unusual flavor combination. Apparently, eating mozzarella cheese along with sliced peaches and a touch of pepper makes for a delicious taste sensation. At the time, we thought this was just one of those weird internet foodie fads that you might try once just to see what the fuss is all about, before discarding in favor of more tried-and-tested snack options. So imagine our surprise to find that food company Nabisco has decided to roll with the mozzarella/peach hybrid taste and make it the new flavor for their Ritz Bits Sandwich range of munchy snacks!

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Can you guess the second Japanese inspiration behind this Polish artist’s beautiful illustration?

As someone who’s been a fan of anime and manga since long before they were as internationally popular as they are today, I’m always kind of happy when I see their visual cues show up in artwork from other countries. Sometimes it comes in high-profile productions, like when The Simpsons gave a tip of their animated hat to Studio Ghibli, but at the same, there are countless less well-known designers and artists whose styles can be traced to Japan’s cartoons and comics.

Take Polish illustrator Magdalena “Meago” Kania, for example, and her drawing of a blond with exquisitely thick, wavy hair who also sports the facial features and proportions commonly associated with anime and manga. But those aren’t the only Japanese inspirations the illustration contains, as we can spot one more when we take a step back and look at the whole picture.

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Smartphone games turns mushrooms into cute anime girls, still gives foreigners wacky accents

There aren’t many foods I hate more than mushrooms. I’ve got issues with both their taste and texture, and, to my eyes, they just look kind of gross, no matter which variety we’re talking about.

But while I don’t think I’ll ever completely come around on the idea of eating fungi, it’s nice to at least have a different visual image for them, thanks to a new smartphone game that’s turned a half-dozen types of mushrooms into cute anime girls.

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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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Sayonara, spuds! McDonald’s Japan halts sales of medium and large orders of French fries

I’m heading back to the U.S. for a couple of days at the end of the year, and as much as I love Japan, it’ll be nice to spend some time doing things I can’t here. Aside from seeing family and friends, I’m looking forward to watching a college bowl game or two, plus soaking up some warm January sunshine, which tends to be much more plentiful in California than Kanagawa Prefecture.

And as long as I’m making a list of things you can’t do in Japan, I should probably add getting a large batch of French fries at McDonald’s, since, for the time being, the chain will only be selling small sizes of spuds in Japan.

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Have a rice cake! Have a tangerine! Why not have both with the visually stunning mikan daifuku?

Eating sweet tangerines, or mikan as we call them here, while snuggled in a warm kotatsu table is a favorite winter pastime in Japan. (And believe us when we say it becomes a struggle to leave the comfortable warmth of the kotatsu for anything short of a grave emergency.)

Well, thanks to Japanese confection maker Akasaka Aono, you can now enjoy winter tangerines in a slightly unique form. They’ve wrapped a whole tangerine inside a soft daifuku rice cake! Now, that’s certainly an unusual presentation for a daifuku, so it’s not surprising that the Japanese public has taken notice, and since we’re always on the lookout for interesting foods, one of the reporters from our Japanese sister site Pouch promptly tried the cake to give all of us a first hand account. Let’s hear what she had to say about the unique tangerine and mochi confection!

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We steel our hearts and sample Namikoshiken’s too-cute-to-eat, aquarium-themed wagashi sweets

Do you remember our recent article that showcased Japanese confectioner Namikoshiken’s adorable menagerie of bite-sized manjū (sweet steamed buns)? Last week, out of sheer luck and coincidence, I received a box of the Suizokukan (aquarium) variety from a family friend who went on a trip to Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture, where the 87-year-old company is based. So of course, this calls for a taste test!

Read on to find out more about the wagashi treats and to view close-up photos of each lovable suizokukan resident. Was this writer able to harden her heart and mercilessly sink her teeth into these little guys? Anything for RocketNews24!

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Restaurant refuses to serve couples on Dec. 24 so singles won’t be reminded of their loneliness

Ah, December 24, Christmas Eve. The time to spend with parents, siblings, drunken aunts and that one crazy uncle that’s always telling you about chemtrails after four or five eggnogs. Or, the time for romantic dinner dates, proposals and convenience store chicken, if you’re in Japan.

The holiday has long been the bane of Tokyo singles, who are forced to watch thousands of happy couples marching all over town Christmas Eve, hand-in-hand, checking out the Christmas “illumination” shows that have become so popular over the years. That it’s one of the few times public displays of affection are relatively accepted in polite Japanese society just makes it all the more difficult for lonely guys and gals to bear.

But, this year, one Tokyo restaurant has a plan to give all those Forever Alones out there a safe haven to dine in peace on Christmas Eve and, who knows, maybe even find a potential partner.

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We’re hard-pressed to find anything not delicious in the new tamatoro pressed tonkatsu sandwich

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that people in Japan don’t like fried food. Well, you can let them say it, but don’t believe them. As skilled as the country is with lighter fare such as sushi and nabe hot pot, Japanese cuisine can totally nail fried food, as proven by tonkatsu, or deep-fried pork cutlet.

One of the tastiest ways to eat tonkatsu is served over rice and topped with a fried egg, a dish called katsudon. Conversely, you can also slap two pieces of bread around it and make a katsu sandwich, which allows you to enjoy your cutlet on the go, or theoretically hold one in each hand and eat two at a time.

Sadly, eating your tonkatsu in sandwich form used to mean giving up all that delicious, gooey egg. That’s all changed now, though, thanks to the awesome tamatoro sandwiches now on sale in Tokyo that let you have the best of both worlds.

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Aomori’s ramen restaurant in a bus serves up steaming hot noodles in the snow

Ramen shops are a dime a dozen, so what makes this one in Aomori Prefecture so special? Well, it’s in a bus! One writer over at Another Tokyo reported on his experience at this one-of-a-kind Japanese eatery.

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Survey ranks convenience store rice balls – salmon, sea-dwelling poultry & plants steal the show

Known to many in the English-speaking world simply as rice balls, onigiri are as much a part of daily life in Japan as sandwiches are in the West. Although they’re often eaten as snacks or included along with a handful of other items as a packed lunch, for many Japanese onigiri are the ultimate comfort food; something that, no matter which part of the country they find themselves in, they can easily make or pick up from a convenience store.

Of course, store-bought onigiri can never come close to those pressed into shape by someone who knows their way around a rice cooker, but they always hit the spot nevertheless, and hundreds of thousands of these little lumps of savoury goodness are eaten every single day. But what are Japan’s most loved convenience store rice balls? And do tastes vary from chain to chain? Well, according to a recent survey, there are three onigiri fillings that Japan is especially fond of.

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Hi-Chew is such a hit that the Japanese candy is getting its own factory in North Carolina

Every time I go back to the States to see my family, before hopping on the plane, I swing by the convenience store to pick up some treats for my nieces and nephew. I figure if I can’t do anything about being “Uncle Who Only Visits Once a Year,” then I’m at least going to be “Uncle Who Only Visits Once a Year, but Brings Candy!”

The stuff I get for them isn’t anything particularly fancy. A few pieces of melon bread, whatever the newest mix of matcha green tea and chocolate is, and maybe a few packs of fruity Hi-Chew candy. This year might be my last chance to score some easy points with that last one, though, since in 2015 the makers of Hi-Chew are opening a factory in the U.S. to satisfy America’s sweet tooth with Japanese candy.

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You might never eat seafood again after you watch this horrifying lobster molting on land

When we posted a video of an enormous, pulsating, terrifying spider crab slowly escaping the confines of its old shell and setting off in search of new digs and (probably) human souls, we thought that was about the most horrifying the process of molting could really get.

Then we saw this video of a spiny lobster molting on land. We will never be the same.

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