food

Don’t eat that! We make delicious-looking models of tempura out of wax

Don’t eat that! We make delicious-looking models of tempura out of wax

Although the language barrier can make traveling or living in Japan tough at times, dining out is a snap. There are plenty of conveyer belt sushi restaurants where you just grab what you want as the plates go by, and at many ramen and beef bowl restaurants you simply buy a meal ticket out of a vending machine, then pass it off to the cook.

Even when technology isn’t there to save you, ordering is still easy, thanks to the numerous Japanese restaurants that display wax models of their menu items, allowing you to bring the wait staff to the display window and point and what you want. There’s a whole industry devoted to replicating food, and we recently tried our hand at making a wax creation of our own.

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15 delicious pandas from Japan

15 delicious pandas from Japan

Although pandas originally come from Japan’s neighbors to the east, the country has welcomed the cuddly creatures with open arms, putting them on anything from clothing to cars. But we’re most impressed by the panda’s ability to assimilate into Japanese food, taking over our meals and turning them into an adorable experience. Let’s take a look at 15 delicious pandas from Japan.

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Last chance to chow down on a kilo of curry rice before famed Akihabara eatery goes extinct

Last chance to chow down on a kilo of curry rice before famed Akihabara eatery goes extinct

While most of Akihabara’s fame comes from its anime megastores and maid cafes, there’s one other landmark in the neighborhood that people regularly make pilgrimages to. Wherever you find hordes of young men dropping their paychecks on their hobbies, you can also find cheap, tasty grub, and for years, Mammoth Curry has been the place to get your fill of the spicy stuff in Tokyo’s electronics district.

Unfortunately, much like its wooly namesake, the age of Mammoth Curry is coming to an end in Akihabara, as the eatery is closing its doors for good this month.

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Limited edition One Piece Gum-Gum Fruit treats on sale at 7-Eleven Japan

Limited edition One Piece Gum-Gum Fruit treats on sale at 7-Eleven Japan

Hey One Piece fans! Have you ever dreamed of being able to eat some Devil Fruit and getting superhuman powers like Monkey D. Luffy?

Well, 7-Eleven still can’t do that, but they’re giving you the next best thing by releasing limited edition snack bread which replicates the Gum-Gum Fruit of the hit manga and anime series.

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Bunnies, birds of prey and ice cream: These novelty cafés in Tokyo are worth your attention

Bunnies, birds of prey and ice cream: These novelty cafés in Tokyo are worth your attention

In a city as big as Tokyo, you can visit thousands of stores for a simple coffee and a light snack. If a café or coffee shop wants to earn itself some online attention or news coverage, it has to bring something truly unique to the table. These four specially themed cafés have managed to do just that, earning themselves a spot on Naver Matome’s list of “Novelty Café’s that I’d like to Take a Peak at.” Let’s see for ourselves what the Japanese Internet found so interesting.

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Oden best-sellers at Japan’s top convenience stores

Oden best-sellers at Japan’s top convenience stores

As the temperatures gradually sink into a chilly winter, convenience stores all across this great nation start to kick their oden pots into high gear. For those unacquainted with this Japanese dish, oden is basically any type of food soaked and simmered in a flavorful broth. The type of soup used varies by regions but is usually very savory.

Although not the only place to get oden, convenience stores are thought of as the first place to get it. That’s why Japan’s three biggest convenience stores – 7-Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson – are all competing to find that perfect ingredient to simmer and sell to the hungry masses.

To help kick-off this year’s oden season in Japan, Excite News has released the five most popular oden foods at each of the big three stores. First up is Lawson!

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Hand-made animal-shaped buns a steaming hit among students in China

Hand-made animal-shaped buns a steaming hit among students in China

We have written a handful of articles about cute character-shaped doughnuts and cakes that can be found in Japan. Adorable food is probably something that would sell in any country, but what if such Western snacks are not a common choice among the locals, like in China, for example? The creative canteen ladies at the Northeast Agricultural University in Harbin recently cooked up their own version of animal-shaped snacks, in the form of Chinese steamed buns, and they’re selling like, well, hotcakes.

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We try a rice bowl served with a still-moving squid

We try a rice bowl served with a still-moving squid

Up north in Hakodate, Hokkaido, there is a restaurant chain called Lucky Pierrot, known around the country for their uniquely large hamburger and fried squid dishes. It’s absolutely delicious and a popular draw for tourists. However, this was not why our man Kuzo was sent to the town.

His mission was to track down a restaurant serving “Active Dancing Squid Rice Bowl” (Katsu Ika Odori-don). Videos of this dish have stirred up controversy around the world by using what appears to be a living squid atop a bowl of rice and other ingredients.

Apparently, when soy sauce is poured over the squid it begins to move and “dance,” much to the delight or horror of those watching.

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We try surprisingly delicious Miso Curry Milk Ramen in Aomori

We try surprisingly delicious Miso Curry Milk Ramen in Aomori

Locally owned ramen shops can be found spread out all across Japan. In fact, some of the best flavors aren’t found at the big chain restaurants, but at the hole-in-the-wall shops that you might never even notice without a proper introduction. Hence, we’d like to make it our duty to tell you about an amazing, little ramen joint in Aomori Prefecture, which is famous for its miso flavored curry milk ramen.

When we at RocketNews24 first heard about this place, we couldn’t imagine how so many different flavors could possibly achieve good balance within a single bowl of noodles, so we sent one of our adventurous Japanese reporters, Mami Kuroi, to try it out. Here’s what she had to say about the experience.

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Enjoy earth-conscious treats and whimsical animal doughnuts at Japan’s “nature doughnut” shop

Enjoy earth-conscious treats and whimsical animal doughnuts at Japan’s “nature doughnut” shop

Floresta isn’t as well known as the big chain stores in Japan like Mister Donut or Krispy Kreme, but their “nature doughnuts” deserve all the attention they can get. As a company, Floresta strives to provide customers with healthy, yet satisfying snacks, using organic local ingredients with no additives or preservatives. They are also careful to reduce waste that can have a negative impact on the environment. You would think a healthy doughnut might taste like cardboard, but Floresta manages to serve up delicious rings of environmentally friendly goodness. They also make animal doughnuts that will make you want to buy out the store.

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How to make your own McDonald’s Japan-only gratin croquette burger

How to make your own McDonald’s Japan-only gratin croquette burger

There are a few telltale signs that winter is coming. The sunset starts to come a little earlier in the day. Christmas lights go up around town. And, as sure as Santa making his rounds, McDonald’s Japan starts selling one of its most popular seasonal menu items, the gratin croquette burger.

We realize, though, that many of our loyal readers live outside of Japan. We don’t want anyone to feel left out, so we’re explaining how you can duplicate the sandwich, mostly with ingredients you’ve probably already got in your pantry. Be warned though. The gratin croquette burger is almost entirely made out of flour, and this delicious cocktail of carbs is in no way a feasible choice for anyone following the Atkins diet, no matter how delicious it is.

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More than two years on, many in Japan still uncertain about food from around Fukushima

More than two years on, many in Japan still uncertain about food from around Fukushima

When the announcement was made that Tokyo would host the 2020 Olympic Games, there was much reason for celebration in Japan. Leading up to the decision, the Japanese leader for the Olympic bid emphatically stressed that the Fukushima disaster would have no impact on life in Tokyo–a claim that was reiterated after the bid was won.

Around that time, a cartoon appeared in a French newspaper depicting mutating sumo wrestlers in front of radiation suit wearing spectators. The Japanese government took issue with it and angrily reaffirmed the safety of the rest of Japan. Still, among many of the citizens, there is sneaking yet widespread suspicion over how safe the Tohoku and Kanto regions actually are, especially with regards to their food products.

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A little citrus for your sushi? Japan producing fish with the natural flavor of oranges and herbs

A little citrus for your sushi? Japan producing fish with the natural flavor of oranges and herbs

As an island nation, the diet in Japan has traditionally consisted largely of fish. Over the last decade, though, per-person caloric intake of fish has dropped roughly 20 percent. Rattled by this shift in eating habits, the Japanese fishing industry has decided it needs to do something new to catch diners’ attention, and has set about creating fish that naturally contain the flavor and scent of fruit and herbs.

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10 crazy pizzas from Japan

10 crazy pizzas from Japan

Whether you love it or hate it, Japanese pizza exists. McDonald’s manages to provide homesick foreigners in Japan with a similar (and arguably better) product from back home, but somewhere along the line, chain pizza stores in Japan got it all wrong. We’re sure there are those who enjoy the typical Japanese-style pizza, but after reading through internet forums of hungry foreigners, those who joyfully eat a slice from Japan are in the minority.

Let’s take a look at 10 pizzas that can be purchased in Japan, some sprinkled with corn, others topped with seaweed and many of them drenched in mayonnaise, so much mayonnaise!

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Chocolate-covered squid, wasabi Kit Kat, and other anomalies of the Japanese snack food scene

Chocolate-covered squid, wasabi Kit Kat, and other anomalies of the Japanese snack food scene

Japan is a crowded country, and that goes for just about everything. Even store shelves are crowded. Most people do their shopping on foot, which means supermarkets and convenience stores tend to be on the small size, and shelf space is always at a premium.

As such, companies have to do something to make their products stand out. This is why so many Japanese beverages and snack foods have seasonal flavors that are only available for a limited time. Of course, taste engineers in Japan can only come up with so many normal flavors, and when they run out, the only thing to do is go on to the abnormal flavors.

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Experience history and culture with a cup of green tea in these beautiful Kamakura temple gardens

Experience history and culture with a cup of green tea in these beautiful Kamakura temple gardens

Although Kyoto served as Japan’s capital before the imperial residence was moved to Tokyo in the 19th century, for roughly 150 years the real seat of power was located in the city of Kamakura.

Many of the samurai living in Kamakura at the time were devout followers of Buddhism, and their dedication to their faith is reflected in the numerous historic temples located in Kamakura. Of course, visiting them all is bound to tire out your feet, and when that happens, there’s no better way to refresh yourself than by relaxing in one of Kamakura’s beautiful temple gardens while sipping from a cup of freshly brewed green tea.

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Uber-complicated foreigner-friendly guide to conveyor belt sushi will make your eyes pop out

Uber-complicated foreigner-friendly guide to conveyor belt sushi will make your eyes pop out

Oh boy, look at that thing. Just, wow. What is even happening here? There are so many colors, and this Escher-esque perspective trick where you’re looking down at the sushi conveyor belt but seeing the customers head-on all at the same time…

As the title of this bizarro infographic suggests, this is ostensibly a guide to using a kaiten conveyor belt sushi establishment. We’re actually very appreciative someone took the effort to make this since it’s pretty easy to accidentally commit a crime if you don’t follow the kaiten sushi rules perfectly.

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Adorable miniature doughnuts from Mister Donut Japan!

Adorable miniature doughnuts from Mister Donut Japan!

Look at those little guys! They’re so small, you have to carry them all together in a bucket!

If you’re looking for a miniature treat, look no further than Mister Donut’s winter offering of bite-sized doughnuts. With six new flavors and three shareable container sizes, they’re perfect for snacking with friends and family while snuggling up under the kotatsu…or eat them all yourself, we won’t judge.

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Scallop flavored ice cream: it’s magically delicious!

Scallop flavored ice cream: it’s magically delicious!

Rumor has it that in Aomori Prefecture there exists a soft-served ice cream made with the flavor of hotate (Yesso scallop), a widely eaten shellfish in Japan. While hotate goes great with a little dab of wasabi, it’s hard to image the scallop’s taste blending well with ice cream.

Without hesitating, our reporter and food lover Usagi caught the next northbound train to the Aomori Prefecture Tourist Center ASPM to see what scallop ice cream had to offer.

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“Ramen Cake” dessert looks just like the real thing, is probably just as bad for you

“Ramen Cake” dessert looks just like the real thing, is probably just as bad for you

An advance word of warning: this recipe seems both extremely difficult and extremely time consuming, so we’d advise you only try it if you’re a master chef or incredibly bored. Or if you need to consume a disgusting amount of calories in a short space of time.

Still, in the spirit of Halloween, this sweet cake and gelatin “Ramen Cake” masquerading almost perfectly as real ramen, is a clever, cute substitute for the usual chocolate eyeballs, brain Jell-o and other grotesqueries of the season.

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