food

Japanese women reveal six pitfalls to watch out for on your ramen date

Up until a few years ago, ramen joints were more or less the bottom rung of the Japanese dining scenes. Sure, the food might have tasted great, but they tended to be so crowded and dirty that many women refused to set foot inside one.

Recently, though, ramen restaurants have been cleaning up their act, sprucing up their interiors, and attracting more and more female customers. With more and more women appreciating a steaming bowl of Japan’s favorite noodles, some couples are even heading out on ramen dates.

But just as ramen restaurants had to meet certain criteria before they could win over the fairer sex, so too are there missteps a ramen-loving boyfriend has to avoid to keep from spoiling the mood.

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In the kitchen with Kiki – We whip up some Ghibli-inspired rice porridge

Recently, our Japanese-language reporter Hotaru has been a little down in the dumps. She’s not sure if she’s come down with a cold or is just feeling the doldrums of the dreaded Gogatsu-byou, but either way, she needed a boost.

Realizing that good health and a good mood starts with good food, she headed into the kitchen to whip up a batch of porridge. But not just any old porridge would do for helping Hotaru shake off her funk, she needed to recreate the porridge that picks up the heroine of classic anime Kiki’s Delivery Service.

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Need another reason to drink green tea? How about preventing dementia?

There’s quite a lot to be said for green tea. It has no calorific content of its own to speak of, and doesn’t need sugar or cream to taste great. A steaming cup can warm you up in winter, or you can drop a couple of ice cubes in and cool off with a glass in midsummer.

Now, new research suggests that aside from keeping your body trim and your palate pleased, a daily cup of green tea can help keep your mind sharp by warding off the onset of dementia.

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Elephant nose ice cream: The treat with a trunk

If you’re looking for a fun way to eat your dessert, look no further than Zou-No-Hana Cafe in Yokohama, Japan. The house specialty, the zou no hana (elephant nose) ice cream has been enticing regular visitors and tourists alike with its cute, albeit strange, face and oversized waffle cone ears.

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We get our hands on some “Booby Ice Cream” from Kochi Prefecture

Aside from tasting great, ice cream conjures up all sorts of happy mental images. While it’s pleasing your taste buds, the frozen treat can bring back reminiscences of childhood family outings or innocent high school dates in the park.

Or, in the case of one brand of ice cream from Shikoku, sucking on some boobs.

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Slow News Day Special: We cook pasta with Tokyo Bay seawater

Given that there were no murders, Abe gaffs, North Korean human rights violations or major Attack on Titan events today, we decided we’d do something a little fluffier and… saltier with our reporting today. After hearing that professional chefs claim pasta should be boiled in a combination of water and salt that closely resembles seawater, we wondered: Why not just use, you know, actual seawater?

Since it’s essentially an unlimited and free resource, it seems like a waste to go out and buy pure water and sea salt and combine the two when you can just head on over to Odaiba on Tokyo Bay and fill up an empty bottle with real seawater.

One of our Japanese reporters did just this, with… somewhat mixed results.

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Chick-shaped pudding from Nagoya is so cute we’re tempted to keep it as a pet

Even though it doesn’t have anything close to the number of sightseeing options in Tokyo or Kyoto, should you find yourself in Nagoya, consider yourself lucky. The city is one of Japan’s underappreciated gastronomic gems, and if you have the chance, you owe it to yourself to try the chicken wings made from the regional fowl, called kochin.

This being Japan, though, if there’s the opportunity to make food cute, someone’s going to do it, which is where this adorable chick-shaped custard pudding, made with kochin eggs, comes in.

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We try churros from McDonald’s Japan

Churros are especially popular in Spain and Portugal, but those in Japan have encountered the delicious deep-fried snack at Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios Japan, and more recently, Mister Donut. Because of Japan’s familiarity with churros, the new McChurro from, you guessed, McDonald’s, has caught consumers off guard as it looks more like a flaky pastry. And so we headed to McDonald’s to check it out ourselves. Read More

Denny’s Japan to serve ‘the most delicious food in the world’

From May 27 you will apparently be able to eat ‘the most delicious food in the world’ at family restaurant chain Denny’s! Are they just blowing their own horn here? Well, not exactly.

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Kawasaki donut shop goes beyond cat sweets with cute alpacas, penguins, and killer whales

If we’re speaking honestly, we don’t really need much of an added incentive to eat a donut. Really, a sweet, inexpensive indulgence that we can eat with our hands is pretty much a laser-guided strike on our willpower.

Still, we can usually muster enough self-control that we don’t plow through a half-dozen in one sitting. But when you take donuts’ numerous preexisting merits and add the visual appeal of shaping them like cats, penguins, alpacas, and even killer whales, that’s when we stop even trying to resist them.

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Japanese fast food chain Lotteria continues shoving noodles where they don’t belong

Our long-time readers will remember Lotteria’s famous–or possibly infamous–ramen noodle burgers last May. We even set Mr. Sato off to try out an extra-massive ramen noodle burger and were amazed by his ability to consume gargantuan amounts of food. As strange as the combination of noodles and buns seemed at the time, it apparently earned the company a lot of happy customers, since Lotteria will be bringing back noodle burgers at the end of this month, with a few new twists…

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Chinese student asks for cooked sushi at Sukibayashi Jiro, gets flamed by Chinese netizens

By now Sukibayashi Jiro is probably the most famous sushi bar in the world, not just due to its exposure from the well-known documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, but also thanks to President Obama’s praise for the bite-sized delicacies prepared by the legendary sushi master, Jiro Ono.

But even the best sushi in the world can’t satisfy everyone, it seems. A Chinese student studying in Japan recently wrote about her dining experience at the famed establishment, complaining that the food was terrible and that she got into a heated argument with the staff, seemingly hoping that by badmouthing the restaurant online her fellow countrymen would laugh along with her.

Instead she was met with a fierce backlash of comments calling her a disgrace to the country. What exactly did she do to ruffle the feathers of the Chinese netizens? More details after the break!

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Big in Japan: 25 insightful musings from a self-proclaimed “fatty”

It’s not easy out there for people with weight issues when even fictional monsters are criticized for being too pudgy. But a popular Japanese Twitter user with more than 45,000 followers is pushing back on society’s fat-shaming and telling the world how great life is when Ramen Jiro is your “afternoon snack.”

E_Debu, who says he is “the fatty who has a high consciousness,” has been musing on his observations about life as a big person. He enlightens his online audience on some of the hardships as well as the benefits of coming in a larger size. Click below to read 25 thought-provoking observations from one of the most popular “fatties” on the Internet.

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Why is sushi outside of Japan so happy?

We’ve already gone over a few signs that you might not be in a real Japanese restaurant, including the location’s name. We can’t say with certainty, but we’re pretty sure there aren’t any “Happy Sushi” restaurants in all of Japan. So why are there so many abroad? Japanese website Naver Matome wondered the very same thing and compiled a list of the most elated raw fish from all around the world. It just makes us wonder, why does the world associate sushi with being happy?

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Easy peasy lemon squeezy: Our writer attempts to make salted lemon

Did you know that salty things have gotten really popular in Japan in recent years? The Japanese word for salt is shio, and these days you can find shio yakisoba (buckwheat noodles), shiokouji (a kind of condiment), shio nabe (hotpot), and the new fad shio tomato. And now it’s even extending into the world of sweets with shio vanilla ice cream and shio chocolate. I’ve had sea salt chocolate before, and I can tell you it’s actually much better than it sounds! The latest addition to the ranks of salty goodness is shio lemon, which you can make at home yourself with just two basic and obvious ingredients.

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If you thought Japanese lunches couldn’t get any cuter, you were wrong

If you’re at all familiar with bento, you’ll probably know that a lot of people will go all out to create adorable (or just plain amazing) meals for their children— or inner otaku, for that matter. I’ve heard that there is fierce competition to make the cutest lunches (especially for special events like Sports Day) so it’s no wonder that techniques and trends are continually changing, and it seems that the latest fad in lunches is the humble dinner roll.

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BuzzFeed’s image of post-beer ramen in Japan is soberingly off base【Video】

A few months ago, BuzzFeed posted a video titled What Does the World Eat for Breakfast? The video’s representative morning meal for the United States – pancakes, eggs, and bacon – was an old-fashioned if not inaccurate choice, but we couldn’t say the same thing about the funky menu selected for Japan, which was unlike anything anyone on our team, Japanese natives included, had ever started their day with.

So when we heard the same crew was back with a new video about post-drinking foods from around the world, and that once again Japan was featured, we were both a little honored to be included, and a little worried about what would end up on the plate this time.

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Is British food really that bad? Our Japanese writer tries her hand at some UK dishes

Japanese people seem to love telling me that British food is terrible, and the only good thing we have going for us is fish and chips. No one can believe that I actually get a bit tired of Japanese food and pine for my favourite dishes from home! Perhaps to try and change this perception, the British Embassy has been undertaking a campaign called ‘Food is GREAT!’ (for Great Britain, geddit?), and our Japanese writer decided to put some of their recipes to the test.

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A tale of two tonkatsu burgers – We pit McDonald’s pork cutlet sandwich against Mos Burger’s

Here at RocketNews24, we’re all about forming stronger connections between Japan and the rest of the world. Incidentally, we’re also all about burgers and fried foods.

Sometimes, the planets align just right, and we get to check all three boxes at once, like we did today with our taste-test of McDonald’s new pork cutlet burger, a Westernized version of Japanese dish inspired by Western cuisine. And since the only thing better than a fried pork sandwich is two fried pork sandwiches, we’ll be comparing it to the nearly identical menu item from hometown hero Mos Burger.

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We eat the Attack on Titan instant curry, plus make our own edible Titans

Sometimes, you don’t realize how much you’ll miss something until it’s gone. A few months back, hungry Attack on Titan fans could get both hamburgers and bento boxed lunches inspired by the hit series. They were only available for a limited time though, and both are gone now, leaving us without a way to simultaneously satisfy our cravings for giant-fighting anime and a quick, hot meal.

That is, until the release of a new line of Attack on Titan instant curry. We got our hands on a pack, then created a batch of edible Titans to go with it.

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