food

New book teaches you to make grated radish animals: Healthier than latte art, just as cute

Japan’s become pretty enamored with latte art over the past few years, with baristas all over the country creating cute characters in swirls of cream and foam. But what if you’re not a coffee drinker, either because you’re watching your caffeine intake or just because your inner child won’t let you drink anything so bitter? Is there a way for you to set your table with eye-pleasing edibles?

Sure there is! All you need is a pile of grated daikon radish, and this new book that tells you how to craft it into adorable edibles.

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Neither guilt nor escaped alligator stops Chinese crowd from looting spilled crustacean cargo

You never know what the day’s going to throw at you when you get up in the morning. For example, when a large group of residents of China’s Changsha left their homes last Wednesday, they didn’t know they were just hours away from getting crabs.

Don’t worry, the city hasn’t had a sudden outbreak of pubic lice. Instead, a seafood delivery car spilled its cargo onto the road, creating a swarm of looters who scooped up the animals for themselves.

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We leap into autumn by eating a pack of tempura maple leaves

Earlier this month, we found out that the city of Mino, in Osaka, has been selling tempura maple leaves for at least a hundred years. Since we’ve made it our mission in life to eat everything that can be deep-fried (barring non-food items like deep-fried scissors), we immediately called Hisakuni Kosendo, one Mino’s maple-cooking outfits, and ordered a pack to try for ourselves.

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Denny’s Japan now offering all-you-can-eat pancakes! We’ll take 30!

It’s a fact: the world loves pancakes. That’s why we’re sure those of you who live outside of Japan will be jealous to hear that Denny’s Japan is offering an all-you-can-eat pancake deal that includes a variety of fruit, syrup, and ice cream toppings! The only thing better than this pancake buffet is the Japanese word for pancake: pankeiki. How cute is that?!

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The ultimate guide to Kyoto ice-cream

While the weather is gradually getting chillier as many parts of the world meander into autumn, we know we’ll never be able to give up the sweetest bit of summer – ice cream. You can never be too full, nor the weather too cold, for a bowl of that delicious, frozen goodness, and if you happen to be heading to Kyoto to catch the beautiful autumn leaves, you’ll be pleased to know that Japan’s most traditional city is positively brimming with ice cream at this time of year, and today we have a guide to some of the best out there.

Whether you’re into fruity flavors or traditional Kyoto desserts, or simply wanting to satisfy your sweet tooth, the ancient capital is bound to have something for you.

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Ultra-premium green tea pudding costs more than a steak, is probably worth it

One of the first English lessons I taught in Japan was about how to use words like “everywhere” and “nothing.” As part of the class, the students had to practice making sentences with “everyone,” and one woman stood up and gave hers, which was “Everyone likes pudding.”

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a truer statement. Pudding is universally popular. Even the very wealthy love it, which is why one company in Japan is now selling matcha green tea pudding made from such high-quality ingredients that it costs more than most meals that could precede the tasty dessert.

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Seven fantastic furikake flake flavors to liven up your bowl of white rice

In Japan, almost every traditional meal is served with white rice. Sometimes, though, even Japanese diners find themselves craving something a little more flavorful, and when they do, they reach for a container of furikake (lit. “sprinkle over”) flakes to liven up their rice.

Dried fish like salmon or bonito are the most common kinds of furikake, but just like every region of Japan has its own special Kit-Kats, different parts of the country also have their own unique furikake, and today we’re taking a look at seven of the most tempting.

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“You will need courage!”: We try a sweetfish hot dog

Salt fish hot dog! If you think a word (or two) needs dropping from that sentence, think again.

For a limited time only, a crisp, salty whole sweetfish – in a bun! – can be yours to enjoy at Kyoto Aquarium. Yep. At the aquarium. I don’t know about you, but after looking at aquatic creatures all day I’m not really in the mood for fish…

Not so our reporter Yuuichiro, who was so excited to hear about the fish dog that he headed down to the aquarium cafe and put together this photo review for us! This is his report, eyeballs and all.

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Potato Chip Rice may be our easiest rice cooker recipe yet!

We’re suckers for a good rice cooker recipe and get even more excited when all you have to do is plop a few ingredients into the machine. So we were really happy when we found this super easy rice cooker recipe for “potato chip rice” from successful Japanese chef, Masahiro Kasahara, in his self-titled book, Masahiro Kasahara’s 30-minute Japanese Meals. With only three ingredients (four if you count the water), we were equally parts intrigued and wary as we set out to recreate his bizarre dish.

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McDonald’s “Build a Burger” experiment expands to Australia… Next, the world?

So, usually when it comes to burgers in Japan, we prefer to let the talented burger artists at famous fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King and especially Lotteria do their thing – because it usually results in crazy squid ink burgers, nine-patty monstrosities, and other 6th grade science experiment-esque monstrosities.

But McDonald’s has slowly been unveiling a tech- and customer-savvy new way of dealing burgers with its limited run of “Create a Burger” options at select stores.

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Kit Kat’s papercraft train set is so cool we almost don’t need the chocolate it comes with

Living in Japan, we’ve been kind of spoiled by all the special Kit Kat flavors the country gets. We love a sweet snack as much as anyone, but when almost every region of Japan has its own version of the chocolate wafers, it takes something a little more unusual than matcha green tea Kit Kats to really grab our attention (not that those don’t taste delicious, of course).

So Nestlé Japan’s latest plan is to give us not just something to munch on, but a cool papercraft kit too, with this special Kit Kat bundle that also lets you build a model train.

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Tokyo Disney’s pitch-black Halloween snacks look even weirder in real life

Remember that jet-black hot dog Tokyo Disney Sea announced for Halloween this year? Well, we’ve unearthed some pictures of the actual product, and boy, are they nasty.

What’s more, the Black Sausage has been joined by another, even more distressing item – the Black Gyoza Dog, a hot snack so hellish-looking we can’t believe it made it past the product testing phase. It looked pretty weird in Disney’s promotional shots (above), but it looks even more disturbing in real life!

Join us after the jump for a closer look at the reality of this year’s Halloween Disney food. It’s even more shudder-inducing than we expected!

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Travelers pick the top three destination restaurants in Japan

Between the country’s natural beauty and historic sites, there are plenty of things to see on a trip to Japan. Eventually, though, you’re going to have to take a break from sightseeing in order to eat, and even then you’re in luck, since Japan is a foodie’s paradise.

But while it’s true that Japan is filled with great restaurants, only one can be at the top of travelers’ dining wish list, as decided by users of travel website Trip Advisor in a recent ranking of where they want to eat in Japan.

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Bored of sushi? Level up those rice rolls to sushi gratin!【Recipe】

All right, who loves sushi? The colorful, beautiful little clusters of rice that look and taste like little pieces of art. To many people, sushi is synonymous with Japan, but Japan’s neighboring country Korea has their own version of maki sushi, known as gimbap (or kimbap).

As we’ve previously seen, the Koreans are incredibly creative when it comes to food improvisations, so we weren’t totally surprised when we came across this funky recipe for sushi/gimbap gratin. See the full recipe after the break!

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The new seasonal menu at family restaurant chain Jonathan’s is curiously simple…

We’re used to family restaurants in Japan offering their own unique takes on western dishes, with what might best be described as mixed results. But this item on the new seasonal menu at Jonathan’s sees the restaurant branch out into stripped down, über-simple food that’s had some customers questioning: can you really call that a side dish?!

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Onigiri without the nigiri – Japan’s traditional rice balls get an update

Onigiri are rice balls, and they’re basically the Japanese version of sandwiches. They’re a fast, convenient snack that you can eat without getting your hands messy, and they’ve been a staple of Japanese lunches since medieval times. But now there’s a hip new version that’s trying to take over from the long-established practice of molding the rice by hand.

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KFC Japan’s pumpkin biscuits ready to become tasty Halloween treats

Recently, Japanese branches of McDonald’s and Burger King have been getting into the Halloween spirit with spooky black burgers infused with squid ink and bamboo charcoal. This is a problem for KFC, though, since both of those ingredients are a little too exotic to mix with the Colonel’s traditional set of 11 herbs and spices.

Since KFC can’t celebrate Halloween by embracing its dark side, the most popular fried chicken outlet in Japan is instead turning to the holiday’s other icon by offering pumpkin biscuits.

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Popular old-school Japanese anime gets its own restaurant for adoring Chinese fans

Despite the increasingly obvious and alarm-inducing deterioration of the political relationship between Japan and China, it appears there’s one Japanese export the Chinese just can’t possibly bring themselves to boycott: Manga and anime.

Even at a time when the Chinese are openly fist-fighting other Chinese in the streets for the crime of choosing a Japanese car, manga and anime – especially, it seems, of the old-school variety – have pervaded Chinese pop culture to the point that it’s not only accepted to read it regularly, some Chinese business owners are going to great lengths to cash in on the popularity of Japan’s biggest pop cultural export.

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Give your pancakes a major flavor boost with one secret ingredient: fermented soybeans

The humble pancake is a beloved food for both its deliciousness and how easy it is to make. It’s also a highly versatile food, suitable for either a sweet snack with powdered sugar, strawberries and syrup, or a savory dish served with chicken and lettuce.

Now, there appears to be a rumor among pancake aficionados in Japan that with one simple addition to the pancake mix it is possible to boost the flavor level to that of a luxury hotel or restaurant. That ingredient is none other than the typical Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans: miso.

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Häagen-Dazs Japan making ice cream classier than ever in Japan with wine and Opera flavors

Häagen-Dazs already has a pretty upmarket image, what with its high-quality ingredients, premium pricing, and fancy-sounding name. Apparently, though, the U.S.-headquartered ice cream brand’s Japanese division still thinks there’s room to grow in the classiness department.

Two mature treats are being added to the lineup soon, one which uses red wine and another which draws inspiration from a French dessert. And just in case those don’t sound regal enough, they’re topped with gold and silver.

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