food

Enjoy a platter of Youkai Sashimi while we explain that cat’s name

As we’ve been constantly reminding you over the past year or so, Youkai Watch is really big in Japan now, and yet some of you out there still don’t seem to believe us. We’ve watched them rip the annual McDonald’s calendar endorsement deal out of the cuddly clutches of Pokemon. We’ve seen fans carve their graven images into pumpkins. We’ve tasted of their milk. Still, there are those who think that it’s just a flash in the pan.

For those people, we present the highest honor a character in Japan can receive: a sashimi platter in their likeness.

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Devious hens have been short-changing unknowing humans with their “large eggs”

It turns out that the hens of the world have been playing a dirty trick on much of the human population, but now, thanks to one sign at a Japanese grocery store and one surprised Twitter user, the chickens’ secret is out in the open: Apparently, no matter what size an egg is, the size of the yolk never changes. We feel a bit ripped off.

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Attention coffee lovers: The RocketNews24 Ultimate Café Fukuburuko Ranking 2015 is here!

It seems like we’ve been spending every spare moment we have snatching up fukubukuro, the lucky bag bundles that shoppers in Japan buy at New Year’s without knowing what’s inside. As a matter of fact, by the time we stopped and took count, we’d grabbed eight different fukubukuro from cafés near our office.

As a result, we’re pretty much stocked up on coffee for the next couple of weeks. Honestly, we’ve got so much we’d be happy to pour you a cup, if only the RocketNews24 offices had a visitors’ lounge. But since it doesn’t, instead, we’re going to give you the information you need to pick the best café lucky bag for yourself, as we present the RocketNews24 Ultimate Café Fukubukuro Ranking 2015.

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10 things we love about living in Asia

If you have friends who moved to Asia and you can’t figure out why, this article is for you. If you’re the one who moved to an Asian country and you have a hard time explaining why to people back home, then this article is for you too. If you’ve visited Asia and absolutely loved it, then we think we know why, so please read on. And lastly, if you’ve never visited Asia, then you should read this article to find out why you should get your butt over here without delay!

A little while back, we listed 10 things we love about Japan. But we realized that many Asian countries have similar awesome traits. So today, we’re going to expand our love and share 10 things we absolutely adore about Asia!

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Haneto Izakaya: Enjoy Aomori food and music from the comfort of Tokyo

Tokyo is a wonderful city; there’s no denying that. But sometimes you might want to get out into the country and experience some of the different cultural areas of Japan. Of course, if you’re busy working all week or only in the country for a brief time, you may not be able to get out to a place like Aomori Prefecture.

Recently, however, we were in the mood for some tsugaru-jamisen and a few glasses of Aomori Prefecture’s distinguished sake. We didn’t have time to jump on a train to the northern prefecture, but, fortunately, Tokyo is home to Haneto Izakaya, an establishment featuring food and music from Aomori Prefecture. Check out the food, drinks, and a video of their amazing shamisen player rocking the joint!

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We try Youkai Watch Pretz “our milk flavored” snacks, now with 6% milk!

Although they often live in the shadow of their cousin Pocky, Glico’s Pretz brand of cracker sticks are also usually quite tasty. They certainly have enough taste power to stand on their own, but now after joining forces with the children’s money magnet that is Youkai Watch they certainly are a snack force to be reckoned with. The result of this power coupling is Our Milk Flavored Youkai Watch Pretz.

The concept of youkai (traditional Japanese monsters) milk is kind of disgusting in the first place but fun for the kids so we’ll let that slide. However, one sharp-eyed Twitter user spotted in the fine print below: “milk solids 6 percent” leading many online to wonder if “our milk” might actually be something far more heinous. So, I grabbed a pack to take a gander at the actual ingredients and find out if Our Milk Flavored Youkai Watch Pretz actually taste like milk – youkai or otherwise – despite apparently hardly having any milk inside.

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All-you-can-eat cake is all you need to convince us to eat at this Tokyo café

Sometimes, less is more. For example, earlier this year we heard the happy news that Denny’s in Japan was offering all-you-can-eat pancakes. But as enticing as that deal was, there’s an easy way to improve on an unlimited supply of pancakes, and that’s by losing that “pan” restrictor.

So when we heard a popular Japanese bakery has an all-you-can-eat cake deal, we were ecstatic, and then we were out the door to try it for ourselves.

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This month’s slightly bizarre Japanese Twitter trend is showing off overly full Subway sandwiches

Subway may be as popular in Japan as it is in the US–which isn’t really surprising, since the company advertises itself as a healthy meal option. We’re not sure how healthy the sandwiches actually are, but that’s marketing for you. Nevertheless, it is true that a Subway sandwich certainly contains a lot more vegetables than, say, a Big Mac and fries.

And if you’re one of these Japanese Twitter users, your sandwich is literally bursting with vegetables! We’re not sure if this really a lifehack or not, but it is a way to get a sub sandwich and a salad all for price of the just the former.

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Kyaraben roundup! We take a look back at 2014’s best packed lunches 【Pics】

The Kyaraben trend is still going strong in Japan, and even though winter has prompted some to make the temporary switch to deco-nabe, the demand for adorable packed lunches shows no signs of abating. Today we’d like to take a look back over the best of the past year’s Kyaraben. What can we learn about 2014 in Japan from studying these perfect works of edible art?

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Pick your filling and choose the best Lunch Pack in Japan!

What’s the best way to ring in the New Year? Participate in a nation-wide food ranking competition, of course! Japan loves to make lists, and everyone checks them twice to see where they rank on all the big sites. But in a country that loves food, competition is always fierce to see which area of Japan has the best local delicacy.

Yamazaki Baking Co. has a set of sandwiches that are called the “Lunch Pack“. Two pieces of white bread are sandwiched together and filled with a variety of ingredients. This year, seven lucky fillings are facing off to become the most popular Lunch Pack of them all! Find out how you can participate and what exciting flavors hope to be eaten after the jump.

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Seaweed and soy beans and mushrooms, oh my! New Japanese-style bagels coming soon

Mm, bagels. The quintessential morning staple, best hot and crunchy out of the toaster with a generous slathering of cream cheese and a nice hot cuppa.

Thankfully Japan is no stranger to these bread-y rings of goodness, so it isn’t difficult to get one’s bagel fix should the craving strike. The well-known chain BAGEL & BAGEL has been serving up the good stuff since their first store opened in Shinjuku in 1997, and now has about 70 locations open throughout Japan.

While foreign cuisine can be found in abundance here nowadays, from pizza and pasta to Indian curry and naan, creative chefs in Japan will often take these foods and make it uniquely their own. (Potato-and-mayo pizza, anyone?) Bagels are no exception, and starting December 26, BAGEL & BAGEL will be rolling out a line of very Japanese-style bagels, including such “Wa” (Japanese) ingredients as seaweed and edamame.

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Taco Rice: Yummy Tex-Mex cuisine, Okinawan style!

Hands up everyone who loves Japanese food. Now, hands up everyone who loves Tex-Mex. Okay, you can put both of your hands down now. If you’ve never had the pleasure of chowing down on a bowl of delicious “Taco Rice”, then you’re seriously missing out! This Okinawan dish is a staple of the islands, being both tasty and filling while at the same time satisfying many a US military serviceperson’s hankering for a taste of home. We recently picked up a “Taco Rice bento box” from one of the best Taco Rice establishments on Okinawa. Read on for our thoughts!

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Hot and cold and sweet! McDonald’s Japan’s Pie a la Mode is back for the winter!

McDonald’s Japan may not be able to offer you medium or large-size fries right now, but if you’re into sweets, it may be some consolation that they’ll have some special desserts on the menu for a limited time early next year. Yes, back by popular demand, two flavors of Pie a la Mode will be offered by the hamburger chain, and we’re sure there are fans out there already feeling their mouths water at the thought of a hot apple pie mixed with sweet, cold ice cream!

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Baymax mitarashi dango: The best rice dumplings you can buy or Disney-themed choking hazard?

While not everyone in Japan quite knew what to expect from Disney’s newest hit Big Hero 6 (or Baymax, as it’s known over here), it hasn’t stopped audiences from loving the film. Or sobbing through half of it like big babies. (That wasn’t just me, right?) So, it was hardly a surprise when I spotted Baymax mitrashi dango at convenience store chain FamilyMart. And, being the curious person I am, it also wasn’t really a surprise when I found myself buying a pack just to see what they taste like!

Check out our review of the Baymax mitarashi dango and see if you’ll want to pick up a pack for yourself before you head to the theater!

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Mayonnaise and takuan sandwich proves disgusting food combinations are big business in Japan

If you’ve lived in Japan a while or even just visited, you may recognize the word “takuan” – a type of Japanese pickle made from radishes and served as a side dish – and you’ll almost certainly recognize mayonnaise as that thing that is incongruously glopped on just about everything in Japan.

You’ll probably also recognize that these two items have absolutely no business together, especially if just stuffed unceremoniously into a loaf of bread, but, you see, this combination was almost inevitable because, as we’ve proven time and time again, gross food combinations are just the bee’s knees when it comes to prepackaged foods in Japan.

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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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