food

Healthy eating just got better with cupcake wrappers made from seaweed

Healthy eating just got better with cupcake wrappers made from seaweed

If you’re a fan of obento, those delicious looking home-made Japanese lunches full of colour and variety, then you’re going to love this product from Japan: edible cupcake wrappers made from seaweed.

Traditionally, these little wrappers are made from paper or plastic and while they’re great for keeping flavours separate in your lunch box, the daily waste involved isn’t really that great for the environment. Now with this edible variety on the market, you can look forward to taking home an empty lunch box at the end of the day and rest easy knowing you’ve left nature unharmed. Plus, if this idea spills over to the cupcake world, it looks like we could soon be having our cake and eating its wrapper too!

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How to enjoy wasabi painlessly, or at least as painlessly as possible

How to enjoy wasabi painlessly, or at least as painlessly as possible

A few months ago we mentioned the various health benefits a daily dose of the Japanese condiment wasabi has to offer. Afterwards, I was intrigued by the potential anti-aging and cancer preventing effects that five grams a day could bring.

However, eating that much wasabi every day is easier said than done. As small as it is, that little ball can pack quite a punch if eaten all at once. Other more traditional uses of wasabi like on sushi are small and require you to eat a lot every day.

Luckily, there actually are quite a few ways to try and enjoy wasabi without feeling its notorious sting. If you can get past that, then you can enjoy what a delicious root it truly is.

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“Make your own Pino ice cream fondue” event to be held for one day only in Tokyo

“Make your own Pino ice cream fondue” event to be held for one day only in Tokyo

Pino is one of Japan’s most beloved brand of ice cream snacks. They combine the simple deliciousness of a chocolate covered ice cream bar with the bite sized convenience of a bonbon.

Since their launch in 1976, Pino have become available in other flavors such as double-chocolate or strawberry, but their vanilla ice cream with chocolate coating has remains a firm favorite. However, on 13 April this year, Morinaga Milk Industry will be holding a one day event where you can not only taste brand new Pino flavors, but you will actually be able to create your own from over 100 different combinations. Details after the jump!

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We drink Japan’s spaghetti popsicle (seriously)

We drink Japan’s spaghetti popsicle (seriously)

Don’t worry everybody, we’re fine. We didn’t suffer a stroke halfway through writing this article’s title, and the RocketNews24 offices haven’t been violently seized by half-literate chimpanzees with a penchant for prose (we make a protection payment of a bunch of bananas each week to the simian mafia to prevent just such a thing).

Spaghetti-flavored popsicles really do exist in Japan, though, and we decided to melt one down to see what would happen.

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Need gyoza right now? Great dumpling restaurant is just 20 seconds from Yoyogi Station

Need gyoza right now? Great dumpling restaurant is just 20 seconds from Yoyogi Station

Although the juicy pork dumplings called gyoza originated in China, they’re a favorite of both students and expats in Japan. Filling and cheap, they make a great hot meal, and are also a popular way to fortify yourself for a night of drinking, or to satisfy the alcohol-induced bout of the munchies that follows one.

While Japan is filled with gyoza joints, some of the most popular develop an almost cult following, so when we got wind of a tasty pot sticker depository called Sosan no Mise at the next station over from the RocketNews24 office, we decided to check it out.

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We try pork nigiri sushi at a ramen shop in Tokyo

We try pork nigiri sushi at a ramen shop in Tokyo

Tokyo Ramen Marion, a small ramen shop in the Kita Ward of Tokyo, has a menu item that outshines its namesake dish. That item is the chashu pork nigiri sushi, made to resemble the sushi that is almost always made with fish. Our reporter took a trip out to see what this unusual food was all about and came back with a full belly and a completely new view of Japan’s most famous dish.

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Subway cuts prices for two days, helps out those watching their weight and unable to cook alike

Subway cuts prices for two days, helps out those watching their weight and unable to cook alike

With just days left until Japan’s consumption tax jumps from five to eight percent, we’ve resigned ourselves to having to suddenly pay a little bit more for, well, just about everything. So it’s nice to know that this week brings one last hurrah for budget-based pricing, as for two days Subway is cutting us all a break by knocking the price of two of their most popular sandwiches down to almost half of what they ordinarily go for.

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Japan’s cat food restaurant is back!

Japan’s cat food restaurant is back!

In celebration of Cat Day on February 22, Nestle Purina created a cat food-themed dining experience inspired by their popular “luxury cat food,” Mon Petit. Diners were treated to a full course set meal with items that resemble the snacks you’d feed to your beloved pet. With feline waiters and plenty of kitty products, the bizarre restaurant actually turned out to be a huge success. But since it was only around for a total of four days, many cat lovers and adventurous eaters were left without a chance to dine like an animal, so Restaurant Mon Petit is now back in Tokyo for an entire month.

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Top Asian delicacies that many consider kind of gross

Top Asian delicacies that many consider kind of gross

One of the top tourism draws around much of Asia is all the adventurous eating. East Asian countries in particular all seem to have a plethora of extreme foods that you’d never be able to get back home. These dishes run the gamut from super spicy to super sweet, may have gooey but oddly pleasant textures, or may come from some animal you’ve never heard of.

Most of the time, while exotic and possibly a little off-putting in appearance, these quirky dishes taste great. But then there are other so-called “delicacies” that a lot of locals won’t even go near, let alone doe-eyed tourists. So put down that burrito; you won’t be needing (or wanting) it, because here’s a list of stomach-churning delicacies from around East Asia:

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252 Pocky lovers gather in Shibuya to set a world record 【Video】

252 Pocky lovers gather in Shibuya to set a world record 【Video】

Who hasn’t had a daydream about being the best in the world at something? Unfortunately, most of us have already missed our chance to set the Guinness World Record for youngest professional drummer, yet are still a couple decades away for breaking the mark for oldest competing gymnast.

Thankfully, there are accomplishments that aren’t age sensitive, such as the world record for longest relay of people feeding each other, which is exactly what a group of teamwork-minded snack food enthusiasts got together to attempt in Tokyo.

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McDonald’s Japan celebrates cherry blossom season with new cherry frappe and mocha drinks

McDonald’s Japan celebrates cherry blossom season with new cherry frappe and mocha drinks

With certain varieties of sakura trees already covered in pink blossoms, Japan has got cherry trees on the brain. Everyone is looking forward to go out and see the flowers that’ll only be here for a short time, but why settle for one Japanese tradition when you can have two by combining it with limited-availability fast food, in the form of cherry mochas and frappes from McDonald’s.

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Where to find the “ultimate melon bread” in Japan

Where to find the “ultimate melon bread” in Japan

Just the thought of melon bread (or meronpan, as it’s called in Japanese), is enough to make my mouth water. It’s got to be the combination of that fluffy, sweet interior and the crispy, thin cookie dough outer coating…not to mention its heavenly aroma. Whenever I go to a new bakery in Japan, I always try out the melon bread first, and that inevitably sets the standard for me (by the way, plain old 7-11 melon bread is one of my favorites – who else agrees?!).

While it may seem contrary to fact, not all melon bread is actually made with melon flavoring. The name has more to do with the fact that its round shape and exterior grooves resemble a melon. However, we here at RocketNews24 have recently discovered an authentic, “ultimate melon bread” to beat all the rest! If you’re as big of a melon bread fan as us, keep on reading to find out where you can buy this little bun of happiness.

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Expat blogger dishes on her favorite foods to bring back to Japan after a trip home

Expat blogger dishes on her favorite foods to bring back to Japan after a trip home

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, if you’re an expat, there’s something from home you’re craving. Whether it’s chips and salsa or a good, strong beer, not having easy access to your favorite foods can put a damper on even the most enthusiastic of world travelers. That’s why knowing what to bring back after a visit home is so important, and Sharla, a university student living in Tokyo who makes videos about life in Japan, is here to help. Take a look at her video titled “What to Pack for JAPAN 日本に持っていくべき物!” and be prepared to take some notes. As an added bonus, Sharla speaks in English but includes subtitles in Japanese so anyone studying either language can get some extra practice.
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Kim Jong-un clones on the loose, hiding out in China【Photos】

Kim Jong-un clones on the loose, hiding out in China【Photos】

There may be only one murderous, sociopathic leader of North Korea, but with all the Kim Jong-un look-alikes we’ve found in China, we’re starting to wonder if he’s not actually the result of some bizarre cloning experiment. First, a “cosplayer” showed up on the streets of Hong Kong last October, posing for photos and looking as if he were on the verge of sentencing a village to three generations of hard labor. And now another look-alike has appeared in China…selling roast skewers on the street?

What the heck is going on here??

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“Hungover today, sorry!” Laidback Tsukuba cafe gives hilarious reasons for frequent closings

“Hungover today, sorry!” Laidback Tsukuba cafe gives hilarious reasons for frequent closings

Tsukuba is a small, planned city nestled in the mountains of Ibaraki, which has a reputation for being a pretty chilled out place to live. The small population size and abundance of surrounding nature give the city a slow-paced, laid back feeling compared to the bustle of major cities like Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka.

We hear there are also a lot of great places to eat in Tsukuba, provided your restaurant or cafe of choice isn’t closed for the day because they couldn’t decide on the day’s menu items or the manager has a hangover. 

Or at least, that may be the case if you choose to drop in on the popular privately owned cafe, Ajiyoshi. The staff over there seem to take their easygoing lifestyle to the next level, frequently closing up shop on a whim; but never without “good” reason.

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Home sushi train kit commercial is cheesy/awesome

Home sushi train kit commercial is cheesy/awesome

A couple of weeks ago, we brought you news that Japanese toy maker Takara Tomy Arts had just released a revolving sushi kit for home use, which comes complete with miniature sushi train and sushi making tools. Aimed primarily at kids it looked like tremendous fun, but having seen the promotional video for the product we’d like to take this opportunity to upgrade the product’s status in our estimations from “tremendous fun” to the more scientifically accurate “OMFGWANT!”.

Full video after the jump.

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【TBT】Doing it wrong: 20 laughably bad Chinese character cakes

【TBT】Doing it wrong: 20 laughably bad Chinese character cakes

The aesthetic quality of a character cake can be judged by the degree of reluctance felt before cutting into it. Some cakes are so well-crafted that taking a knife to them would be nothing other than desecration of art. Conversely, some cakes are so insultingly terrible that basic survival instincts would compel most people to take knife in hand and stab them out of their misery.

A series of images recently shared on Chinese Facebook ripoff social networking site Renren suggests character cakes in China fall into the latter camp.

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Ad has triple helping of Japanese commercial, anime, and music stereotypes, is still awesome

Ad has triple helping of Japanese commercial, anime, and music stereotypes, is still awesome

Commercials in Japan often portray Japanese products as being far and away the best in the world, and are so overly earnest in doing so they frequently make no sense. Anime is packed with cute characters who, again, make no sense. And a lot of J-pop songs are hyperactive melodies with lyrics that, you guessed it, make no sense.

So how is it combining all three makes for just about the perfect ad for Japanese meat?

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Snack maker promises its extra-thick, extra-expensive potato chips are extra-delicious

Snack maker promises its extra-thick, extra-expensive potato chips are extra-delicious

If you asked people to pick the most innovative Japanese company, most of the responses you’d get would probably be from the automobile and consumer electronics industries. Toyota and Honda are responsible for some of the biggest strides in production techniques and robotics. Nintendo and Sony revolutionized digital entertainment through their game systems and portable music players.

Our vote, though, just might go to snack maker Calbee, for the way the company is constantly pushing the potato chip envelope. In the past, they’ve brought us both fresh-fried and Kentucky Fried Chicken flavor versions, and now they’re set to expand the medium even further with triple-thick, gift-quality gourmet potato chips.

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Survey ranks Japan’s most popular fast food chains, McDonald’s surprisingly not No. 1

Survey ranks Japan’s most popular fast food chains, McDonald’s surprisingly not No. 1

Despite all the lavish attention RocketNews24 has laid upon the altar of the Golden Arches at the cost of our Adonis-like six packs, it seems there’s a fast food chain Japan loves even more than McDonald’s. According to a recent Niconico News survey of adults, the reigning king of fast food in Japan is the country’s own native Mos Burger – although McDonald’s runs a close second.

Since our diets consist of almost nothing but the lard, chicken goo, sawdust and other mystery substances that go into a fast food meal, a win for any fast food is a win for humanity in our book, but let’s take a moment to look at Niconico‘s ranking and examine some of the possible reasons the results:

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