food

So hungry you can eat a horse? This rest stop will satisfy you figuratively and literally

Akita Prefecture is a northern region known for its rice production and other agricultural pursuits. However, our reporter Nakano went out with a different goal. He heard rumors of a village that served a superb donburi (rice bowl) with horse meat.

It doesn’t take much more than that to get one of our reporters on the move, so Nakano booked a ticket and packed his bags to head out to the snow-laden town of Kamikoani. His mission: to try some of their legendary banikudon (horse meat rice bowl).

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How to cook pot stickers in just three seconds: Lots of garlic, lots of craziness 【Video】

I love gyoza, the pork and garlic-packed dumplings that you can find in diners, ramen joints, and grocery stores across Japan. Seriously, when the Japan Gyoza Association released an ad that was just a dude running around with a delirious grin saying, “Aha! Gyoza! Ahaha!” it seemed, to me, like the most natural reaction in the world to the little wrapped bits of deliciousness.

Really, the only complaint I have about gyoza is that I don’t have a freshly cooked batch in front of me right now. With a solution to that problem, here’s a video of how to make gyoza in just three seconds, without using a microwave.

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Revenge bento show us it’s a dish best served cold (and boxed) with insults and hidden chilies

There are two advantages to the large variety of foodstuffs that go into a typical bento, or Japanese boxed lunch. Not only do they provide a diverse collection of flavors and vital nutrients, they also give aesthetically minded chefs plenty of options for arranging them in an expressive manner.

Of course, “expressive” can end up meaning very different things depending on what the bento-maker wants to express. In happy times, the result might be fun and playful chara-ben, boxed lunches that resemble popular fictional characters. But on the other end of the spectrum lie shikaeshi bento, “boxed lunches of revenge” that are as spiteful as they are creative.

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Creatively designed sushi roll towels give daily life a little extra flavor

When made properly, sushi rolls can be a pretty colorful and nicely designed food. There’s the white of the rice contrasting with the black/dark green of the seaweed, and then there are the colorful main ingredients, such as bright-orange ikura, green cucumber, yellow egg, and deep-red tuna. Maybe it’s this presentation that has drawn many companies to make products modeled after everyone’s favorite raw fish roll.

In the past year, a couple of brands have come out with incredibly cute and creative sushi roll towels. Unfolded, they look just like interestingly patterned towels, but bundled up, they turn into sushi rolls that look so delicious you’ll want to take a bite!

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Häagen-Dazs releases new mochi ice cream, and it’s amazing! 【Taste test】

There are a ton of different ways to eat mochi, with roasting it or dropping it into soup or hot pots being some of the more common. Outside of Japan, though, many people’s first encounter with mochi is in the form of ice cream-filled mochi spheres sold at specialty grocers.

But while they make a tasty treat, what would happen if you reversed the process, and instead of putting ice cream in mochi, put mochi into ice cream? That’s the question posed by Häagen-Dazs new kinako kuromitsu mochi ice cream, and we’re here with the answer.

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We try one ekiben shop’s three most popular bento boxes- out of a selection of 170 kinds

On March 14, the new extension of the Nagano Shinkansen line will open, connecting Toyama and Ishikawa Prefectures to Tokyo. This is exciting news for Chubu region locals and Tokyoites alike, as the trip from the northern central prefectures to Tokyo will take a mere 2.5 hours, so everyone is preparing for some fun day trips!

What’s the best part of Shinkansen day trips (other than effortlessly speeding through beautiful Japanese countryside)? Ekiben! Ekiben are lunch boxes sold in train stations, specifically to be taken on long train rides. One of our Tokyo-based writers visited a famous ekiben shop, which sells over 170 bento box options and ate the top three kinds. Do they deserve their rankings at the top?

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Netizens awed, charmed by company’s insanely detailed culinary miniatures 【Pics】

Japan clearly has no shortage of incredibly realistic miniatures. Only recently, we’ve covered Ginji, the wise hamster behind the world’s smallest izakaya (may he rest in peace), as well as the creator of some remarkable small-scale hangars.

Which brings us to the newest development in this saga: miniature food sets. Many have taken to Twitter to express their love for the ant-sized creations of company Re-ment, a maker of toys and other miscellaneous goods. With names like “Dad, eat the bitter part for me!” and “”Grandma’s House,” these sets recreate each scene with uncanny accuracy, but at a fraction of the size.

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“Do they think we’re stupid?” McDonald’s Japan’s new, unappealing strawberry shortcake and donut

Much like the rest of the world, fast food in Japan is a war of franchises trying to one-up the other. When McDonald’s announced it was getting rid of large-sized fries, Lotteria announced they’d give customers “whatever size they wanted.” When McDonald’s was struggling with the morning crowd, Mos Burger seized the opportunity to strike by offering a traditional Japanese breakfast.

Now that Mister Donut has upped the ante by rolling out a strawberry-chocolate-marshmallow pizza, McDonald’s has answered back with its new strawberry whipped cream donut and shortcake. Who will emerge the victor? Well, so far, it’s looking pretty one-sided.

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Gunma Prefecture automat diner serves surprisingly delicious hamburgers with a side of nostalgia

From corn soup to gold soda cans to stag beetles, you can find almost anything in vending machines situated on approximately every street corner in Japan. And not too long ago in Showa-era Japan, it was pretty common to see restaurants staffed entirely by vending machines serving bland, but hot food at an affordable price. Some savvy business owner decided to cash in on this nostalgia and recently opened up an automat diner where customers can relive a time when “dining out” meant putting coins into a vending machine and waiting for your food to pop out!

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Butter-flavored Kit Kats come to Japan as new specialty store opens in Hokkaido

In the year since it opened in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro, we’ve become big fans of the Kit Kat Chocolatory, the specialty store for the chocolate-covered wafers that’re especially popular in Japan. As a matter of fact, somewhere in the course of our multiple visits to procure the latest and greatest Kit Kat flavors, we’ve forgotten what life was like before the shop opened.

But while we’re living in the land of plenty with two different Chocolatory locations in Tokyo (the second is near Tokyo Station), not all of Japan is so fortunate. Until now, only residents of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nagoya could claim their town had its own Kit Kat paradise.

That’s about to change, though, as a new Kit Kat Chocolatory is opening soon in Hokkaido, and bringing a new flavor with it: butter.

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Marshmallow chocolate Brooklyn pizzas now available at Mister Donut!

Mister Donut stores across Japan have been transporting customers to Brooklyn since the beginning of the year, with a special line-up of hybrid sweets and beverages and even dedicated outlets featuring fittings inspired by the borough’s cool, hip eateries.

Now, a sweet slice of Brooklyn has just landed in stores, in the form of miniature, palm-sized pizzas topped with chocolate, marshmallows and even strawberry sauce. We stopped by for takeout and the results were more delicious than we could have imagined. Check out our photos for the cutest, tiniest slices of pizza you’ve ever seen!

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Just like the cherry blossoms, KFC potato chips return to Japan this spring!

Last year, something beautiful came to Japan. It was only here for a short while, but in that time, it left a deep impression on many people, including us here at RocketNews24. And while we were sad to see it go, it’s time to dry our tears, because this spring, it’s coming back again!

So, all excited for cherry blossom season? That’s great, but what we’re actually talking about right here are Kentucky Fried Chicken-flavor potato chips.

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The madness ends now: How to conqueror impossible-to-open Japanese convenience store snacks

Oh Japanese convenience stores. Those bright, white-glowing oases that have everything you could ever possibly need inside of them, all wrapped up with a pair of chopsticks and a warm smile from the clerk.

Except for when you want an onigiri (rice ball) or sushi roll. Anyone who buys one of the items pictured above typically finds themselves suddenly engaged in a battle of wits matching human against plastic wrap. And the plastic wrap usually wins, resulting in a mess of rice, seaweed and tears of frustration.

But fear not! We here at RocketNews24 are here to help with step-by-step instructions so you will never lose to another conbini snack again.

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Do you mix your wasabi and soy sauce? Some people say you shouldn’t

When it comes to Japanese food, the first thing people tend to think of is sushi–and with good reason! It’s certainly very popular, and it has numerous fans the world over. However, despite the popularity of sushi, sashimi, which is raw, thinly sliced fish, might be even more loved.

Of course, there are plenty of ways to eat sashimi, but it seems that the most common way is to mix some wasabi in a dish of soy sauce and then dip the fish in the soy sauce. A relatively straightforward but delicious process, right? Yes, but apparently that’s completely wrong!

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Peach-scented and flavored strawberries seriously trip us up, still taste deliciously sweet

As I’m currently teaching at a high school, I already have plenty of teenagers trying to do things like change the due dates of their assignmentsmess in order to mess with my brain, thank you very much. The last thing I need is for my fruit to try to do the same…so imagine my frustration when I learned that there’s a place in Japan where you can buy strawberries pretending to be peaches (or is it the other way around!?)!

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Japan has eggs that smell and taste like yuzu citrus fruit, and they’re amazing!

In a lot of ways, eggs are a pretty wonderful food. Cheap and versatile, they’re just about the quickest and easiest route to a hot, filling meal that’s high in protein and low in calories.

But while eggs may taste great, they don’t quite measure up to the standards set by other breakfast staples in the aroma department, such as sizzling bacon or freshly sliced grapefruit. Unless, of course, you’ve got your hands on some of these special eggs from Kochi Prefecture that smell, and taste, like yuzu, one of Japan’s most delicious citrus fruits. And yes, the scent is all natural.

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What’s really for breakfast? 20 Japanese people give us a peek at their morning meal【Photos】

Like most countries around the world, Japan has quite a few delicious foods, like sushi, tempura and sukiyaki, that really stand out. But as delicious as they are, these wonderful dishes are usually only enjoyed every once in a while and are by no means what a regular Japanese person enjoys for their meals on a daily basis.

Of all the meals, a typical Japanese breakfast is perhaps what people are most curious about since it’s the least talked about (it’s not like breakfast is usually served at your local Japanese restaurant, after all!). Are Japanese people still scarfing down traditional Japanese foods each morning, or have they switched to a simpler, more Western style of breakfast? Let’s find out!

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US kids react to breakfasts from other countries, and it’s equal parts cute and hilarious 【Video】

One of the best parts of traveling to other countries are all the new and exciting (and sometimes even gag-inducing) food experiences that come with it. While some may turn up their nose at something like fermented cabbage, fish eggs, or animal innards – something which is strange and exotic to one culture but a completely normal food to another – these likes and dislikes really have little to do with personal tastes, and everything to do with upbringing.

I believe that it is very important for kids to be introduced to many different cultures from a young age, to help give them a better understanding of and respect for the world around them, and what better way to do that than by introducing foods from other countries? That is what the people over at YouTube channel Cut Video did, when they created their video “American Kids Try Breakfasts From Around the World”.

As we all know, kids can tend to be picky eaters, so introducing them to unknown foods is sure to bring a few sour faces, as you can see in the video after the jump!

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Pot-sticker paradise, hot-spring hotel just outside of Tokyo makes for a tasty retreat

Ask a Japanese person to give some examples of Chinese food, and they’ll likely reply with things like chaahan (fried rice) and the quintessential gyoza (pot-stickers). With their crispy fried outsides and juicy, flavorful insides, you can’t go wrong with gyoza, and many would say that Chinese food chain GYOZANOMANSYU (餃子の満州), based in the Kanto region of Japan, is the leader of them all.

Those wishing to take the gyoza experience a bit further can visit the hot-spring hotel Toumeikan in Gunma Prefecture, managed by GYOZANOMANSYU, and for a mere 5,900 yen per night (roughly US$59) you can stay in one of their cozy Japanese-style rooms, take a relaxing soak in the onsen hot springs, and get your fill at their breakfast buffet. Located deep in the mountains of Gunma, yet within a two- to three-hour drive from Tokyo, makes this a great place for a weekend getaway. Albeit one involving lots of garlic and chives.

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What’s next after green tea ramen? Why, chocolate ramen, of course! 【Taste Test】

Ramen, understandably, is one of the Japanese foods that foreign visitors (and locals too, for that matter) find hugely appealing, and there’s certainly no shortage of ramen shops or unique ramen flavors to be tried in Japan. Now, you may recall that back in November last year, we brought you news of the very interesting matcha green tea ramen from Menya Musashi. Well, this month, it looked like it was time to make a repeat visit to Menya Musashi, to have some… chocolate ramen!

Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day week and everything is chocolate themed in Japan at the moment, so why not ramen too, right? We definitely weren’t about to miss this dish that combined two of our favorite foods!

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