food

A gourmet family restaurant? Six reasons why you should go to a Denny’s in Japan

A gourmet family restaurant? Six reasons why you should go to a Denny’s in Japan

Have you ever been to a Denny’s in Japan? If not, Yoshio, one of the reporters from our Japanese site, thinks it would be worth your while to make a visit to the family restaurant when you’re in Japan. Why? Well, Denny’s in Japan has quite a varied and tasty menu that’s quite different from what you can get in the United States. In fact, Yoshio says that one of his American friends even calls Denny’s in Japan the “gourmet Denny’s”! So, today we bring you six reasons from Yoshio why Denny’s in Japan is a great eatery that you should visit if you have the chance, and may even be the first restaurant you should go to in Japan.

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Enjoy some Shan cuisine with a side order of caterpillars at Tokyo’s Nong Inlay restaurant

Enjoy some Shan cuisine with a side order of caterpillars at Tokyo’s Nong Inlay restaurant

Recent studies have been suggesting that the human race would be far better off adopting an insect diet in order to preserve the environment. However, anytime we see a culture who partakes in edible insects they always look incredibly unappetizing.

Why is insect the one food that people refuse to cut up when eating? When I order a salad the restaurant doesn’t toss a head of lettuce on my table, and yet order a plate of crickets and it’d be a miracle if they even pull the antennae off before serving.

Still, if mass insect consumption is on the horizon and chefs refuse to make them not look like insects while eating, we’re going to have to get used to it. That’s exactly why a couple of our writers, Felix Sayaka and Ikuko Kawamura went down to Nong Inlay in Shinjuku to try out some caterpillars along with some other dishes out of the Shan State of Myanmar.

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Can’t get curry in your belly without getting it on your clothes? Kill the stain with the sun

Can’t get curry in your belly without getting it on your clothes? Kill the stain with the sun

A few days after I started doing homestay in Tokyo, I sat down for a meal with my host family, picked up a morsel of food with my chopsticks, and promptly dropped it onto my shirt. “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to using chopsticks soon enough,” they encouragingly told me, but the fact of the matter is that I’m just an incredibly messy and clumsy eater.

My choice of utensil doesn’t really seem to make much of a difference. Curry, for example, is eaten with a spoon in Japan, and I’ve still managed to spill spicy roux on myself plenty of times, usually when I’m wearing a new shirt. Thankfully, though, there’s apparently an easy way to get curry stains out: sunlight.

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Survey picks Japan’s top 12 cheap chain restaurants

Survey picks Japan’s top 12 cheap chain restaurants

In Japan, the common thinking is that if you want the absolute best-tasting food, you have to go to an independently run restaurant, generally with a long wait for tables and/or high prices on the menu. But what about those times when you’re hungry, but not in the mood to spend a large chunk of either your free time or disposable income on a meal?

That’s when you turn to one of Japan’s national chains, and if you can’t decide which, maybe this survey on the top 12 chain restaurants in Japan can help you.

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5 awesome Japanese ice creams that are perfect for summer 【Video】

5 awesome Japanese ice creams that are perfect for summer 【Video】

It’s the middle of August, and while the days we’ve been having recently aren’t quite as face-meltingly hot as those a couple of weeks ago, it is nevertheless still pretty toasty out there. Thankfully, just like when suffering with a cold or sore throat, the summer heat does afford us one very tasty luxury: a genuine excuse to gorge on delicious ice cream!

If you’re feeling the heat this summer, or are just curious about some of Japan’s go-to ice cream treats, join us after the jump for a special video featuring five of our frozen favourites.

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A Fujoshi’s heaven on earth exists in Ikebukuro’s Boy’s Love Academy cafe

A Fujoshi’s heaven on earth exists in Ikebukuro’s Boy’s Love Academy cafe

Japan should officially be known as the land of themed cafés. From cat cafés to owl cafés, character cafés and maid cafés… there’s even a café where you can pay 980 yen (US$9.57) to get two young men to share a stick of Pocky. Mouth to mouth. And that’s not all that is on their fantasy-inducing menu.

Regardless if you’re a fujoshi (girls who are fans of homoerotic fiction) or not, you should take a peek behind this particular curtain, because honestly, this probably isn’t something you’d get to see on an average day!

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Japan asks if bananas with Sprite will make you puke, Brazilian comedians answer 【Video】

Japan asks if bananas with Sprite will make you puke, Brazilian comedians answer 【Video】

Last week, we took a look at a deeply moving diaper commercial, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the RocketNews24 office (with the exception of Mr. Sato, whose tear ducts are still clogged with cheese). Today, we’re taking a look at a different video about fluids being expelled from the body.

Wow, that sounds digesting and vague, doesn’t it? Well, to be specific, it’s a video about vomiting.

Hmm…still pretty abstract and nasty, huh? OK, one more try: It’s a video about whether or not eating a banana and then drinking Sprite will make you puke (SPARKLE!).

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Carbonated sake is selling like gangbusters, just in time to rescue the drink from its demise

Carbonated sake is selling like gangbusters, just in time to rescue the drink from its demise

While I like to think of myself as one of the more cynical and irreverent – as well as dashingly handsome and sharply dressed – writers here at RocketNews24, I occasionally do come across a subject I’d rather approach with a more measured, sober point of view. Like, for example, the subject of sweet, sweet booze!

It might come as a shock to people whose primary brushes with Japanese culture come from visits to their local, non-Japan-based Japanese teppan restaurant or izakaya, but sake – the country’s national alcoholic beverage – is kind of in dire straights nowadays. The traditional, rice-based drink basically has been getting steamrolled by imported drinks like beer and wine, which have less of a “learning curve” to fully enjoy and thus appeal more to young people in Japan.

Since the 1970s, when the drink still faced stiff competition from domestic beers and imported wines but was doing pretty well for itself, domestic sake sales have hit a wall, with the number of brewers falling from nearly 5,000 in that period to just 1,000 or so now. Some have turned to foreign markets, even looking into new ways to pair sake with western food, while others have tried to innovate with sparkling sake – which is kicking ass in sales numbers and might just prove to be the drink’s savior.

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This Japanese pork is now being sold with its very own sexy manga series: The Four Men of Pigs

This Japanese pork is now being sold with its very own sexy manga series: The Four Men of Pigs

Usually when I think of pork, I think of a delicious salty-yet-sweet meat that will one day lead to my first and third heart attacks. I never really took the time to think about the elegant back story that goes on around the slaughterhouses… Excuse me, how gauche; abattoirs of Japan.

Luckily, Japan’s Silky Pork is bringing all the drama and intrigue of the pork product industry to the forefront in a sexy new online manga series. Titled Four Men of Pigs: The Silky Porco Story, it’s kind of like popular soap Dynasty, only with pork, the legendary Pig of Happiness, and a discernible lack of any female characters.

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Are you an avocaddict? Burger King Japan can help you get your fix with new avocado burgers

Are you an avocaddict? Burger King Japan can help you get your fix with new avocado burgers

Every now and again, the Japanese branches of McDonald’s roll out what they call the Big America burgers. Each one is named after a place in the US and has a subtle nod to the region through its ingredients, such as the chili-soaked Texas burger.

The thing is, in the U.S. we don’t call that a Texas burger, we call it a chili burger. Likewise, going into anywhere other than a Japanese McDonald’s and asking for a Broadway or Idaho burger is going to leave the staff confused and you hungry.

It’s always seemed a little strange that there’s no California burger, since that’s an established dish with a standard recipe, being avocado slices on a burger. Well, if McDonald’s won’t do it, Burger King Japan will, and even without a tip of the hat to the Golden State, their new lineup of burgers is packed with avocado.

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Nine steps to enjoying an outdoor Japanese barbecue

Nine steps to enjoying an outdoor Japanese barbecue

Of course there are outdoor barbecues in Japan, but with very little front or backyard space to work with, the grill and everything that goes on it has been shrunk down. Devoid of any fancy knobs, racks, or even a lid, and easily packed away in a storage shed for use during the summer, these small grills are deceptively simple, but can churn out some delicious grub.

Let’s take a closer look at the tradition of grilling meat outdoors in Japan and we’ll also show you how to enjoy your own Japanese-style barbecue.

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Japanese cucumber glows in the dark, sparks concern from internet

Japanese cucumber glows in the dark, sparks concern from internet

One netizen in Japan created quite a pickle recently, after posting these photos online in an internet chat forum. The accompanying thread, titled “the pickled cucumbers my mum made are glowing in the dark”, caught the attention of hundreds of users, who began discussing possible causes for the mysterious luminescence. Speculation ranged from light-hearted banter, questioning whether the dawn of cognitive vegetables had finally arrived, to more serious concerns about radiation. What do you think caused the unique phenomenon?

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Ex-plant worker jailed for 42 months for tainting frozen food

Ex-plant worker jailed for 42 months for tainting frozen food

The man charged with lacing frozen food products with a pesticide last October has been sentenced to 42 months in prison by the the Maebashi District Court in Gunma Prefecture.

Toshiki Abe, 49, a former plant worker at the Oizumi plant of Maruha Nichiro Holdings subsidiary Aqlifoods Co, was convicted of lacing the food products.

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Get ‘em while they’re cold! Tokyo restaurant has chilled chicken skewers in collagen blocks

Get ‘em while they’re cold! Tokyo restaurant has chilled chicken skewers in collagen blocks

Japan takes skin care pretty seriously. Aside from all the parasols, cosmetic-grade sunscreens, and arsenal of lotions stocked at every drug store, some people look for a skin-beautifying boost in the foods they eat.

Collagen-rich dishes are particularly popular, especially when cooked in a hot pot. But what if you don’t just want food that contains collagen, but globs of it that contain food? Then this Tokyo yakitori restaurant has just the thing with its chicken skewers inside blocks of collagen.

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Udon Museums set to bring oodles of noodles to Tokyo and Osaka this year

Udon Museums set to bring oodles of noodles to Tokyo and Osaka this year

Compared to ramen, udon has a decidedly low-key image. Ramen is actually a comparative newcomer to the Japanese dining scene, and so it’s generally the more likely candidate for crazy experimentation. Udon, on the other hand, is simpler, and in its most basic form, the thick white flour noodles, floating in a basic salty broth, can seem almost austere by comparison.

At least, that’s the impression eating udon only in train station noodle joints and school cafeterias would leave you with. The truth is, in the several centuries Japan has been eating udon, it’s come up with dozens of different takes on the dish, and later this year, you’ll be able to sample dozens all in the same place, with the opening of two Udon Museums in Tokyo and Osaka.

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The fantastic feast of festival food in Japan

The fantastic feast of festival food in Japan

During the year of college I spent studying at Waseda University, I lived with a Japanese family in the suburbs of Tokyo. They were extremely hospitable and took great care of me, guiding me around the neighborhood and helping me improve my language skills.

Still, looking back, there’s one thing they did that I still can’t wrap my head around. One night we were headed to a local festival, and before we left, my host mom prepared a huge dinner, so that we wouldn’t get hungry and have to buy anything at the food stalls there.

Honestly, in my mind, buying munchies on-site was half the fun of going to those kinds of events. An additional decade of living in Japan has only strengthened my opinion on the matter, and as proof, here are 18 of Japan’s best festival foods.

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Try not to eat your fingers while wearing these realistic sushi nails

Try not to eat your fingers while wearing these realistic sushi nails

We’ve seen a lot of cute and especially strange nail art from Japan, but we’ve never seen any that looked this delicious! Ebi, tamago, sake, and many more of our favorite sushi toppings grace the tops of this young woman’s nails, in what will probably make it even harder for chronic nail biters to kick the habit.

More up-close pictures and even more kinds of sushi nails after the jump!

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We ask an Itamae how to order sushi like a pro

We ask an Itamae how to order sushi like a pro

Japan’s sushi restaurants range from some of the finest cuisine in the world, to cheerful conveyer-belt gigs where everything is 100 yen (oh, alright then, 108 yen) and comes with a free toy. For those of us accustomed to the “sushi-go-round” that is kaiten-zushi, visiting a “proper” sushi restaurant in Japan where there’s no rotating belt of plates to choose from can be a daunting experience.

When there’s no menu, and you’re alone at the counter, quivering under the watchful eye of an intimidating chef armed with giant swishy blades, how do you order with confidence? Who better to ask than a sushi itamae, a high-end chef of Japanese cuisine. One of our intrepid Japanese reporters went to ask one of these top sushi chaps, who gave us his best three tips for sounding like you know what you’re doing at the counter.

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We visit the Hello Kitty theme park to eat an adorable Sanrio meal

We visit the Hello Kitty theme park to eat an adorable Sanrio meal

Even though it doesn’t boast the kind of attendance numbers that Tokyo Disneyland gets, Hello Kitty actually has her own theme park in Japan. Located in Tokyo’s northwestern Tama New Town district, Sanrio Puroland is dedicated to the beloved feline and her Sanrio brethren.

Puroland has the rides and shows you’d expect from an amusement park that was created to help fans spend the day with their favorite fictional characters. This being Japan, though, you also need special munchies to draw people to a destination, which Puroland has with its lineup of cute, colorful Sanrio foods.

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Creepy creatures from the seabed that you can eat!【Taste Test】

Creepy creatures from the seabed that you can eat!【Taste Test】

Although Japanese food is known the world over and Japanese restaurants can be found in almost any major city these days, many people may not be aware of a few of the finer Japanese delicacies–such as the creepy creatures from the bottom of the sea–that you can eat.

When you think of the seabed, if you think of a place that is dark, murky, and full of scary creatures such as giant squid and sea monsters, then perfect! Because today we’re going to meet some of those guys’ roommates.

Join our not-so-intrepid island reporter who prefers to pass when it comes to dining on the low-life relegated to the muck on the seabed. She skips out on the taste tests and instead grabs an unsuspecting foreign visitor to try out some of Japan’s more esoteric treats.

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