food

New cafe in Harajuku serves up Pom Pom Purin-shaped cuisine, attracts fans and pop idols alike

Despite being nowhere near as famous as his feline counterpart abroad, Sanrio’s Pom Pom Purin has a very loyal fan base in his homeland, so much so that the pastel-yellow “pudding” dog managed to clinch fourth place in this year’s Sanrio Character Ranking, at one point leading the pack.

But while Hello Kitty, My Melody and Kiki & Lala have all been given their own themed cafes, poor old’ Pom Pom has had to wait on the sidelines like the patient pup he is. But by the looks of it, the first ever Pom Pom Purin Cafe was well worth the wait, with the Harajuku location boasting a super-kawaii menu with meals, desserts and drinks featuring everyone’s favorite Sanrio canine as well as adorable merchandise available only at the cafe.

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Liquid wasabi from Shizuoka is our new favorite form of awesome sauce

Shizuoka is generally known for two things, and they’re both green. The prefecture is one of Japan’s biggest producers of not only tea, but also the fiery condiment paste wasabi.

While bottles of tea aren’t anything unusual, we’d never seen wasabi in liquid for until a recent visit to Shizuoka. Since spicy is one of our favorite flavors (we’d put it right up there with sweet and salty), we grabbed a bottle of wasabi sauce to try for ourselves. We were not disappointed.

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Cute, snack-loving Japanese parakeet proves even birds go into food comas

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of the Japanese language here at RocketNews24, but that’s not to say we don’t have any issues with it. For example, Japanese doesn’t really have a good equivalent for “food coma.”

We can understand certain words that are tied up in cultural or historical context not existing in other languages, but the absence of food coma in Japanese seems like a pretty big oversight. After all, everyone occasionally zones out after a really satisfying meal, whether your native language is English or Japanese…or if you happen to be a parakeet.

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How to make Ghost Forest Yakisoba and haunt your noodles for Halloween

Japanese cooking can be a little tricky, since many recipes involve a lot of complex prep work. Yakisoba, though, is a snap. The stir-fried noodle dish is quick and easy, and unlike more rigidly traditional Japanese fare, there’s a lot of room for putting your own spin on it by fiddling with the standard ingredient list of pork, carrots, and cabbage.

For example, with a few simple tweaks for Halloween you can whip up an awesome batch of Ghost Forest Yakisoba.

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Sorry Bambi – Venison burgers and hot dogs coming to Japanese fast food chain

While it doesn’t have nearly as many outlets as McDonald’s, MOS Burger, or Lotteria, Japan’s Becker’s hamburger chain provides a more upscale dining experience. Sure, it’s still fast food, but Becker’s prides itself on high quality ingredients, such as its fresh-baked bread, and relaxing ambiance.

Still, without the huge advertising budget of its larger rivals, Becker’s often flies under the radar of burger fans. They’ve got our undivided attention right now, though, as the chain is about to start selling venison burgers.

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Adorable character hot pots are this fall’s kawaii-est foods

No country does cute food better than Japan, and the latest trend in adorable edibles is fall hot pots stuffed with cute characters that look way too good to eat!

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Domino’s Japan offering discounts to customers who pound the wall, show mementos from old flames

While it may not have the hippest image in the U.S., Domino’s Pizza has built a fanbase for itself in Japan with a string of unique promotions and weird humor. So we’re sure plenty of people were sad to hear that on October 26, Domino’s Japan is closing down its online store where you can order pizzas for delivery or pickup.

Luckily, this has turned out to be just another one of the chain’s quirky jokes, since it’s also opening a new online store on October 27. In other words, it’s just a website redesign, but in addition to serving up plenty of tongue-in-cheek drama, Domino’s is also offering discounts for customers who play along with the joke and say goodbye in a variety of ways.

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Sailor Moon candy, dolls, and music boxes! More new merch than you can shake a Moon Stick at

We recently took a look at a new batch of Sailor Moon aprons, but if you’ve been following the celestial-themed magical girls for very long, you knew that wasn’t going to be the end of cool and quirky tie-ins for the franchise. The product planning team of merchandiser Bandai apparently never sleeps, and those aprons were just the opening salvo of another round of Sailor Moon goodies, including one that’ll help fans with the first part of their quest to eat, sleep, and breathe the hit anime.

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Why are some Japanese preschools banning awesome, adorable character bento?

Considering how much Japan loves food and cute things, it’s no surprise that the country is in the middle of a chara-ben boom. Chara-ben, bento boxed lunches with their contents arranged like popular characters such as Hello Kitty and Doraemon, are a hit with adults and children alike, as parents seem to be having as much fun making them as their kids are eating them.

But not everyone loves this trend of culinary creativity, though, as some preschools and day care centers have started banning chara-ben.

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Less is more as bakery starts selling bags of delicious melon bread crusts minus the bread

It hasn’t made its way to the same level of international culinary stardom as sushi and ramen, but I don’t think I’ve ever introduced a foreign visitor to Japan to melon bread who didn’t fall in love with it. Despite containing no actual melon (the name is thought to come from the pattern scored into the bread’s upper crust), the Japanese bakery mainstay is a definite winner thanks to its sugar-dusted, crisp outer layer. Melon bread delivers just enough flavor and crunch to satisfy your craving for something sweet and stimulating, while at the same time hiding its one undeniable weakness.

The center is just plain white bread.

Bakery Yamazaki Pan seems to have accepted the treat’s shortcoming, and has responded in a temptingly logical way: selling bags of just the crust.

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Real version of Lotteria’s five-patty cheeseburger doesn’t look nearly as glorious as the ads

This Monday marked the return of the gigantic, five-patty Tower Cheeseburger to fast food chain Lotteria. Unfortunately, it was only back for a day, but hey, we figured this limited availability was actually a blessing in disguise. After all, you feel a lot less guilty eating that much meat in a single sitting when you know it’s the sort of rare opportunity you won’t have the chance to make a habit of.

But with just one day to get their Tower Cheeseburgers, no doubt a lot of fans weren’t able to clear out their schedules for a run to their local Lotteria. We’re guessing the blow was softened a bit, though, when they saw that the reality of their burger dream didn’t look anywhere near as mouth-watering as it did in Lotteria’s ads.

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Small-you-can-eat: Japanese netizens are not happy with Denny’s new endless pancakes offer

We really got our hopes up when we heard that Denny’s Japan is offering an all-you-can-eat pancake buffet. For 999 yen (US$9.40), we were promised a pancake paradise complete with whipped cream, a choice of different ice cream flavors, and free toppings. It sounded almost magical.

It turns out, however, that Denny’s promised land of pancakes is little more than an illusion, as a number of Japanese netizens who rushed to the restaurant to try out the buffet reported leaving feeling utterly disappointed, with some commenting that the sorry excuse for a pancake party left even their kids crying, “I’m still hungry!

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Food envy: Pizza Hut Korea launches new cream cheese cranberry crust pizza

Japan gets all kinds of delicious seasonal and limited-edition treats, so it’s not often that I find myself wishing I lived in one of its neighbouring countries instead. Today, though, I have most definitely been paid a visit by the green-eyed monster, as South Korea’s Pizza Hut has just launched a brand-new pizza with a crust filling that looks so mouthwateringly delicious that I can honestly say I wish I were having lunch in Seoul rather than Tokyo today.

Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, prepare to feel very, very hungry.

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Le Jardin de Tweed: Lunch on the roof terrace at Chanel Ginza

Ginza is well-known for its high-end boutiques and exclusive brand name designer stores. Armani, Hermes, Gucci, Bvlgari and Chanel all have signature outposts here and the most surprising thing about them is they offer the unique opportunity to dine inside their buildings.

The iconic Chanel building has one of the most impressive locations of the lot, with a laid-back, resort-like setting up on their roof terrace overlooking the busy Ginza shopping street below. Featuring tweed accents and a lunch box put together by acclaimed French chef Alain Ducasse, you’ll have to get in quick for a chance to eat here as the outdoor area is only open for a limited time until October 31 every year.

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Time to head north: Tochigi Prefecture’s gyoza-flavored rice topping is nothing short of divine

Tochigi Prefecture doesn’t pop-up in the news often, but when it does it usually involves food. You might remember the “First Love” flavored gyoza or the tomato-milk-lemon drink. I totally understand if you didn’t jump out of your seat to go to Tochigi just to taste those… unique… goods for yourself, but there is a new product in Tochigi that is flying off of the shelves and just might be worth that trip: “Kekeru gyoza.”

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Skull-shaped lollipop holders: Because liking candy doesn’t mean you’re not one bad dude

For the most part, we tend to think of candy as being something for kids. Sweet flavors just seem to go with the sweet era of youthful innocence.

But what if you’re an adult who craves a sugar rush, but you still want the world to know that you’re a stone-cold badass? Then you carry your candy inside a skull-shaped lollipop case.

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When first-try character bentos go wrong 【Photos】

The culinary custom of bento, boxed lunches, goes back for generation in Japan. What’s a little less clear, though, is how long people have been dressing up their bentos to look like cute characters.

We’re sure some creative people with both artistic and culinary talents have been making character bentos, or chara-bens, for a long time. But recently, media coverage of chara-bens has gotten intense, and it’s inspiring a wave of newcomers to try their hand at making one for the first time.

But you know the saying, “The third time’s the charm?” People say that because you’re likely to screw things up the first two times, as this collection of first-try bentos shows.

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Raw, frozen eggs are the new food trend in Japan, apparently

Japan seems like a heaven for lovers of raw food–you can even get raw horse meat, if you’re so inclined. Coming from the midwest of the US, I am seriously disinclined to touch any meat that’s not cooked well-done, especially if it comes from a formerly feathered friend. The very concept of “raw egg” is intrinsically linked to “death by salmonella” in my mind, despite the fact that raw egg dishes have been popular in Japan since long before I was born.

But knowing something logically and accepting it emotionally are two very different things. So, while I’m reluctant to try it, I’m that sure raw, frozen egg dishes are actually exceptionally tasty.

So, if you are interested in trying it, here’s some information on the dish and how to make it yourself.

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Celebrate New Years in Pokémon style — with a monster ball filled with traditional osechi food!

In Japan, when you start hearing about Christmas cake promotions, it also means you have to start thinking about New Year’s osechi food as well. Osechi consists of different traditional foods typically prepared for New Year’s to wish for luck in the coming year and are usually items that keep well so that you can have the pre-cooked foods throughout the New Year’s holidays without having to do much cooking during that time. You can, of course, choose to keep it simple and simply buy just a few of the key items like datemaki (sweet rolled omelette) and kuromame (black soy beans) at the supermarket, or go all out on a luxury osechi set from a famous restaurant or department store. Well, this year, it looks like a Pokémon osechi set is also an option, and it even comes in a unique container in a shape that fans will find quite familiar — a Poké Ball!

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Worried about McDonald’s chicken in Japan? Don’t be! Free McNuggets ease your fears!

This summer, consumers in Japan were shocked by the news of “Chickengate”, the Chinese food scandal that revealed a dirty secret behind our favorite Chicken McNuggets. Since then, McDonald’s Japan has tried to win back customers with Tofu McNuggets, and more recently introduced the “Hiru Mac” or “Lunchtime Mac” to encourage patrons to come for lunch and enjoy great discounted prices.

But, the public still worries about where the chicken is coming from. The sales of McNuggets haven’t recovered since McDonald’s Japan revealed that the chicken comes from Thailand, so they’re trying a new tactic of…giving away free Chicken McNuggets.

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