food

Top tip for saving money in Japan: visit the supermarket just before closing time

Today we’re going to tell you a super special tip for getting the most out of your local supermarket here in Japan. It’s actually something pretty simple, but that you might not know about if you always go during the day.

You see, you should totally go to the supermarket just before closing time. Why? Because when it gets close to closing time they start to discount their food! 

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Here’s what we got when we ordered the chef’s recommendation…at McDonald’s!

If you’re a foodie who dreams of eating at Michelin and Zagat rated establishments, perhaps you’ve also fantasized about saying to the Maitre d’ at a fancy restaurant, “Can I speak with the chef? I’d like to thank him/her for a superb meal.”  Granted, such a dining situation may not come up very often, but what you may be able to do more easily instead is to order “whatever the chef’ recommends.

And that’s exactly what our RocketNews24 Japan staff decided to do at a series of restaurants, the first one being  none other than…McDonald’s! Now, we’d like to think that all people working in a kitchen, whatever the type of restaurant, actually want to serve tasty food, and to that end would likely have a definite opinion on what they would most like customers to try.  So, asking for the chef’s recommendation should result in a more than satisfying meal, right? Well, we were certainly excited to find out what the recommendation would be at one of the world’s best-known fast food chains!

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What do you eat when you catch a cold? We asked 11 of our Japanese reporters

The answer to the question “What do you eat when you catch a cold?” is probably different depending on where you live in the world. For me, nursing a cold conjures up images of sitting in bed wrapped in blankets and sipping chicken noodle soup.

But we were curious to know which foods and other remedies are commonly consumed in Japan when someone gets sick, so we asked 11 of our colleagues over at the Japanese edition of RocketNews24 and our sister site Pouch to share what they eat when the sniffles start creeping up on them. Think you can guess how they answered? Some of their responses might surprise you!

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Japan sees America’s Double Down, raises it a crazy deep-fried “sandwich” of its own

As an American living in Japan, I often get comments to the effect of, “People in your home country love fried foods, don’t they?” And really, I can’t argue otherwise. After all, the United States is the birthplace of such culinary contributions as the Double Down, the KFC menu item that replaced the bread in a fried chicken sandwich with two more pieces of fried chicken.

Of course, Japan loves fried foods too, even if it doesn’t eat them with the same frequency, or in the same volume, as America does. As proof, people in Osaka are proving that they can put air quotes around their breadless “sandwiches” too, in the form of the croquette sandwich, which comes wrapped in a fried outer layer.

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We sample blue Drift Ice Curry from the India of the Okhotsk Sea

Earlier this month our reporter Mr. Sato paid a visit to the northern land of Hokkaido and their Adashiri Prison Museum. There he sampled of their pickles and prison beer but also found a bevy of other souvenirs for the region.

One item in particular stood out among those various trinkets and snacks. Its name is Drift Ice Curry and it was inspired by the tranquil beauty of ice that flows through the Okhotsk Sea from mid-February to early March. It’s a phenomenon that’s you’d probably least expect be depicted in a curry, which is exactly why Mr. Sato had to try it.

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Nine of our Japanese writers share the restaurants they absolutely must visit again!

Have you ever had a meal so good that you decided you absolutely had to come back at least once before you kicked the bucket? It might have been some tiny restaurant on a beach or a five-star establishment in Shinjuku, but we imagine lots of people have some special place where the food was just freaking perfect.

So, we asked our Japanese writers what those places were for them and compiled the answers. You’re welcome! Click below to find out the ten places (someone cheated) they absolutely must visit again and see if your favorite eatery made the list.

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Cup of noodles for vegans! Japanese Zen Buddhist temple starts selling instant soba and udon

Upon coming to Japan, a lot of people are surprised to discover just how difficult finding vegetarian food can be. Many people imagine Japan as a country that eats very little meat, and while that’s definitely true in comparison to North America and western Europe, the flipside is that you’ll find at least a little bit of meat in just about all dishes, including salads and vegetable stews with surprising frequency.

Things get trickier still if you’re trying to stick to a vegan diet. Even something as simple as noodles are generally out, since almost all broths are made with meat or fish stock. But if you’ve got an aversion to meat coupled with a craving for soba or udon, you’re in luck, with two new types of vegan instant noodles produced by a Zen Buddhist temple.

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“It all came out?” Debate ensues over whether schoolgirl ad is just talking about mayonnaise

A teen model smiles sweetly at the camera. Deftly using her hands, she produces a considerable volume of white, goopy liquid. Then she turns to the camera and asks, innocently, “It all came out?”

Fetish video, or commercial for mayonnaise-topped noodles? According to some people in Japan, it’s sort of both.

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Fried chicken teams up with instant ramen in this cup of noodles fit for a king

There’s a popular Japanese TV show whose protagonist, a wandering gourmet with a healthy appetite, often finds himself looking over a restaurant menu while trying to make an agonizing decision about which of two tempting entrees to order. Often, he resolves the crisis by following the advice encapsulated by his catchphrase, “When you can’t decide which to eat, have both.”

That also seems to be the philosophy behind Nissin Foods’ newest product: instant ramen with fried chicken.

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Oh… yummy! New snack to hit Japan: giant isopod senbei rice crackers!

We’ve already mentioned how fond we are of deep sea creatures here in Japan, in particular the giant isopod that has been turned into various products from phone cases to gachapon toys. Well, now it seems that Yamaki Honpo, a maker of traditional Japanese senbei (rice crackers), has taken the Japanese love of isopods to new heights. They’ve come up with … yes, you guessed it, Giant Isopod senbei crackers! And while we can certainly understand how people might find these creatures fascinating, we have to say, we’re honestly not sure how to react to this new snack. Bug crackers, seriously?

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Five simple ways to take your curry rice to the next level

Curry rice is the perfect Japanese comfort food. It’s hearty, filling, sweet and just a little bit spicy, being a much milder version of Indian curry introduced to Japan by way of the British (you’re welcome, Japan!).

One of the best things about curry rice is how easy it is to customise it. You can subtly alter the flavour of the sauce by adding honey, apples, or even chocolate, and you can switch up serving methods by swapping the rice for udon or ramen. You can pour it over deep-fried pork katsu or seafood, or throw in all kinds of vegetables… the possibilities are endless!

But if you’re looking for ways to really step up your curry game, then we recommend trying some of these tips and tricks from professional curry chefs…

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How do deep-fried frog burgers taste? We find out at Yokohama cafe 【Taste test】

Having lived in Yokohama for the past decade, I try to grab as many assignments as I can that are related to the city, as well as Kanagawa, the prefecture it’s located in. Also, as someone who gets hungry at least three times a day, I try to volunteer for as many RocketNews24 taste tests as my schedule will allow.

However, I graciously let one of my coworkers handle today’s project: heading to a cafe in Yokohama to chow down on a frog burger.

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Tokyo chain puts french fries on soba noodles, proves dreams really can come true

Ramen burgers. Bulgogi tacos. Cronuts. Sometimes the stars align and the gods see fit to bless the world with visionary new dishes–the kind that make people say, “Is that even possible?” Eventually, those same people end up wondering why no one came up with the concept sooner.

One of our Japanese writers was able to experience the joy of culinary experimentation firsthand during a recent trip to Tokyo’s Nadai Fuji Soba, which is now serving… wait for it… French fry soba! Though at first glance you might think someone spilled their Happy Meal over a plate of noodles, the tasty result is sure to make you a believer.

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With new branded correction tape, you’ll be making mistakes on purpose!

The great thing about computers is how easy it is to fix your mistakes. Make a typo while writing an email? Just use the backspace key and you’re done! Much easier than using a pen and paper (ask your parents, kids) where you’d have to either start all over or grab some whiteout and leave the page an ugly mess.

While we can’t help you stop making mistakes, we can help you enjoy them more! With this new white-out tape from Sun Star, you can now hide your Freudian pen slips with donuts, hamburgers or even coffee!

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New magic powder purports to make natto edible even for bean-haters

Slimy, sticky, and stinkynatto is a triumvirate of all the things picky eaters are likely to find unpalatable. While these fermented beans are actually incredibly good for your health (being rich in vitamins and fibre), they’re nonetheless something that even most Japanese people don’t like eating. But now there’s a new miracle product which claims to make natto perfectly tasty and edible, even for die-hard natto haters.

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We try the world’s first Kit Kat sandwich at First Kitchen, find out it’s like a bad date

Japan is a country serious about its Kit Kat candy bars, treating them with the respect of gourmet chocolate and putting them on top of pizza. Now the Japanese fast food chain First Kitchen has brought the world its first Kit Kat sandwich, so we of course had to try what seemed like a delicious idea. Click below for our review of the dessert and why our Kit Kat taster compared it to a bad date

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Drew Barrymore arrives in Japan, begins quest to eat all of Tokyo’s delicious food 【Photos】

We recently looked at a commercial in which model Miranda Kerr gives in to the temptation of a mouth-watering tonkatsu pork cutlet lunch. Kerr isn’t the only celebrity with a craving for Japanese cuisine, though.

Drew Barrymore is in Japan right now, and while we’re sure she’s got some sightseeing and interviews on her schedule, what she seems most fired up about is the food, as the actress looks to be on a mission to sample all that Tokyo has to offer her taste buds, from cheap ramen joints to Michelin-ranked fine dining.

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Abashiri: Home of Japan’s Prison Museum, Prison Cafeteria, and Prison Beer

Hokkaido, Japan’s rural, northernmost island, has a wealth of tourist attractions. But while most travelers spend their time enjoying the natural beauty of the region’s mountains, forests, and oceans, visitors to the city of Abashiri often spend their time in a very different way.

That’s because in contrast to the sense of freedom Hokkaido’s wide-open vistas are so evocative of, Abashiri is home to the Abashiri Prison Museum. Aside from exhibits on the history of incarceration, the museum also has a cafeteria, where diners can eat a recreation of modern Japanese prison food, and even knock back a bottle of Abashiri Prison Stout beer.

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Fans break confectioner’s website in scramble for “kiss-flavored” candies from dating sim hotties

Last Saturday was White Day, the annual Japanese celebration in which men give gifts to women who gave them gifts for Valentine’s Day. As such, confectioners rolled out a huge selection of special offerings for the occasion, and while chocolate is a perennial favorite, shoppers could also choose from strawberry, green tea, cherry blossom, and a variety of other gourmet options.

Among female dating simulator fans, though, the big hit flavor this year seems to have been “kisses.” No, not Hershey’s Kisses, but candy that actually claims to tastes like locking lips with one of six virtual boyfriends. Even stranger, gamers were clamoring to buy them even though no one really knows what “kiss-flavored” means, except that apparently the anime-style heartthrobs’ kisses don’t taste like shellfish.

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Three years of character bento, Part 3: Countdown to graduation and everyone’s final reactions

Since March is the month for graduations in Japan, the final part of this series will focus on the character bento mom’s “Countdown to Graduation” bentos made for her younger daughter in high school, along with another round of familiar characters! (If you missed the past two posts, you can find them here and here).

As the telltale cherry blossoms get ready to bloom, and as young folks all around Japan prepare to close a chapter in their lives so that they can embark upon a new one, Kaori cooks up lunches that are full of not only protein and attitude but also parental advice for the future! We’ll also share some information on her book, her last thoughts regarding the immense project, and—wait, is that a token of appreciation from her laconic yet demanding daughter?!

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