food

Time to get hungry! Japanese Twitter users share their favorite Fukushima “soul food”

While Japan has a ton of great food for anyone with a hungry stomach, there are also lots of local “soul foods” that are a tricky to find. Often, you’ll have to go to a specific prefecture to find them. Like Fukushima, for example. Recently, the southernmost of Japan’s north-eastern prefectures seems to have gained a bit of attention online from Twitter users showing off their favorite local “soul foods.” The selections aren’t exactly prime cuisine…but they might be far better!

Check out Fukushima’s favorites below! But maybe make sure you have a snack at the ready first, because this guaranteed to make you feel at least a little bit peckish.

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Rice balls, sushi and ramen: Japanese women share what they’d eat for their last meal

We all have our favorite foods, but have you ever thought about what you would choose to eat if you knew that would be your last meal? Would you want an exotic delicacy or would you rather have a familiar taste before you shuffle off this mortal coil?

A Japanese website recently polled a group of women to ask them what they would order for their last meal and we’ve got the results below the break.

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The defrosted reality of 24 frozen meals at Thai 7-Elevens [Photos]

The frozen food section at the local convenience store may not hold any lofty culinary treasures, but it does hold the key to saving time and energy after a long day. All around the world, people value frozen foods for their convenience and, sometimes, their deliciousness.

But can you really trust the picture on the front of the package to be what comes out of the microwave? One Thai netizen went on a quest to demystify the frozen food section of Thailand’s 7-Elevens and posted photos of 24 heated up meals to see how they compared to people’s expectations.

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Five things expats wish Japan had, and why it’s sometimes a good thing it doesn’t

For the most part, Japan is a pretty great country to live in. Among a host of other positives, it’s clean and safe, with good infrastructure and reliable transportation.

Still, some people move to Japan and find that even if they like the overall package, it doesn’t quite have all the comforts of home. Today, we’re taking a look at a list compiled by blogger and internationalist Madame Riri of five things expats wish Japan had, plus adding our own explanation of why it’s sometimes a good thing that it doesn’t.

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Taco Bell to tackle Japanese market–but should we cheer or groan? Our foreign writers reflect

With perennial favorites such as Mos Burger, CoCo Ichibanya, Hotto Motto, and more, Japan has no shortage of tasty casual dining establishments to satisfy any craving. Yet many a foreign resident has surely at one time found himself longing for something more–the kind of guilty satisfaction that can only result from a visit to our favorite not-quite-Mexican joint, the peerless Taco Bell.

According to recent reports, the American fast food chain will soon be reentering the Japanese market, following up on its previous, disastrous, attempt almost three decades ago. Is this the beginning of a Mexican food renaissance in Japan, or simply the beginning of the end? We asked our foreign writers currently residing in Japan for their opinions, which proved to be mixed, to say the least.

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McDonald’s Japan introduces Hawaiian-inspired menu, netizens can’t get over the pancakes

Most anywhere in the world you go, you’re likely to find the familiar golden arches somewhere nearby. For foreigners living in Japan, McDonald’s can provide a quick and inexpensive taste of home, while at the same time giving more adventurous eaters new and exciting twists on the classic McD’s taste with seasonal treats like the pink sakura or black squid-ink burgers. Currently, the chain is offering up some Hawaiian-themed eats, like its barbeque pork burger, banana milkshake, and mixed berry pancakes.

When the craving for pancakes strikes, McDonald’s might not be the first place to come to mind, but Japanese netizens have been pleasantly surprised at just how good the Hawaiian pancakes actually are.

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Tokyo ramen shops trying serving “boob ramen,” ends up looking like “phallic ramen” instead

Japan, like most of the world, loves boobs. Sure there are disagreements over whether or not anime breasts are too big, or real-life breasts are too small, and sometimes the whole boob-obsession can borderline on creepy, but at least for the most part it’s usually pretty easy to tell what is and isn’t supposed to be a breast.

Except now. To celebrate the latest release in the Senran Kagura cute girl-ninja fighting game series, ramen shops all over Tokyo are serving special, limited-time only bowls of “boob ramen.” While that may sound awesome and hilarious at first, unfortunately the reality is quite different. Just take a look at what they’re offering.

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This promotional speaker lets you play music out of a Pringles can

It sometimes seems like every cereal box, candy bar, or soft drink is promising some fabulous reward to a few lucky people. “Find the specially marked label and win a million dollars!” “Look under the cap to win a lifetime supply of our product!” With so many contests going on at once, you might even begin to ask yourself, “Does anyone actually win these things?”

Fortunately, one recent promotion from Pringles seems to be the real deal. From now until June 30, Pringles Japan is offering a specially designed speaker that attaches to the inside of an empty can of their chips. How to obtain this worthy prize? Just collect 10 marked lids!

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Miso soup anime ads are so touching they’ll warm your heart as the soup warms your tummy

There’s something about a home cooked meal that, even if it’s not Michelin-starred fare, is incredibly delicious. It may be because every bite was prepared with love or perhaps it’s just the nostalgic flavor from your childhood. For many Japanese people, miso soup is one of those comfort foods. While it’s an everyday staple for many, the taste of your mother’s or wife’s (or other favorite cook’s) miso soup is second to none.

Miso and instant miso soup foodstuffs company, Marukome, has come out with some heartwarming commercials that really encapsulate the idea of food bringing people together. While you may not be crying at the end, you’ll at least really want to share some comfort foods with loved ones.

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Clever kitchen tool adds paws-itively adorable cat paws to your meal

Japan’s numerous cat cafes are proof positive of the appeal of combing a bite to eat and feline companionship. But no matter how cute those kitties may be, you don’t actually want one walking all over your food, do you?

So instead, this clever kitchen tool will add an adorable pawprint to your meal even as your cat’s feet stay firmly on the floor.

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From lotus root to alcohol: Are powdered foods the next big boom in Japan?

What’s that crumbly brown stuff on the rice pictured above?

If you guessed that it was some combination of spices, you’re (mostly) wrong. It’s actually the powdered form of a common cooking ingredient that you can find in any Japanese home. In fact, powdered foods in general have recently been drawing a lot of attention in Japan, so we wanted to share some interesting tidbits about them with you. And like the powder in the picture above, you might be surprised by what you find!

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Disney characters cosplay as adorable edible Easter bunnies for cake maker Cozy Corner

If you were fighting the temptation to dig into confectioner Cozy Corner’s selection of cakes inspired by the leading ladies of the Disney animated canon, congratulations. Your struggle is over, since as of March 4, they’re no longer available.

If, on the other hand, you were hoping to try the stylish sweets for yourself but just couldn’t find the time, you have our sincere sympathies. Don’t feel too bad, though, because no sooner has one set of Cozy Corner Disney desserts bowed out than another has appeared on the scene, this time featuring the studio’s beloved characters cosplaying as Easter bunnies.

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We visit a reasonably-priced sushi shop so good you’ll forget all about that “Jiro” guy

With a whole documentary devoted to him and a coveted place in the Michelin Guide, the (reportedly) rather ornery owner of renowned sushi shop Sushi Jiro has ruled the sushi world with a nori-wrapped fist for some time now. Jiro’s tiny shop, located in an underground mall in Ginza, commands about US$300 per 30-minute “omakase” meal and reservations need to be made months in advance – which is a pretty huge investment for a meal.

That daunting investment seems downright silly, though, when you realize that you can get incredible, world-class sushi in your maw for around a third of the cost just down the road!

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Staggering servings of salmon roe are waiting for you at these four Tokyo restaurants

There are a couple of distinct price tiers to seafood in Japan. Squid and octopus tend to be very budget-friendly, with a step up in price for sashimi-grade tuna and salmon. Among the most premium offerings of all is where you’ll find salmon roe, or ikura as it’s known in Japanese.

Due to its high cost, ikura is usually served in modest quantities, sometimes seeming more like a garnish than a legitimate component of the meal. However, that’s not the case at these four Tokyo restaurants, which dish up such generous portions that their ikura literally overflows the bowl.

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Black Mont Blanc: The most loved ice cream in Japan you can only buy in Kyushu

Usually when people talk about “culture shock,” we think of moving to another country–but it doesn’t have to be limited to that. It can be anything from moving from one prefecture to another or even just moving into the city from the country or vice versa.

Of course, you can’t get much more “city” than Tokyo, so, of course, many Japanese people moving here from more rural areas might experience a bit of culture shock. And today we’ll be looking at one such example for one of our Japanese writers who came to the metropolis from Kyushu! Hint: it involves delicious ice cream.

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Dutch restaurant’s odd ramen with soybeans has one ingredient we didn’t expect, lacks one we did

As the cuisine of one country becomes popular inn others, sometimes it picks up new ingredients and variations of part of its journey around the globe. For example, spaghetti bolognese is incredibly popular in Japan, but so is pasta with mentaiko (spicy cod roe).

The fact that the latter isn’t something you’d ever find in an authentic Italian restaurant doesn’t make it any less delicious. So when our Japanese-language reporter Yuichiro spotted a restaurant in the Netherlands advertising ramen with one very unusual ingredient, he decided to give it a shot. Little did he know, though, that the surprises were just beginning.

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Frog burgers join the earthy line-up at cafe in Yokohama

Now you can eat the world and a deep-fried frog, too. If you love to sample strangely colored foods or fried critters, look no further than nature museum/activity center Orbi Yokohama where you can take a bite of their bizarre burgers.

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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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