food

Japanese supermarket shrink-wraps a whole pig for hard-core pork fiends

I get a twinge of excitement every time I peer into the cooler case at the grocery store in Japan. Not only are there tons of unique, tempting flavors of ice cream and popsicles, you can also find all sorts of tasty frozen entrees, too. The most common are things like dumplings and meatballs, but one Twitter user in Japan recently found something even more substantial, if a little sad to take in: a whole pig wrapped in plastic.

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China’s Baidu announces high-tech chopsticks that will keep you safe, skinny and healthy

Ever sit down to eat a meal and wish you knew how many calories or salt were in your food? Ever cooked a piece of meat or fish only to later wonder whether it might have gone bad? Last week, Chinese Internet giant Baidu announced that it has been working on a pair of wi-fi-enabled high-tech chopsticks that will be able to detect the nutritional makeup of the food it touches as well as warning consumers of any safety issues such as contaminants or expired food.

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LA hotel gets ready for Hello Kitty expo with themed hotel rooms, food

Now that the whole debacle over Hello Kitty’s identity is settled, fans can get back to other things, like preparing for the first ever Hello Kitty convention, set to take place from October 30 to November 2 in Los Angeles.

And, at least in that small corner of town, everyone is ready. The Line, the official hotel of the convention, is trotting out special Hello Kitty-themed rooms, and a Hello Kitty Spam musubi by chef Roy Choi.

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Reddit user claims common Tokyo chain has “best ramen ever” for just US$6, we investigate

A decade or two ago, the big Japanese food export that everybody raved about was sushi. Sushi joints cropped up all over the place, with the more authentic places employing highly skilled Japanese chefs slinging expertly crafted sushi at exorbitant prices. In places like New York City, sushi was the go-to food if you wanted to eat out but keep it at least a little on the healthy side.

Then, Westerners apparently took a look at all the diet food in their grocery stores and bland sandwich wraps in their food trucks and decided to revolt. Suddenly, wraps, sushi and other healthy foods were replaced with cronuts, cupcakes, “all the bacon and eggs you have,” and, of course, ramen. Delicious, fatty, greasy ramen quickly replaced sushi as the hip Japanese food and Westerners are willing to pay top dollar for it.

Of course, some Japanese (primarily the slightly feral citizens of 2chan) argue that, for all the money they’re shelling out, Westerners couldn’t pick out a truly great bowl of ramen to save their lives. So, 2chan was unsurprisingly amused when Reddit user lemonpls posted to a foodie subreddit that he’d found the greatest bowl of ramen he’d ever had in his life… at a common fast food chain in Tokyo.

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KFC Japan offering chicken-themed keyboard, mouse, flash memory in exchange for tweets

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I think of Kentucky Fried Chicken, or “KFC” as it doggedly insists on being called, I immediately think of computer peripherals. What’s that, you say? You’re a normal human being and so you’d never make such a peculiar connection? Oh. Well, perhaps you think of earrings instead?

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We chow down on the un-pearably cute food at the brand-new Funasshi café!

There just doesn’t seem to be any stopping Funasshi, the anthropomorphic pear who serves as unofficial mascot for the city of Funabashi in Chiba Prefecture. Funasshi’s mix of cute looks and hyperactive gyrations have won over fans both in Japan and abroad, and now Japan’s hottest piece of fruit is ready to capitalize on its popularity with a new café in Tokyo’s fashionable Shibuya district.

We decided to pay a visit to the Funa Café on opening day, and couldn’t think of a better RocketNews24 delegate than our very own Mr. Sato, who it turn couldn’t think of a more appropriate outfit than his very own freaky Funasshi cosplay getup.

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50 items you can buy in Japan to spruce up your bento lunchbox

Bento is a big deal in Japan and competitive mothers are always trying to out-do each other, striving to create the cutest lunchbox. Lucky for them, Japanese companies have come up with a plethora of tools to add smiley faces, shapes, or words of encouragement to any food. Let’s take a look at just a few of the many items you can buy to spruce up your bento!

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Adorable sumo egg cups are here to turn your breakfast table into a wrestling ring

Maybe it’s a result of having lived in one too many apartments with a cramped kitchen, or just a desire to reduce the number of dishes I need to wash, but I’ve never really understood the point of tabletop egg cups. I can’t imagine eating hard-boiled eggs frequently enough, or giving them such prominent billing in my diet, that I’d need to go out and buy specialized kitchenware for them.

I find myself warming to the idea, though, now that someone’s designed egg cups in a way that lets tiny edible sumo wrestlers grace your table.

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From Ponyo to Italy: Four delicious ways to improve instant ramen while your water’s boiling

August 25 is Instant Ramen Day in Japan, in commemoration of the day back in 1958 when Nissin unveiled Chicken Ramen, the very first instant version of the country’s favorite noodle dish. In celebration, we were going to chow down on some instant ramen, but since we do that all the time anyway, somehow a bowl of plain ramen didn’t seem quite special enough.

So instead, we drew on our love of anime, world travel, and the simple joy of not sweating profusely to come up with four recipes to spruce up instant ramen, specially tailored to be simple enough for anyone whose cooking skills mean their home is always well-stocked with the stuff.

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Nightmare food – Artist creates shockingly colorful portraits out of junk food

British artist James Ostrer created a series of artwork titled Junk Food Portraits by layering amounts of all of our most familiar junk foods on models. The result is at once stunning yet unnerving. While these surreal images are indeed vidid, we have to admit they made us think: is this really thing kind of thing we ought to be putting into our bodies? No wonder these portraits caught the eye of so many Japanese net users!

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Genius dishes can be molded freely to hold whatever you want

I’m not really the most organized person around; my desk looks like someone who hates me with a dark passion sneaks in every night just to sweep papers around and knock stuff over. So I’ve never really had much interest in or need for one of those little random odds-and-ends plates to hold trinkets (the floor does a pretty good job of that, for me).

But, if you are an organized person, have a lot of trinkets or just like having cool stuff around to decorate with, you’re probably going to love these awesome dishes that can be molded into any shape your heart desires and returned to their original state over and over again.

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Back in Japan by popular demand: Ice cream that looks exactly like a roasted sweet potato

Come autumn, the droning sound of an old man singing about yaki-imo (roasted sweet potatoes) fills the streets of Japan. A chilly weather treat that is usually bought from the back of a truck specially equipped with hot stones, yaki-imo is a fall favorite enjoyed by people of all ages. But as delicious as it may be – if internet raving is anything to go by – the yaki-imo ice cream made by the Imuraya Confectionery Company is even better than the real stuff…and it looks and tastes exactly like a roasted sweet potato!

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【TBT】Who needs a cherry on top? Osaka café crowns its parfaits with cake

Tokyo’s restaurants may have more Michelin stars, but for many Japanese foodies, the real culinary action is in Osaka. Particularly if your tastes run more towards good honest grub than haute cuisine, Japan’s second largest city is the place to be.

The people of Osaka enjoy a good meal so much that they coined the phrase kuidaore, to eat until you collapse. But even with this image firmly entrenched in our minds, the city has found a new way to surprise us with its gastronomic decadence.

On a recent day out in Osaka, our reporter stopped by a café and ordered a truly hard-core parfait. It wasn’t that the parfait was so big, and no, it didn’t contain any shocking ingredients. What blew our minds about this parfait was its topping.

It was a slice of cake, and it was so big it wasn’t even trying to fit into the glass.

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Blown all your cash on anime? New restaurant in Akihabara has pasta for less than two bucks

With the highest concentration of anime and video game specialty stores on the planet, it’s pretty easy to go over-budget spending a day in Akihabara. But while some otaku might claim that Japanese animation is their lifeblood, eventually everyone needs to eat something.

So for everyone with a crying wallet and a grumbling stomach, a new restaurant has just arrived in the neighborhood, serving pasta to-go, starting at just 190 yen (US$1.88).

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Make a map of Japan in your oven with these intricate cookie cutters

Think you can identify all the prefectures of Japan? Yeah, neither can we. But that’s okay because now with the help of this impressively accurate cookie cutter set, you can study and eat a map of Japan at the same time. Mmmm, knowledge.

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Great hotel in Hokkaido has hot spring, all you-can-eat seafood for under 10,000 yen a person

With beautiful natural scenery, delicious food, and an unhurried atmosphere, Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido is one of the country’s most popular vacation spots. There’s one big drawback, though, which is that airfare to and from Hokkaido can eat up a big part of your travel budget, leaving you less cash to spend on a hotel with nice amenities or local delicacies like fresh salmon roe and scallops.

Recently, though, we found a hotel in Hokkaido that offers it all, with soft beds, all-you-can-eat seafood, an all-night hot spring, and even a price that makes it a very affordable luxury.

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Check out this confused baby posing as a salad ingredient

You know what’s apparently really popular right now? That Pizza Cats thing from Pizza Hut Japan. It’s a bunch of cats unwillingly forced into cute kitty-size Pizza Hut employee uniforms doing what cats do while someone films it and tries to stifle laughter. It’s all over the Internet.

Well, at least one Netizen has decided to get on the “reluctant sentient beings doing things they don’t normally do” bandwagon by placing a not-having-it-at-all and obviously confused baby in a salad bowl with a bunch of other salad ingredients because… INTERNET!

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Chinese chef dies after being bitten by the severed head of a cobra he was cooking

Snakes are a delicacy in many parts of the world and among them the Indochinese spitting cobra is held in high regard for both is scarcity and the alleged health benefits it holds to those who consume it.

For the people who prepare the cobras for consumption, however, it can be a completely different story. One chef in China’s Guangdong Province recently lost his life while dressing an Indochinese spitting cobra to serve to customers in a soup. Authorities are ruling this incident to be a freak accident. “Freak” is the operative word here, as the snake that bit the chef had reportedly had its head cut off several minutes earlier.

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Foodies in Japan can’t stop freaking out over how good peaches and mozzarella tastes

Twitter and Instagram has been buzzing about a new dish to hit Japanese kitchens: sweet peaches mixed with mozzarella cheese. And based on the reviews written by social-media-loving cooks in Japan, it’s the greatest dish in the history of food. Let’s take a closer look at how to rustle up this interesting grub and read some glowing reviews.

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Not quite ready for ochazuke, rice with green tea? You might want to try using cola instead

In Japanese cuisine, one of the easiest dishes to prepare is ochazuke, or a bowl of rice mixed with tea. While you can spruce it up with things such as plum, salmon, or spicy cod roe, the rice and tea are really all you need.

But while almost all Japanese people enjoy an occasional ochazuke session, some foreigners find it a little unnatural to pour what’s generally a beverage over their food. The whole thing becomes even less attractive if you’re not a particularly big fan of the Japanese green tea that’s normally used.

So if you’re interested in gradually easing yourself into ochazuke, maybe you’d prefer to start with a less astringent beverage, like cola.

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