Japanese Internet shoppers thought they got an amazing deal last month when they paid just 1,000 yen (US$10) for a 18,840 yen package of three premium Japanese steaks. Word of the 95 percent discount on the shopping site Rakuten Ichiba spread like wildfire with a flurry of tweets, blog posts and message board announcements. Alas, things were not quite as they seemed.
Japan has a somewhat confusing take on hotdogs compared to other countries. For example, you’d be hard pressed to find packs of hotdogs on sale at any supermarket let alone buns, and yet they’re readily available on the breakfast menu of every McDonald’s.
Also, people may envision a true American hotdog to have been boiled in murky water on the side of the busy street, slathered with ketchup, onions, and relish and all served on a bun that may or may not have been used as the vendor’s pillow a few minutes earlier. However, in Japan, an “American Dog” is the common lingo to a pancakey kind of corn dog.
Now, Japanese convenience store Ministop is taking the “America” out of American Dogs and replacing it with pizza for some junk food hybrid goodness.
You may think you know your own country. And you may think you know cake. But it may surprise you to find out what others think of that sugary lumps of carbs we all call “cake.” For a unique perspective on the ubiquitous dessert, here are 32 of the top image results on Google when you search “cake” and a country’s name in Japanese. Get ready to get hungry or very confused!
It’s been just over a century since Oreos first hit the market and now the black and white cookie has become firmly entrenched in most corners of the world. Along with such fame come the innovation and creativity of Oreo’s legions of fans.
The following is a baker’s dozen of dishes created from the iconic cookie. Don’t worry though, even if you have no kitchen skills whatsoever you can probably pull off half of these surprisingly simple ideas. We’ll present them in order of difficulty starting with the easiest.
Kaitenzushi, or conveyor belt sushi, is possibly Japan’s most famous dining invention, and continues to amaze foodies around the world. The concept of serving plates of sushi on a conveyor belt is said to have started as early as 1958, and the trend continues to grow internationally even today.
Granted that the automated serving system has become a somewhat familiar scene today in sushi restaurants worldwide, the brilliant fusion of food and technology continues to evolve in a truly Japanese fashion. A visit to Muten Kura Sushi presented an advanced system that was beyond my knowledge of kaitenzushi.
We’ve already elaborated on how much food-themed characters freak us out, but until now we thought we were pretty much fine with food based on characters. When we saw this photo of a Rilakkuma birthday cake being served at a Japanese restaurant, we found ourselves suddenly overwhelmed with melancholy, plus a touch of revulsion.
We can all agree that there are few things more embarrassing than sudden, public diarrhea.
If forgetting to zip your fly is a one on the scale of public embarrassment, and tripping down an entire flight of stairs is maybe a four, explosive diarrhea has got to be an 11 or 12. With this in mind, you’re really taking your social life in your hands when you eat this bizarre but incredibly delicious fish in front of friends.
After years of living in Japan, I’ve noticed that the island nation has quite a few merry misconceptions about what it means to have a Western Christmas celebration. Replacing Santa’s cookies with a strawberry-topped Christmas cake is just one of their many mix-ups, though at least they have the gift-giving part right.
Now, you might be wondering why it is that we’re posting about Christmas when it’s barely even October! As it turns out, Japanese parents hoping to surprise their kids with a sweet treat from Bandai have to start planning for the holidays NOW. The Premium Bandai online store has just opened up reservations for their 2013 line of character-themed Christmas cakes called Chara Deco Christmas. These cakes come with toys and other neat treats suited to young fans of everything from Kamen Rider to Pokemon.
Despite its pronunciation in Japanese coming out unnervingly close to “shoe cream,” choux crème does not, in fact, refer to a product to keep your wingtips looking their shiniest. More commonly known in North America as cream puffs, choux crème are one of the many non-indigenous desserts popular in Japan.
In similarly confusing fashion, the popular chain Beard Papa sells neither razors, lawnmowers, easy chairs, nor any of the other trappings assorted with fatherhood and/or having facial hair. Beard Papa is instead Japan’s most prolific choux crème bakery, and for the next two months they’re bringing back their popular melon bread-inspired cream puffs.
Even with the falling yen making Japan more affordable for international travelers, the country still isn’t exactly a bargain destination. Likewise, even local residents, who recently went through the double whammy of paying quarterly resident taxes and an announcement that sales tax will jump to 8 percent next year, are looking to stretch their entertainment budgets.
Thankfully, travel site Trip Advisor recently announced the results of its survey regarding the top 20 free sightseeing locations in Japan.
A popular udon noodle shop in Japan, “Hanamaru Udon,” is offering a 50 yen discount for each “live child” that customers bring to their stores starting on October 7. With talks of Tokyo hiking the consumption tax, parents can rest easier knowing their kids can be exchanged for delicious udon.
Anime meat looks delicious and grotesque at the same time. It almost always makes you hunger for a big turkey leg because of how perfectly it’s drawn – like how hamburgers look on the McDonald’s menu – but then it’s got the two bones sticking out of it, as though someone just savagely tore the leg off of some poor, frightened animal, bone and all.
Which seems entirely possible considering that everyone in an anime universe is as strong as an ox. Maybe they gain their power by killing and eating the hearts and leg bones of said oxen.
Anyway, a baumkuchen manufacturer in Japan realized that with the sweet, dense cake dessert popular throughout Europe and Japan, they could almost perfectly recreate a cartoony anime meat shank and the below “Manga Niku” baumkuchen was born.
America throws the best linguistic hissy fits when political relationships sour. Remember when Congress tried to change French fries to “freedom fries” because France didn’t want to come along on the Iraq invasion? Or how about when sauerkraut became so unpopular during World War I that makers suggested changing the name to the less Germanic “liberty cabbage”? Good times.
Well, it may be that the Yanks aren’t the only ones who want suitably patriotic cabbage. In Korea, it looks like Chinese cabbage, the vegetable used to make the most common variety of kimchi, is now being referred to as “kimchi cabbage” or just “cabbage”.
A word of caution: you probably don’t want to be reading this on an empty stomach. We can almost guarantee that will lead to some very bad dining decisions.
So, go ahead and fill yourself up on a nice, healthy salad with some light dressing. We’ll wait.
All set? Good. Because we’re about to present to you some of the most epic food porn you’ll ever see coming out of Japan, where the stereotype has always been tiny, unsatisfying portions of delicately flavored dishes and subtle seasonings. And for those reading from within Japan and rather enjoying the unexpected weight loss after adopting the local cuisine, we’re very sorry for alerting you to the existence of these dishes:
Japanese fast food chain MOS Burger has just unveiled two new seasonal rice burgers that fans of Japanese cuisine will definitely not want to miss—the miso mackerel burger and a Japanese-style veggie burger.
While Tokyo remains Japan’s largest and most internationally well-known metropolis, the city of Osaka is no slouch either. Osaka is known for its simple, tasty grub, such as takoyaki octopus dumplings and kushiage, basically deep-fried anything on a stick.
Osaka is also building a pantheon of cute, animal-shaped sweets, such as the platypus pastry which was on sale there until the end of last August. For autumn, there’s a new adorable dessert in town: this bathing bear made out of ice cream.
Kentucky Fried Chicken announced that they are opening up a new line of stores selling Japanese-style fried chicken called karaage. Karaage involves marinating the meat beforehand, usually in soy sauce, and then frying in small chunks.
The first store is set to open on 1 October in Meguro, Tokyo called KFC Niwatorikaratei. Although still decorated with the familiar logos of KFC including the Colonel, the store front has the feel of an elegant Japanese restaurant.
Growing up, we all learn the basic rules and etiquette for talking on the phone. Don’t talk with your mouth full. Don’t crank call random strangers. Never call a 900 number. And never, ever, ever call the police unless it’s a real emergency!!
But what do you think counts as an emergency for a seven-year-old? A house fire? A runaway dog? How about feeling a bit peckish? If you chose “feeling peckish,” you know just how this little boy in China felt!
If you’ve never actually been to Japan and had a Yukimi Daifuku recommended to or forced upon you, you probably have no idea what that headline means.
Yukimi Daifuku is an ice cream treat that wraps the Japanese candy staple, mochi – rice pounded to a gooey consistency – with ice cream. It may be one of the few ice cream desserts in Japan that is popular outside of the summer months, most likely because it combines so many different flavors and eating experiences: The gooey, sticky mochi – which is slightly savory – contrasts with the sweet, creamy ice cream to create a totally unique treat you’d be hard pressed to find outside of Japan.
Japanese seem to love giving their drinks an unexpected twist. They’ve tried hot ginger ale, orange juice that looks like soy sauce, and a milk drink with tomato and lemon flavoring. Compared to those wacky creations, Yakult’s popular probiotic dairy drinks seem positively pedestrian, but now they’ve upped their game.
Care for a hot, potable yogurt, anyone?
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