food

A tale of two tonkatsu burgers – We pit McDonald’s pork cutlet sandwich against Mos Burger’s

A tale of two tonkatsu burgers – We pit McDonald’s pork cutlet sandwich against Mos Burger’s

Here at RocketNews24, we’re all about forming stronger connections between Japan and the rest of the world. Incidentally, we’re also all about burgers and fried foods.

Sometimes, the planets align just right, and we get to check all three boxes at once, like we did today with our taste-test of McDonald’s new pork cutlet burger, a Westernized version of Japanese dish inspired by Western cuisine. And since the only thing better than a fried pork sandwich is two fried pork sandwiches, we’ll be comparing it to the nearly identical menu item from hometown hero Mos Burger.

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We eat the Attack on Titan instant curry, plus make our own edible Titans

We eat the Attack on Titan instant curry, plus make our own edible Titans

Sometimes, you don’t realize how much you’ll miss something until it’s gone. A few months back, hungry Attack on Titan fans could get both hamburgers and bento boxed lunches inspired by the hit series. They were only available for a limited time though, and both are gone now, leaving us without a way to simultaneously satisfy our cravings for giant-fighting anime and a quick, hot meal.

That is, until the release of a new line of Attack on Titan instant curry. We got our hands on a pack, then created a batch of edible Titans to go with it.

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Super cute Rilakkuma, Totoro and cat macarons! Can you bear to bite into them? 【Pics & Video】

Super cute Rilakkuma, Totoro and cat macarons! Can you bear to bite into them? 【Pics & Video】

We here at RocketNews24 are completely amazed by all of the cute food that comes from Japan. From character donuts to hotcakes loaded with tiny cats, they’re constantly surprising us with doses of cute in the most unexpected forms, even in little bite-sized sweets such as macarons!

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Baked Kit Kats and ice cream together? Don’t mind if we do

Baked Kit Kats and ice cream together? Don’t mind if we do

We make no effort to hide our love of Tokyo’s Kit Kat Chocolatory, the store that specializes in gourmet versions of the delicious chocolate wafers. After stopping by on opening day to grab a pack of sakura green tea flavor, we made a return trip to score some special bakeable Kit Kats.

Now, the Chocolatory is tempting us back again with a tantalizing new product: an ice cream and baked Kit Kat combo.

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It’s so green!: Matcha curry now on sale in Japan

It’s so green!: Matcha curry now on sale in Japan

We’ve come across a fair amount of oddly colored curries in our gastronomic quests through Japan. From bright blue to jet black, we thought we’d seen them all until we cam across green. You’ve probably seen green curry from India before, but unlike saag paneer, this one isn’t filled with spinach. Believe it or not, the leafy hue of this savory dish comes from matcha green tea.

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Convenience stores still trying to recover from frozen snack brand’s flavors of horror

Convenience stores still trying to recover from frozen snack brand’s flavors of horror

It’s been nearly a month since Japan was struck by the disgusting napolitan (pasta) flavored Gari Gari Kun popsicles. What began as some frivolous fun by makers Akagi Nyugyo messing around with new flavors, has result into numerous instances of snack-related trauma among the populace.

Ice candy sellers have been quick to respond to this disaster. At 7-Eleven, a super delicious Gari Gari Kun snack was promptly released based on their exclusive line of cream puffs. Other convenience stores, however, were not so lucky and had to resort to more drastic measures, namely big, big savings on remaining stock.

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Fishermen in Hokkaido hope their shrimpy anime mascot will convince you to eat more ebi

Fishermen in Hokkaido hope their shrimpy anime mascot will convince you to eat more ebi

When you’re in charge of marketing for an organization with a name as bland as Kitarumoi Fishery Cooperative Association, we can see how you’d come to the conclusion that your employer could use a quick injection of stylishness and visual appeal in the public eye. This being Japan, there are two quick ways to do this.

The first is to hire a popular actress or idol singer, dress her up in a short skirt and/or revealing top, and get her to pose with whatever product you’re promoting, which in the case of the Kitarumoi Fishery Cooperative Association is currently amaebi, or sweet shrimp.

We’re not sure if this was cost prohibitive or if every spokesmodel on the company’s shortlist turned out to have a shellfish allergy, but the marketing team instead went with plan B: turn the shrimp they’re selling into a cute anime girl.

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Chirin-chirin ice cream: The frozen treat that sounds like a bell and looks like a rose

Chirin-chirin ice cream: The frozen treat that sounds like a bell and looks like a rose

You’ve never seen ice cream like this before…that is unless you’re from Nagasaki. The delicate frozen petals of the rose seen above were skillfully set into place one by one to create what’s known as chirin-chirin ice cream. Let’s take a closer look at this popular dessert with a long history and a silly name.

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Freaky veggies trending in Japanese groceries, possible precursor to real-life “The Last of Us”

Freaky veggies trending in Japanese groceries, possible precursor to real-life “The Last of Us”

So, apparently numerous ’50s and ’60s B-Movies (and one glorious ’80s cartoon) and a popular, genre-defining video game weren’t enough to deter scientists from playing God with plant-life if the growing number of hybrid vegetables available on Japanese store shelves is any proof.

These days, most hybrid vegetables are created over a roughly 10-year period of crossbreeding certain seeds in what we presume is some kind of laboratory setting, although the practice has been alive for centuries – yielding some hybrids that the general public isn’t even aware are hybrids. The Romanesco, for example, is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, and was created in the 16th century. Side note: It’s also probably mind blowing to look at while high.

But the things we’re seeing increasingly often in Japan these days are just plain weird.

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Enjoy a movie and cook a succulent dish at the same time — Braised Pork a la Titanic【Recipe】

Enjoy a movie and cook a succulent dish at the same time — Braised Pork a la Titanic【Recipe】

How would you like to cook up some sweet and succulent braised pork (kakuni)… while watching a movie? Well, there’s a recipe that actually lets you do that, and it’s recently been a huge hit online inJapan due to its unique and surprisingly effective instructions.

But what could a pork dish and the epic blockbuster movie Titanic have in common? We think you’ll get the idea once you see the instructions in the recipe.

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Tokyo pub offers “balding discount” for follicly-challenged diners

Tokyo pub offers “balding discount” for follicly-challenged diners

A Japanese pub deep in the heart of white-collar Tokyo wants to help out their customers whose heads are showing the consequences of too much stress and hard work (and perhaps a bit of genetics too).

The restaurant hopes that instead of covering their heads with a complex comb-over or taking a cue from monks to shave it all off, “salarymen” white-collar workers treat their thinning hair as a badge of honor and proof of their dedication to help the struggling Japanese economy. And to show their support, the restaurant has announced a generous “balding discount” as a way of thanking follicly-challenged gents for sacrificing their precious locks for the country!

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Japanese avocado sprouts very strange sprout

Japanese avocado sprouts very strange sprout

Did you know that you can grow an avocado tree from a pit by soaking it in water? It’s true! It’s easy enough that children and those severely lacking in green fingers of any kind can manage it. But Mother Nature is a weird lady, and she sometimes produces some very strange results, as one user on the Japanese message board Kinisoku recently found out.

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There’s a restaurant in China where all the food is prepared and served by robots

There’s a restaurant in China where all the food is prepared and served by robots

The Robot Restaurant in China’s Heilongjiang Province is a conventional restaurant in every sense, save the glaring exception that the food is prepared and served entirely by an army of 20 robots with just a modicum of human oversight.

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Who loves revolving sushi? Only families, couples, and solo diners (so, just about everyone)

Who loves revolving sushi? Only families, couples, and solo diners (so, just about everyone)

While most of the professors I encountered during my time studying abroad were relaxed and open-minded, I can clearly remember one blue-blooded educator I met who insisted that the food served at kaitenzushi restaurants, the eateries where customers pluck pre-prepared plates of sushi off of a revolving conveyer belt, wasn’t “real sushi.”

True sushi, she said, wasn’t something that you ate to satisfy your hunger, but a flavorful accent to stimulate your taste buds. It had to be prepared painstakingly in an intimate establishment with a proper pedigree, and was certainly not the sort of thing that could be prepared in any quantity similar to the vulgar amounts pumped out by inexpensive kaitenzushi restaurants.

I listened politely, consulted my wallet, and promptly went to a kaitenzushi restaurant. Vindicating my choice are the results of a new survey which shows that revolving sushi restaurants are loved by diners all over Japan, whether they’re out for dinner with the family, on a date, or even just stopping in for a bite alone.

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Gari Gari Kun finally releases a delicious specialty flavor frozen snack, we still don’t trust them

Gari Gari Kun finally releases a delicious specialty flavor frozen snack, we still don’t trust them

First came corn soup flavor in 2012. Although unusual, it did find itself a very strong fan base for its sweet yet somewhat savory taste uncharacteristic of ice candy such as Gari Gari Kun. In 2013, Gari Gari Kun’s makers rolled out potato stew flavor, upping the savoriness factor by including little rubbery bits of potato inside the ice cream. Earlier this year, Japan was surprised by the sudden release of a spaghetti flavored Gari Gari Kun that could best be described as eating an ice-cold hot dog covered in ketchup and dipped in a frosty glass of milk.

After this onslaught of increasingly odd flavors, the Japanese public wasn’t sure whether to trust the makers of Gari Gari Kun ever again with a new flavor. However, on 22 April they released a “cream puff flavor” that both looks and sounds fantastic. But can an already shell-shocked public trust that this relatively normal flavored ice pop is safe for consumption? We picked a few up to find out.

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Raw fish, fermented soy beans, and Chinese food: Japan’s 7 weirdest parfaits

Raw fish, fermented soy beans, and Chinese food: Japan’s 7 weirdest parfaits

You know Japan can seriously bring the weird, and their take on dessert is no exception. Whether it’s unthinkable ingredients, inventive execution or just downright audaciousness, here are our votes on Japan’s weirdest parfaits.

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Tokyo custom hamburger steak restaurant is all about choices, and all of them are delicious

Tokyo custom hamburger steak restaurant is all about choices, and all of them are delicious

While Japan is brimming with hamburger joints, you can also find plenty of restaurants that specialize in the meatloaf-like hamburger steak. Served on a griddle to ensure it stays sizzling hot, the lack of a bun means that with a hamburger steak the meat can take center stage.

The drawback though is that not having two slices of bread to hold everything together usually means fewer options as to what ingredients you’d like in your hamburger steak, compared to a hamburger sandwich. Unless, that is, if you stop by the restaurant Sakana no Nakasei in Tokyo, where you can customize nearly every aspect of your hamburger steak, right down to what kind of meat to use and how coarsely it’s ground.

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Okinawa restaurant’s amazing shaved ice belongs in a (sufficiently air-conditioned) museum

Okinawa restaurant’s amazing shaved ice belongs in a (sufficiently air-conditioned) museum

Of all the art-you-can-eat creations that seem to be trending in Japan these days, most use easily manipulated and relatively sturdy substances such as rice and grated daikon radish, plus obvious stuff like cake and marzipan. So if these trendy edible canvases rank an eight or a nine on a 1-to-10 food art skill rating, we’d have to wager that ice-based food art is cranking it up to 11. And with ice melting in a matter of minutes, you’d think somebody would have to be crazy to try and make an edible sculpture out of it.

We can picture it now: The poor, young shaved ice art prodigy ridiculed and shunned by the food art community, forced to take his craft to far-off Okinawa and a decrepit-looking shop on an unassuming corner to carry out his trade in relative anonymity.

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Starbucks Japan releases yet another drool-worthy Frappuccino flavor for summer

Starbucks Japan releases yet another drool-worthy Frappuccino flavor for summer

Starbucks Japan does it again with another seasonal item: the Crunchy Cookie Frappuccino. It’s like milk and cookies in a cup, but it’ll also keep you cool this summer. With a vanilla base, chocolate chunk cookie clusters, and even almonds, it sounds like it’ll be another tempting option on their menu…with an entire cookie crumbled up and blended in!

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Chiba craft brewery releases unfortunately named “Immigrant Pilsner” for sale nationwide

Chiba craft brewery releases unfortunately named “Immigrant Pilsner” for sale nationwide

As a two-party democracy, the United States can be a fickle place for marketers. Republicans and Democrats are so different ideologically that certain words and phrases on your product label or in your ad campaign are practically guaranteed to alienate half of the market; or, if you’re especially unlucky, all of it. Take the word “immigrant,” for example – it’s a loaded word that will make Republicans shun your product believing that it advocates rights for immigrants (Remember, this is the same party whose leaders sometimes suggest in all seriousness building a moat – complete with cartoonish man-eating alligators – around the US to keep illegals out), while Democrats might see the word “immigrant” on a product and suspect some type of labor exploitation going on.

Luckily, Americans – and Japanese – of all stripes are united in their love of beer, so Chiba, Japan’s Loco Beer brewery’s rendition of an old American beer recipe, originally brewed by German immigrants, gets a pass from American expats and Japanese consumers alike on the unfortunate naming of its new Immigrant Pilsner craft beer.

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