Japanese food

Dumplings that’ll make you pretty! “Gyoza for girls” is the new food trend hitting Japan!

When you think of gyoza, those traditionally Chinese parcels of meaty, vegetable-y goodness that go so perfectly with a frosty mug of beer, do you imagine they’re more likely to appeal to dainty, health-conscious ladies, or undiscerning, ravenous salarymen? Whilst undeniably delicious, gyoza are generally seen as an unrefined food option – good for a quick stuffing, but hardly haute cuisine. That’s all set to change with the invention of “Happy Maru“, a range of colorful boiled gyoza “dumplings” infused with beautifying collagen and polyphenols for the health and beauty-conscious modern woman. But just what’s so different about them?

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5 common misconceptions most westerners have about Japanese food

These days, Japanese food is pretty widely consumed in the west, even if sometimes the original taste gets slightly lost in translation. In general, though, even non-Japanophiles can be found enjoying a range of Japanese food, whether at home or out for dinner with friends. Sushi is no longer shocking, and  “comfort foods” such as okonomiyaki, ramen, and yakiniku can all be enjoyed overseas. But did you know that apparently we’re still making five major mistakes when it comes to Japanese cuisine? Read on to find out if you’re a major offender who doesn’t know their ikura from their elbow!

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How to cook miso soup (the right way) in a few simple steps【RocketKitchen】

Miso is a fermented mixture of soybeans, barley, and rice that’s high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals. The salty condiment is eaten daily by many people in Japan, leading some to believe that it is the secret behind their longevity. Others have dubbed it “one of the healthiest foods in the world.” It’s also extremely delicious (as if you needed another reason to add miso to your diet), and the easiest way to cook with this wonder food is by making miso soup.

Contrary to what I had originally assumed, the Japanese classic does not consist of only miso paste and hot water (please tell me I’m not the only one who thought this). After trying my original “recipe” for miso soup, I could tell something was off and enlisted the help of a 15-year-old high school student who laughed at my naivety. She was gracious enough to teach me the recipe her grandmother taught her and was happy to share it with all of you lovely RocketNews24 readers. So without further ado, here are a few simple steps to making delicious, authentic miso soup.

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Celebrating washoku and rice — an evening with master chefs and sushi roll creators (Part 2)

We recently had the opportunity to attend the delightful reception “Celebrating Worldwide Recognition of Washoku and Rice” aimed to present the appeal of rice and its importance in Japanese cuisine (washoku). In our first article covering the event, we gave you a round-up on the talks and demonstrations made by three guest speakers during the first part of the evening’s program, including the serving of a traditional Japanese meal prepared by a master chef. Now, it was time for us to get active and try our hand at a bit of sushi rolling!

In this, the second and final article in this two-part series, we’ll attempt to create a special futomaki sushi roll  known as Futomaki Matsurizushi (“thick roll festival sushi”) like the one made by Ms. Eiko Ryuzaki, president of the Chiba Traditional Local Cooking Study Group, in one of the presentations earlier that evening.   

Okay, so we weren’t going to be able to create an entire plate of colorful festive futomaki rolls like the display in the picture above, but we were excited about the chance to make even just one pretty little roll! So, were we ready to get our hands sticky with rice? You can bet we were!

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An American steakhouse bid in a private Japanese wagyu beef auction for the first time

On Monday night about two dozen journalists, steak-enthusiasts and all-around hungry people gathered in a private room at Old Homestead Steakhouse in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District to enjoy an experience months in the making.

For the first time ever, Americans were about to dine on the highest quality Japanese Wagyu steak purchased at one of the country’s exclusive beef auctions. Greg Sherry, a co-owner of Old Homestead along with his brother Marc, traveled to Japan’s Gunma prefecture to bid on some beef and bring it back home.

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The top 10 instances when Japanese people feel thankful to be Japanese

Are there ever times when you feel really glad to have been born where you were? Maybe you’ve felt that way during a holiday, or while eating your favorite local food, but regardless, most of us have had those moments when we’re just plain thankful to be a citizen of a particular country.

Internet portal Mynavi Woman was curious to learn the specific situations and things that made Japanese people happy to be Japanese, and so in typical Mynavi fashion they opened up an internet survey in July to find out. Those results are finally in, and we’re happy to present to you the top 10 things that made Japanese respondents feel lucky to be nihonjin!

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Traditional Japanese candy gets fancy: Konpeito comes in wine, chocolate, and green tea varieties

We’re sure you’ve seen those little bumpy balls of colorful sugar in Japanese candy stores. They’re called konpeito and were one of the first candies to be produced in Japan. They’re so popular that the little sugary spheres make guest appearances in several high-profile Japanese productions including Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda, and Spirited Away (remember the little stars fed to the soot sprites?). But what is really just a blob of hardened sweet stuff that can be bought for less than 100 yen (US$1) starts to get really expensive when you add luxury flavors. Let’s take a look at some of the high-class konpeito you can buy in Japan, some of which costs as much as 8,500 yen ($78)!

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Okonomiyaki Wine: Japan’s savory pancakes just got a new sidekick

Fans of all things delicious, rejoice! Japan has been blessed with a bottle of wine to pair with delectable rounds of grilled whatever-you-want goodness. We’re of course talking about okonomiyaki, the Osaka/Hiroshima specialty that consists of batter mixed with a variety of seafood and savory mix-ins. And although the dish traditionally goes down best with an icy cold beer (with just the right amount of foam), we’re already getting really excited for this new combination.

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A diner’s guide to oden: Japan’s weird-looking, super-popular winter dish

When it comes to Japanese food, everyone and their grandmother knows the classics like sushi, noodles and tempura. But one food that always takes visitors to Japan by surprise, and which has just this month started showing up in convenience stores again, is oden. Rarely seen outside of Japan, many of the ingredients in this incredible savoury pick ‘n’ mix look almost alien to non-Japanese eyes, and so visitors are often wary of trying it for themselves.

With this in mind, today we’d like to introduce you to a handful of typicaloden ingredients, teaching you their names and telling you a little bit about each of them, so that the next time you pass a food cart or duck into a conbini and get a waft of that unmistakable aroma, you won’t be afraid to order some for yourself.

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Do you really know how to eat sushi? Probably not!

Did you know that you’ve probably been eating sushi wrong this whole time? Check out this video from a pro sushi chef to see how you should be doing it if you want to be a real sushi gourmet.

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What’s that emoji? Let’s take a look at Japanese culture with these texting emoticons!【Part 1】

LINE is a free instant-messaging and voice-call application that’s almost a necessity in Asia; for many, it’s cheaper than texting through their mobile plan, and the app’s astounding collection of oversized emoticons called stickers and sticons (short for sticker emoticons) makes chatting with your friends that much more fun and cute! However, Japanese users recently noticed a puzzling sticon that had found its way into the pool. The image, which we’ll be looking at later, is based on a worldwide fad that didn’t seem to catch on in Japan, so it’s no wonder that people were confused.

This prompted me to wonder, “Which emoji are gathering dust because some people don’t quite know what they are or what they mean?” Since emoji (literally meaning “pictographs”) originated in Japan and later became incorporated into Unicode, it makes sense that many are emblematic of that country’s culture. After asking a few friends, choices were narrowed down to the above six emoticons, available on most smartphones. In Part 1 we’ll be examining the three food-based emoticons, so if you’re not familiar with that geometry lesson on a stick or the origins of that brown circle, read on after the jump!

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Craving cheese but on a diet? Try our “advanced tofu pickles!” 【Recipe】

Summer has a way of creeping up on us before we can shed those extra pounds in this, the season of skimpier clothing. As such many people take up diets including our own reporter, Hotaru. At one point during her weight management, Hotaru had decided to go to a vegan restaurant thinking it wouldn’t be as high in calories as other establishments.

However, when her curry arrived she noticed that there were little bits of what looked like cheese on top. They tasted kind of like cheese too. Confused by this non-vegan and diet-bending food, Hotaru asked the staff what it was. “Tofu pickles” they replied.

Hotaru also learned from them how to make this delectable topping and found it was actually incredibly easy. So easy, in fact, that she also developed her own “advanced tofu pickles” recipe. We’d now like to share these recipes with you so that you many enjoy some tofu pickles in your own home.

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Yea or nay? Japanese netizens get the nori rolling as they weigh in on the all new dragon-maki

The now ubiquitous California roll first made its debut at a Los Angeles restaurant in the 1960s. Developed by chef Ichirō Mashita, it was perfect for the not-yet-adventurous as it contained no raw fish, and the ura-maki (reverse roll) technique kept the nori hidden from view (this was cleverly cooked up by another chef after he saw American patrons peeling the black stuff off).

Before long, the world was overflowing with innovative creations like the rainbow roll, spider roll, Alaska, Vegas, monkey, Godzilla… what were we talking about again? Right, sushi! And as you can imagine, many of these unique maki-zushi have become popular reverse imports since the advent of the first American-born roll.

But how does the general public in Japan feel about these flamboyant works of fusion? Is sushi still a revered art form with tried-and-true traditions, or a limitless playground? To explore this the RN24 way, let’s consider the dragon roll above since it has been garnering lots of attention as of late. Read on for a look at Japanese netizens’ varied and entertaining responses!

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“A Taste of Japan”: Mouth-watering video of one man’s incredible gourmet trip 【Video】

A filmmaker based in Los Cabos, Mexico, is attracting attention online in Japan with his stunningly beautiful food video. Entitled “A Taste of Japan”, Mike Arce’s video features the food he fell in love with on a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun. In an impressively expansive gourmet tour, Arce sampled everything from Kyoto speciality tofu cuisine to delicious hot-plate favourites like okonomiyaki and sukiyaki, even squeezing in a trip to Sukiyabashi Jiro in Roppongi for some high-class sushi, too.

If you didn’t already want to go to Japan really, really badly, you will after you watch this!

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Give your child the gift of a 3-meter-long seaweed plush toy!

There’s still some time until Christmas, but it’s never too early to start thinking of gift ideas. Seeing as the youth of today is the future of humanity, you’ll want to get something equal parts fun and educational for those developing minds.

So just image the thrilled look on their face when your favorite youngster pulls (and pulls) a three-meter (10ft) fuzzy green strip out of a box! Granted some children might freak out initially thinking it’s a giant tapeworm, but after they calm down you can explain that it’s actually not a parasite but a giant strip of delicious algae!

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Google’s three most-searched Japanese foods in other countries surprises Japan

Last December, while conducting a study on the number of characters input into Google’s search engine, the company compiled various statistics on people’s search habits between January and November, 2013. Among them were the most-searched Japanese foods outside of Japan.

We’ll get number one right out of the way because it’s not really a shocker: “sushi.” Number two, however, was a little more unexpected. Can you guess what it is?

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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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Miso soup could help protect against cancer, research suggests

Miso soup is a staple of the traditional Japanese diet and has long been anecdotally connected with Japanese people’s famously long life expectancy. Now, research has linked consumption of miso soup with a reduced risk of stomach and breast cancer.

Japan’s cancer rates are low compared to western countries, but the country’s relatively high rates of stomach cancer have often been blamed on the high sodium content of the traditional Japanese diet. However, research suggests that miso, the fermented soybean paste which makes the base of miso soup and many other Japanese dishes, could actually counter-act the harmful effects of sodium consumption and even smoking.

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【TBT】Kyoto noodle house serves one big, long noodle

Udon is one of Japan’s most well-loved noodles dishes, ranking in line with soba and ramen. Everyone has an opinion over which is the tastiest, but those who like a bit of girth in their noodles will probably go for udon, which are traditionally rolled thicker than other Japanese noodles.

If you really want something to chew on, Tawaraya, an established noodle house in Kyoto, makes udon noodles so thick that only one fits inside the bowl.

Our resident foodie, Kuzo, recently took a train out to the ancient capital to try Tawaraya’s udon for himself. Check out his report below!

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Onigiri in Paris: Small lunch shop brings traditional Japanese rice balls to France

Though extremely simple, Japanese onigiri, those handheld balls of rice and seasoning, are simply delicious and addicting. Dating back over 1,200 years to the Nara Period, onigiri were created as a portable snack. Now, not only have rice balls transcended the humble kitchens of old-timey Japan and nestled their way into convenience stores across the nation, they’ve also made their way abroad. Mussubi is a delightful lunch shop in Paris that has brought onigiri and bento to the people of France. With elegant and fresh ingredients tiptoeing throughout the menu, this quaint shop has earn high praise from local residents.

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