Japanese food

Special limited-edition watermelon dango look amazing, sell out immediately after release

Although watermelon has always been traditionally associated with summertime in Japan, we’ve seen many more interesting watermelon-flavored summer gifts, or ochuugen, pop up compared to previous years, like this amazing watermelon-shaped mousse cake we taste-tested and raved about just last week.

Ochuugen, which were traditionally gifts presented as a token of gratitude to one’s parents and close family during the summer, are now given to anyone the giver feels indebted to around this time of year. As we’ve mentioned before, Japanese living spaces are sometimes smaller and more cramped than their western counterparts, especially in bigger cities, so the most popular gifts to give and receive are daily necessities, such as laundry detergent or cooking oil, and things that can be quickly consumed, like snacks or sweets. This year, Japanese traditional sweet company Yagumo Dango decided to hop on the watermelon bandwagon and release a limited run of watermelon dango as part of their summer gift set.

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Chill out with a tasty shaved ice treat from Mercedes-Benz’s ICE MONSTER tie-in shop

We’re not even halfway through summer here in Japan yet, and already we’ve seen a number of strange collaboration combinations, including barley and eel soda and soft-serve sushi.

This time we’d like to introduce another curious combination, in the form of a new Mercedes-Benz x Ice Monster shop that recently popped up in Roppongi, Tokyo. But what do luxury car makers know about making the perfect frozen ice treat? Our ever-popular reporter Mr. Sato heads out to investigate.

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New fried take on Yoshinoya’s original beef bowl really hits the spot! 【Recipe】

For those looking for a quick and cheap meal in Japan, beef bowls, or gyudon, from fast food chains like Yoshinoya are a great option for both your stomach and your wallet. While in the past we’ve shown you how to make your own Yoshinoya-style beef bowl, odds are if you’re a regular patron of the famous chain or others like it, you probably aren’t that handy in the kitchen.

Still, every now and then people like a change of pace, or they find themselves trying to impress guests with a home-cooked meal. Luckily we have a fried Yoshinoya beef bowl recipe that fits that bill, and best of all it doesn’t require much of your effort or time, granted you have a Yoshinoya nearby.

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Sushi chef really shreds in this new skateboarding-meets-sushi ad 【Video】

Since its creation around 150 years ago, many people have dedicated their whole lives to the art of making good sushi, and we’re certainly thankful for that.

In fact, you could say the art of preparing good sushi is kind of like learning to do tricks on a skateboard, or at least it is if you have a vivid imagination. For those of you scratching your heads, it’ll make a little more sense after watching this entertaining sushi-meets-skateboarding ad. And hey, here at RocketNews24 there’s nothing we love more than sushi and entertainment.

But Japan’s top sushi chefs don’t really need to shred a skateboard park to make good sushi… do they?

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16 of the best worst bento lunches ever

If you’ve been with us here at RocketNews24 for a while, or have any sort of interest in Japanese culture, then you are probably fairly familiar with Japanese obento, or boxed lunches. Bento are easily customizable and tend to include a variety of different ingredients, which makes them more fun, colorful, and healthy than the regular old packed lunch. Some mothers go all out, waking up at the crack of dawn to make elaborate and super-cute kyara-ben for their beloved school-going children (a lucky husband may get one too).

But not everyone has the patience, energy, or creativity to put into making the perfect lunch every day. Or sometimes, mom may feel under appreciated (or maybe dear child didn’t do what he/she was asked to do!), so she decides to take a break from those laborious lunches. Here are 16 hilarious examples of times Japanese mothers, for whatever reason, decided to skimp on the visual appeal, and sometimes even the meal itself!

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Japan’s really into toasting marshmallows… on a takoyaki maker!

Mmm, marshmellers (as I like to call ’em.) Those squidgy little puffs of delicious goo. Bad for your teeth, bad for your waistline, but oh-so-yummy, especially when toasted. The outside goes all crispy and the inside melts juuuuust a little bit. In fact, they’re the perfect treat for toasting around the campfire.

But in Japan, they prefer to toast their marshmallows in a slightly more “Japanese” way – by which we mean they toast them over a takoyaki grilling machine!

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Japan’s 10 weirdest ice cream flavors

Temperatures are shooting up all around the archipelago and that means soft serve season has come to Japan! For some baffling reason, vanilla remains far and away the most popular flavor for Japanese, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get creative with their frozen treats too. Flavors like green tea and ume plum are easy to find (and delicious), but don’t stop there if you want to try some really out there local flavors.

Here are our choices for the 10 weirdest soft serve flavors Japan has to offer.

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Natto allergy is caused by jellyfish stings, says surprising Japanese study

Surfers could be at greater risk of developing an allergy to natto, a Japanese study has found. And the unlikely culprit is thought to be jellyfish stings.

Natto, the sticky fermented soy beans that are as as polarising as Marmite, is a traditional and common Japanese food. Allergy to natto is rare, but research from Yokohama City University Hospital suggests it could be more prevalent in people who spend a lot of time in the water and have been repeatedly stung by jellyfish.

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How to make okonomiyaki at home【RocketKitchen】

Okonomiyaki is one of the most popular foods cooked at home in Japan. One of Japan’s Top 10 Comfort Foods, the dish is fun to make with family or friends and best of all, it’s easy! Okonomiyaki is also popular with foreigners who when visiting Japan can sample the dish at any of the myriad specialty restaurants dedicated to this vegetable-rich meal.

So, what exactly is okonomiyaki? And how do you make it? Glad you asked!

Read on to find out more about this simple dish: watch a how-to video showing you how to make it, check out photos that show you some unusual ingredients, and get inside tips from Kazuko who regularly makes the dish for her seven grandchildren.

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A feast for all sushi lovers — the amazing 1,000-yen lunch at Sushi Takehan Wakatsuki!

Sushi, of course, is one of the most popular Japanese foods around, and many visitors to Japan are bound to try it. There’s nothing quite like the rich flavor of fatty tuna melting in your mouth, or the sensation of biting into a sweet, thick piece of fresh scallop, right? Alas, like many of the nice things in life, good sushi tends to be pricey … but is that always necessarily the case?

What if we told you that there’s a restaurant in Tokyo where you can have an authentic sushi lunch for 1,000 yen (US$8.24)? That’s right, an amazing sushi meal for under $10 — of course we had to check it out ourselves!

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Super Mega Important Debate: Soy sauce-based ramen or miso-based ramen? 【Poll closed】

Happy Saturday, everyone! We hope you got through the week with all your bits and pieces still connected and without getting fired. But before you go off and start being nice to people now that you have a day off, let’s argue about food.

This week we’re talking about soy sauce-based ramen and miso-based ramen – two firm favourites in the world of delicious, soupy noodles and each with legions of fans. But of course, as Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert told us in the 1986 film Highlander, there can be only one, so pick a side and make your click count.

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The Mother of all Bentos–a Japanese meal that’s to die for

If you’ve been to Japan, you may have been told about the two most common table etiquette faux pas, both related to funerals and death. If you’re not very familiar with Japanese customs, these gaffes are way too easy to commit because on the surface, nothing seems obviously wrong with them.

Since we at RocketNews24 believe that unraveling the mysteries of Japanese culture is part of the fun of traveling and even living in Japan, in this article we’re going to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no gaijin has gone before: We’re going to reveal the meaning behind the mother of all lunch boxes: the funeral bento. It’s big, it’s bulky, it’s boisterous, and it’s drop-dead gorgeous.

This veritable feast in a box contains a seven-course meal which is big enough to share with the deceased. Yep, that’s right. Join us while we eat with the dead. Read on!

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Super Mega Important Debate – Natto: is it nom or vom? 【Poll closed】

Sometimes our modern lives lack conflict. Let’s remedy that today by having a massive fight about something that doesn’t really matter.

This week, we’re talking about the fermented soybeans known as natto, and there’s one question we need you all to answer: is this dish “nom” or is it decidedly “vom”?

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Pay to have a cute girl squeeze your rice balls at “Galmusu”, Akihabara’s onigiri idol cafe!

Onigiri are the perfect Japanese snack food. Portable and (generally speaking) healthy, they consist of a small ball or triangle of rice containing one of a huge variety of fillings, wrapped in seaweed or coated with some kind of seasoning. While most of the onigiri you can buy at convenience stores here in Japan are probably filled and shaped by machine, it’s traditional to roll ’em yourselves by making a squeezing motion with your hands. And now you can combine your love of onigiri with your love of cute idol girls by heading down to “Galmusu”, a new cafe where, for a small fee, a cutie will squeeze your rice balls for you right in front of your eyes!

We sent one of our Japanese reporters to investigate this new form of edible performance art!

Oh, but before you read on, we should probably mention one thing: our reporter usually can’t stand anyone handling his food

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Peace Kitchen: promoting Japanese food (and maybe something more) across the world

As RocketNews24 readers, you are probably a bit more savvy than most about what Japanese food is, but for many, the concept doesn’t extend far beyond sushi. Despite its recent elevation to UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage status and its potential for international popularity, washoku still lacks global recognition and understanding.

That’s about to change, however, if newly launched project Peace Kitchen has their way, and we might all be better off for it.

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Top tip for saving money in Japan: visit the supermarket just before closing time

Today we’re going to tell you a super special tip for getting the most out of your local supermarket here in Japan. It’s actually something pretty simple, but that you might not know about if you always go during the day.

You see, you should totally go to the supermarket just before closing time. Why? Because when it gets close to closing time they start to discount their food! 

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Monjayaki, the popular Tokyo dish you’ve probably never heard of 【RocketKitchen】

When people think of Japanese food, most think of sushi, sashimi or even some of the more popular Japanese comfort foods like okonomiyaki or udon noodles. If you’re a tourist, however, you’ve likely never experienced one of Tokyo’s most popular dishes: monjayaki. But don’t feel bad; even some Japanese people who don’t live in the Tokyo metropolitan area (75 percent of the population) have never tasted it. This is one reason why Tsukishima Monjadori, a street with over 100 monjayaki restaurants, ranks in the top five sight-seeing spots in the capital for Japanese tourists (FYI, the other four are Harajuku, Tokyo Disneyland, Odaiba and Tusukiji Fish Market).

Monjayaki is simple but complicated: it has just a few easy ingredients and can be made in under three minutes yet it requires instructions to make, and even eat, properly. It helps to know, for example, that monja is not usually eaten with chopsticks, and that there’s a good reason why.

Read on to learn more about this unexpectedly delicious fare: watch a how-to video showing you how to make it, check out photos that show you how to eat it, and get tips from a master monjayaki chef.

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New magic powder purports to make natto edible even for bean-haters

Slimy, sticky, and stinkynatto is a triumvirate of all the things picky eaters are likely to find unpalatable. While these fermented beans are actually incredibly good for your health (being rich in vitamins and fibre), they’re nonetheless something that even most Japanese people don’t like eating. But now there’s a new miracle product which claims to make natto perfectly tasty and edible, even for die-hard natto haters.

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Make your best-tasting onigiri taste even better with this easy recipe! 【RocketKitchen】

Onigiri, or rice balls, are one of the easiest ways to dabble in Japanese cooking. It’s almost as easy to make homemade onigiri as it is to buy from a store. The popularity of the simple rice ball is so great, there is even a store that sells one from each of the 47 prefectures.

In the RocketKitchen, our aim is to show you the best way to make fabulous Japanese dishes right in your own home. This time, we’re going to share with you foolproof way to create the best-tasting onigiri you’ve ever made. Hope you’ve got some rice cooking–it’s time to level-up that onigiri!

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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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