While there is nothing “American diner” about Denny’s in Japan, the well-known family restaurant chain is going all-out Japanese with its new location in Tochigi Prefecture.
Does that beautiful breakfast look like it came from the kitchen of a high-class ryokan inn or loving Japanese family? Guess again – it’s all from 7-Eleven!
Tokyo Skytree has a brilliant light display in store for four days only, and it’s designed to represent three of Japan’s signature dishes: tamago kake gohan (egg with rice), o-nabe (Japanese hot pot), and takikomi gohan (seasoned steamed rice).
If you’ve ever worked in a customer-facing role, you know just how demanding some people can be. There are times you get talked down to, bossed around, and treated like you’re sub-human just because you’re the employee and they’re the one spending the cash.
On the flip-side, as a customer, you expect to be treated respectfully and get what you pay for. Most of the time there’s a fairly even balance—interaction between customer and employee goes smoothly, both parties are polite and respectful, and all’s well that ends well. But sometimes that balance can be upset, and things can get way out of hand. Like what happened at this ramen restaurant in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, when an argument turned into a three-hour sit-in that ended with local police making an arrest…
Japanese often say that a good view makes a meal taste better, so it goes without saying that a cute-looking lunchbox would also enhance the contents inside. From meals served in Shinkansen-shaped containers or rabbit-faced boxes that can be reused as coin banks, to lunch boxes that play music or have collector’s items hidden inside, Japan’s ekiben take Japanese food to a whole new level.
Today we’d like to tell you about “Ekiben”, a little book by Aki Tomura which introduces the best and most unique train station lunch boxes in Japan. We’ve chosen just a few to highlight from this gorgeously photographed, pocket-size book. The word Ekiben is a combination of two Japanese words: eki (station) and bento (lunchbox), so make your next train trip a gourmet ride with these bento available at various JR stations—just waiting for you to buy, smile, and devour.
Let the fun begin!
Although the internet has revolutionized our lives in countless ways, one of the most appreciated is the simple yet outside-the-box recipes that appear on it from time to time. Where else can we discover that a rice cooker can be used to make mind-blowing pancakes or crème caramel on top of instant ramen makes for a delicious flavor boost?
Now, a Twitter user going by the handle of @rea941 has unveiled a new way to enjoy Japan’s favorite instant food, Cup Noodle. With the leftover soup you can make a delicious chawanmushi egg custard. It’s so easy the entire recipe could fit in a single tweet!
With easy, delicious, and cheap being the trifecta of RocketNews24 gourmet bliss, we couldn’t help but make some for ourselves.
Ramen, which despite its origins many now consider to be one of the national dishes of Japan, seems to have steadily grown in popularity and recognition outside the country as well, with an increasing number of ramen establishments opening in locations such as Singapore, London, New York, Los Angeles and even the Netherlands in recent years.
Now, one of the most successful ramen chains in Japan, Hakata Ippudo—often simply referred to simply as “Ippudo”—will be venturing into a brave new culinary frontier as they open their very first shop in Paris, France, this December. We can imagine it has to be pretty exciting and challenging for a foreign-based restaurant to open shop in the country that gave us the Michelin Guide, and it also looks like we can look forward to some fashionable collaborations to commemorate Ippudo’s foray into one of the gourmet capitals of the world!
Lunch-making parents in Japan have long been infusing their midday meals with fun characters designed to please the eye along with the taste buds. A common ingredient used for detail and decoration is the humble dried seaweed sheet called nori. The dark color makes it perfect for creating lines and patterns, and since it comes in a flat sheet you can cut out some fairly detailed shapes with a knife. If you quickly browse through some amazing character bento we’ve shared with you before, you’ll see the important role that seaweed plays in their design.
However, it’s not only good in a supporting role; world-renowned seaweed shop Kozen wants to elevate it to a star in the art world! Forget all the other ingredients you might find in a bento, “Nori Art” is all you need to turn your next meal into an unforgettable feast.
Believe it or not, train stations are one of the best places to buy gifts in Japan. Train station omiyage (gifts brought back from your travels) are usually edible, representative of the local culture, and are well-received by everyone from colleagues at work to friends or neighbors.
Whereas in the west we tend to keep a person’s personality and their likes in mind when buying a gift, thankfully in Japan, it’s much easier—just buy what’s most popular! In convenient Japan, you’ll find most of the decisions already made for you, so all you have to do is decide how many pre-giftwrapped boxes you want of each item, and you’ll soon be on your way. You can even wait until you’re on the train to buy them from the vendor pushing their cart up and down the aisles on the Shinkansen.
While initially the array of train station omiyage may seem baffling (hundreds of choices!), in this article we whittle it down to the most popular picks; the things that anyone would love to receive. We’ll start in Hokkaido up in the north and move down the archipelago station by station, highlighting the most popular gifts sold at each bullet train station. At the end, we also offer some suggestions on what to purchase if you’re looking for souvenirs from Japan to take abroad.
It seems that these days, Hollywood celebrities can’t get enough of appearing on Japanese TV. Just last week, Keanu Reeves treated the Japanese public to some karate moves on a chat show sofa, and this week it’s the turn of actor Hugh Jackman, who cut a gentlemanly figure as he appeared on hugely popular culinary gameshow Kuwazugiraiou (Food Prejudice King).
As part of the show, everyone’s favourite Wolverine was faced with a gauntlet of entrail stew, fishy sea grapes, and fried quail eggs, amongst other delights, as he fought to win the title of… Food Prejudice King! So, how did he get on?
One of the first things that foreign visitors to Japan learn about Japanese cuisine is that white rice served by itself is meant to be enjoyed as it is, not soaked in soy or doused in dipping sauce. But many people who aren’t all that well-acquainted with Japanese food find the taste of plain boiled rice bland, and love to drizzle sweet and salty sauces all over in order to jazz it up a bit, even if it does make eating it with chopsticks ten times harder.
The UK is one place that probably isn’t known for having a high level of familiarity with Japanese food. Chains like Wagamama and Shoryu Ramen do exist, but they tend to play fast and loose with the definition of Japanese food, and as a result many British diners wind up getting their tastebuds in a bit of a tangle. But now, Japanese company Kikkoman is actually encouraging this desecrating behaviour by bringing out a new product in the UK market: Kikkoman Sweet Sauce for Rice! As you might expect, it’s raising eyebrows in Japan.
Until recently, rice-loving Americans looking to add a little zing to their favorite grain would need to trek out to the nearest Asian grocery store to pick up a pack of furikake rice topping. But now, according to Japanese media, the toppings are gaining traction on the US west coast and is becoming more widely available.
Furikake consists of a mish-mash of ingredients that have been dried and powdered and, in Japan, is intended specifically and only to be sprinkled atop a steaming hot bowl of sticky Japanese rice; which explains why many Japanese people are reacting with shock at how the Americans are choosing to deploy the condiment.
Vegetarians traveling to Japan may find it difficult to find food that fits their dietary lifestyle. Fish seems to be in everything including the soup stock used to make miso soup. To make matters worse, many foods in convenience stores, bakeries or even Starbucks have misleading labels, and that “vegetable sandwich,” or “vegetable pizza” may actually have meat in it too! You can order foods like okonomiyaki or monjayaki with no meat, but you still can’t be sure it won’t come with shredded fish flakes on top that there isn’t fish lurking in the dashi-based sauces.
I always recommend to my vegetarian friends that rather than asking Japanese restaurants to make something special for them, it’s better to just order food that doesn’t have fish or meat (or dairy) in it from the beginning. Fish has always been a staple in the Japanese diet, but the eating of wild and domestic game was banned for over 1,200 years in Japan, and Buddhist tradition gave rise to a special vegetarian cuisine called shojin ryori. Even now, the traditional Buddhist meal called ozen (rice, miso soup, pickles, boiled/simmered vegetables and beans), is still served at funerals in Japan.
So traditionally, there is a lot of vegetarian food in the Japanese diet. You just have to discover it. And RocketNews24 is here to help! In this article we’ll introduce you to common Japanese dishes that can be ordered at almost any Japanese restaurant that have no meat, fish or animal products in them, so, let’s jump into Japanese vegetarianism 101.
For those unaccustomed to Japanese food, even the most common edibles may seem quite odd and, well, unappetizing, at first glance. The first time you saw monjayaki, did you not think it looked a little…weird? Of course, not all Japanese cuisine is unappealing to the eyes, but even the delicious-looking food is still not widely known throughout the Western world.
A California-based Japanese food blogger is trying to change that. Gaining momentum from the success of her Ramen Poster, artist Fanny has come up with another hand-drawn infographic displaying some of her favorite Japanese street foods and snacks: The Snack Poster.
Osaka is famous for Osaka-style okonomiyaki as well as takoyaki. We’ve taught you all about okonomiyaki before, including how to make it at home, and we’ve taken you with us octopus hunting in the Seto Inland Sea where we showed you not only how to catch an octopus, but how to turn its head inside out. So it’s only natural that we feel you are ready to advance your octopial knowledge by exploring what happens to the eight-legged creatures after the catch. Welcome to the wonderful world of takoyaki, battered octopus balls!
Takoyaki is to Osaka what monjayaki is to Tokyo. There’s even a Takoyaki Museum just outside of Universal Studios Japan on the Universal City Walk, with a collection of food stalls where visitors can taste varieties of the snack as well as see the implements used to make it. And since this is Japan, you can also buy numerous takoyaki-inspired souvenirs.
Let’s delve into the delectable world of takoyaki together, after the jump.
Japanese food is becoming more and more common outside of Japan. In fact, many people enjoy it because of the use of fresh fish and lots of vegetables. Those who get the craving have also discovered that it’s pretty easy to find a Japanese restaurant in their town, but there are still some people who find the idea of raw fish and sushi intimidating. There is so much information out there for the sushi novice that even figuring out where to begin can be daunting. Just as we brought you the handy “counting in Japanese” infographic, we have found a useful guide that assembles all the sushi basics in a really easy to understand fashion. Sit back and get ready to scroll through Sushi 101.
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.
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.
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.
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?