Japanese food

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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10 distinctly Japanese comfort foods

Comfort food” is traditional cooking that tends to have a nostalgic or sentimental connection, often one related to family or childhood: the grilled cheese sandwiches your mother used to make; the thought of your grandmother’s bread pudding makes your mouth water; the way the whole house would be filled with the intoxicating aroma of roasted turkey or ham at Christmas? Because of such memories, these foods comfort us, especially when we’re longing for home or feeling especially vulnerable.

Not surprisingly, the sentimental Japanese have their own comfort foods. While you might think they’d be waxing over the octopus tentacles of home, very few of the dishes we’re about to talk about have much to do with seafood. Many Japanese comfort foods have a rice connection and may even center around the unique relationship between mothers or wives and their role in family food preparation. And in Japan, make no mistake about it–her kitchen rules!

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‘Dressed Omurice’ might just be the most beautiful omurice we’ve ever seen 【Video】

Ask Japanese kids what their favourite foods are and you’re as likely to get the answer “hamburg” or “curry rice” as you are “sushi.” Japanese food is popular around the world, but less well known to foreigners is the proliferation and popularity of yōshoku dishes – Japanese western food. Yōshoku makes up a sizeable part of the menus of family restaurants in Japan, as well as being popular home-cooked food. Staples include the aforementioned hamburger steaks (no buns) served with demi-glace; curry and rice, eaten with a spoon; naporitan spaghetti in a ketchup-based sauce; and of course omurice, chicken-and-ketchup rice topped with a thin yellow omelette.

There’s always room for a little more innovation, though. Like this restaurant in Saitama that’s turned the old favourite, omurice, into a beautiful swirl of eggy perfection.

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Coffee Jelly: The Japanese treat that’s surprisingly easy to make

Although coffee and gelatin aren’t typically associated with Japanese cuisine, the popular dessert called “coffee jelly” was actually created in Japan during the Taisho period (That’s over 100 years ago!). As you might expect, the dessert consists of gelatin that has been flavored with black coffee and sugar.

Curious culinarians abroad are in luck! The dog/human chef duo over at YouTube channel Cooking with Dog show us just how easy it is to make this delicious Japanese treat at home.

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Noto Peninsula shows us how to keep warm during the Japanese winter 【Photos】

I recently had the opportunity to travel to the Noto Peninsula, an outcrop that sticks out from Japan’s main island of Honshu into the Sea of Japan. The area relies heavily on fishing and agriculture, and is famous for its delicious seafood and beautiful scenery.

Noto’s not so popular as a tourist destination in winter, but I went along on a trip to see what the place has to offer when it’s coooold outside. As it turns out, Noto out of season is about as chilly as I’d expected. But it was also very cool.

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Learn how to drink with Japanese people in this funny and informative YouTube series【Videos】

MOVIE LIFE KYOTO is a video series which aims to introduce Japanese culture to foreigners in a light-hearted and humorous fashion. With English narration and Japanese subtitles, they’re filled with little factoids and hilariously on-point observations that will be of interest to foreign visitors and a source of much ‘that’s so true!’ amusement for Japanese people, too!

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How many do you know? 12 delicious foods in Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores

When you think of Japanese food, you likely think of sushi, ramen, or udon–all excellent choices! You might even find your mouth watering at thoughts of monjayaki or anko ice cream, but there may be a few that you’re not so familiar with. Today, we’re going to look at 12 lesser-known foods–and what one of our intrepid writers thought about them!

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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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