oden

This rice omelet, grilled eel, oden, and fried pork are actually cakes! We try them all

We previously ran an article about Maplies, a bakery in Shinjuku that excels in the art of making cake look exactly like Chinese food, namely gyoza, ramen (salt or soy sauce), and tenshindon.

About a year has past since then and our reporter Mr. Sato had a sudden hankering for some cake that looked like egg, crab meat, and rice. He headed down to Maplies only to be shocked at what he found. The bakery had added a whole new assortment of cakes that look exactly like other foods!

Needless to say he bought one of each and brought them back to the office for a taste of pure confusion.

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Rice cooker oden: Quick, cheap, and delicious

Between rising sales tax and the dropping value of the yen, prices are on the rise for food in Japan. That puts us in a bit of a bind, since food is one of our favorite things to buy, along with swell stuff like shelter and clothing (although if you’re a work-from-home Internet writer, you can sometimes get away without that last one).

Thankfully, we recently found a way to make a delicious, hot meal that’s also dirt cheap, by tossing the stewed vegetable contents of a pack of oden from 7-Eleven into our rice cooker.

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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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Oden best-sellers at Japan’s top convenience stores

As the temperatures gradually sink into a chilly winter, convenience stores all across this great nation start to kick their oden pots into high gear. For those unacquainted with this Japanese dish, oden is basically any type of food soaked and simmered in a flavorful broth. The type of soup used varies by regions but is usually very savory.

Although not the only place to get oden, convenience stores are thought of as the first place to get it. That’s why Japan’s three biggest convenience stores – 7-Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson – are all competing to find that perfect ingredient to simmer and sell to the hungry masses.

To help kick-off this year’s oden season in Japan, Excite News has released the five most popular oden foods at each of the big three stores. First up is Lawson!

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Ramen Stand Ranks First for Sweets and Oden, Such Mouth Watering Variety (but what about the ramen?)

Ramen stands can be found all over Japan, and Fukuoka prefecture is no exception. But there probably aren’t many ramen stands out there that are popular with the locals for just about everything but ramen. Maruwamae, located in Kokura, Fukuoka, is one such ramen shop.

According to Tabelogu, a local restaurant review site akin to Yelp, ramen shop Maruwama is ranked first in the city for the best sweets and the best oden. In particular, reviews rave that their ohagi and kinako mochi surpass all cake, cookie, and Japanese sweet shops— a reputation that’s sure to have the competition cringing. Their ramen, by the way, is ranked fourth.

First, for those unfamiliar with the dishes, oden is a winter soup dish consisting of a number of ingredients which are anything from octopus, fish cakes, and boiled eggs, to konbu seaweed, daikon radish, and potatoes; all skewered on wooden sticks and simmered in a huge pot of tasty broth and eaten with yellow mustard. Ohagi and kinako mochi, the sweets available at Maruwamae, are sticky mochi rice cakes covered in sweet bean paste and sweetened soybean flour, respectively.

While oden we could understand, it’s a wonder that a ramen stand is ranked first for sweets, which is why we sent resident RocketFoodie Kuzo to see and taste for himself!

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