It’s a noodle-slicing robot named Foxbot, who can be found at Dazzling Noodles, an open-kitchen restaurant chain in North China’s Shanxi province.
Kanazawa City in central Japan is famous for fresh fish and seafood, kaga yasai (15 types of vegetables, officially ordained as “local”), and delicious rice and sake. But it’s not all fancy shellfish and obscure vegetables. The aptly named restaurant TABOO in Kanazawa has a real live miniature pig as its manager!
“But, surely the pig’s not actually there in the restaurant?” wondered our reporter Yoshio. “If so, he probably just works weekends.” What’s more, isn’t working in a pork restaurant something of a dangerous endeavour for a pig? “What if he’s already been eaten?” There was nothing for it – Yoshio’s mind was made up! He must head to Kanazawa for himself and attempt to secure an interview with this most unusual of restaurant managers.
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.
From corn soup to gold soda cans to stag beetles, you can find almost anything in vending machines situated on approximately every street corner in Japan. And not too long ago in Showa-era Japan, it was pretty common to see restaurants staffed entirely by vending machines serving bland, but hot food at an affordable price. Some savvy business owner decided to cash in on this nostalgia and recently opened up an automat diner where customers can relive a time when “dining out” meant putting coins into a vending machine and waiting for your food to pop out!
Tokyo is a wonderful city; there’s no denying that. But sometimes you might want to get out into the country and experience some of the different cultural areas of Japan. Of course, if you’re busy working all week or only in the country for a brief time, you may not be able to get out to a place like Aomori Prefecture.
Recently, however, we were in the mood for some tsugaru-jamisen and a few glasses of Aomori Prefecture’s distinguished sake. We didn’t have time to jump on a train to the northern prefecture, but, fortunately, Tokyo is home to Haneto Izakaya, an establishment featuring food and music from Aomori Prefecture. Check out the food, drinks, and a video of their amazing shamisen player rocking the joint!
It’s no secret that there are a lot of unusual food choices available in Japan–some of which have upset quite a few people. There’s a good chance that this offering by a Yokohama restaurant will be no different and will likely divide people between the “gotta have some” and the “WTF?!” crowd. In addition to offering crocodile, ostrich, and camel meat, Chinjuya in Yokohama also provides customers with the opportunity to munch on fried axolotl grown in captivity.
You can even order giant isopods!
Japan loves to wow you with cute and tiny food. Sometimes the food is so tiny you need a magnifying glass to truly appreciate its beauty. Other times the food is so cute you can barely stand to eat it. However, you don’t often hear about the opposite end of the spectrum in Japan. The “Land of the Rising Sun” isn’t known for its gigantic foods and proportions. (You can leave that to the United States.)
But perhaps some restaurants are trying to separate themselves from the pack by adopting some more “Western” ideas. A restaurant in Nagoya is selling a dish of three humongous shrimp, and it’s definitely a sight to be seen! If you’ve never seen the largest shrimp in the world before, they make jumbo shrimp look, well…shrimpy!
In a country filled with countless ramen, udon and sushi restaurants, it can be very difficult to choose. Which one is the most delicious? The most interesting? How do you find the restaurant where you can understand everything on the menu?
If you’re in Kyoto, look no further than Issen Yoshoku, the restaurant that covers all those bases, plus, you never have to dine alone!
“When you take a girl out for yakiniku, you have to follow the rules“, says Natsuko. “Too many men these days forget about TPO“, she adds, referring to the importance of the three things – Time, Place, and Occasion – that are supposed to dictate appropriate behaviour in social situations.
We asked one yakiniku-loving Japanese girl to give us her honest opinion on the dating game, and – well, it was pretty brutal.
As we’ve previously discussed, Japan is chock full of cool little cafes. Obviously, not every single cafe in the country is going to be spectacular, but we have to say that we have found no end of fun places to sit down and order a coffee. But if you’re a Sailor Moon fan, we may have found the ultimate place to enjoy a latte: Cafe Talisman.
Tokyo is practically overflowing with great places to eat–being one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world has to have some benefits, right? While rush hour traffic might be test the patience of even the most benevolent Buddhist monk, at least you can find a good place to eat without too much effort. Of course, not every eatery is going to be excellent, and some places tend to rely on gimmick as much as their culinary skills to pull in patrons, like hanging hammocks inside the dining area. Can you really enjoy a nice meal will swinging from the ceiling like a lazy Tarzan?
Well, we stopped by Cafe Asan in Ueno and sat in their hammocks to find out! Read on to see if you should add the cafe to your Tokyo itinerary.
With major restaurant chains hit by food safety scares, and a factory worker jailed last month for lacing frozen foods with pesticides, consumer confidence in the food industry in Japan is at an all-time low. Writer and food safety campaigner Hirokazu Kawagishi’s latest book is a timely contribution to this renewed skepticism about the food we eat, where it comes from, and whether it is what it claims to be. In Gaishoku no uragawa (literally, “the other side of dining out”), Kawagishi reveals the secrets behind Japan’s restaurant trade.
In an extract published in Toyo Keizai this week, Kawagishi lifts the lid on Japan’s kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi) with 10 pro tips to help you decide which restaurants are worth your time — and which to avoid.
Let’s take a look at what he recommends, including why you should always take a closer look at the squid; the secret significance of the hole in the soy-sauce pourer, and more tips to make sure you don’t get scammed at the sushi counter.
The humble onigiri rice ball is the traditional Japanese answer to the sub sandwich: it’s a no-frills, on-the-go snack that balances carbs and protein and doesn’t require utensils. And just like subs, onigiri come stuffed with a huge variety of fillings, from salmon flakes to meatballs, seaweed to shrimp tempura.
And, just as “healthy” American sub sandwich chain Subway is making huge headway in Japan recently, onigiri are apparently making the journey the opposite way to American shores… But something has definitely gotten lost in translation.
The other day, a Kyoto branch of popular gyūdon (beef bowl) fast-food chain Sukiya ran into some trouble. We’ll let you know upfront that the shop was not invaded by a clan of ninja, nor by a stampede of ravenous gaijin. And no, it had absolutely nothing to do with a Godzilla attack.
No, dear readers, the truth was something far more ominous.
We’ve already gone over a few signs that you might not be in a real Japanese restaurant, including the location’s name. We can’t say with certainty, but we’re pretty sure there aren’t any “Happy Sushi” restaurants in all of Japan. So why are there so many abroad? Japanese website Naver Matome wondered the very same thing and compiled a list of the most elated raw fish from all around the world. It just makes us wonder, why does the world associate sushi with being happy?
The first McDonald’s opened in 1940 and since that time it has grown to 35,000+ locations worldwide. Its popularity is international with people craving their “Mackers” or “McDs” or “Maccas”, so it’s no surprise how popular McDonald’s is in Japan. Would it work in reverse? What chain restaurants from Japan would be popular in the States? Our famous friend Ike, from the comedy group Choshinjuku tells us which three chain restaurants he loves the most in Japan.
A Japanese pub deep in the heart of white-collar Tokyo wants to help out their customers whose heads are showing the consequences of too much stress and hard work (and perhaps a bit of genetics too).
The restaurant hopes that instead of covering their heads with a complex comb-over or taking a cue from monks to shave it all off, “salarymen” white-collar workers treat their thinning hair as a badge of honor and proof of their dedication to help the struggling Japanese economy. And to show their support, the restaurant has announced a generous “balding discount” as a way of thanking follicly-challenged gents for sacrificing their precious locks for the country!
The Robot Restaurant in China’s Heilongjiang Province is a conventional restaurant in every sense, save the glaring exception that the food is prepared and served entirely by an army of 20 robots with just a modicum of human oversight.