restaurants

Documentary about sushi chef in NYC will make you laugh, cry, suddenly want to eat lots of sushi

Sukibayashi Jiro is probably the most well-known sushi restaurant in the world, thanks to the popular documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. In it we see the passion and hard work of Jiro, the restaurant’s owner, in his constant quest to create the perfect sushi for his customers.

But Jiro isn’t the only one who is passionate about sushi. YouTube channel Munchies recently put out a great short documentary about a sushi chef closer to home for many of us: Toshio Oguma in New York City. Be forewarned though: after watching, you may feel an intense urge to immediately purchase a bus or plane ticket to get to Manhattan as quickly as possible for a taste of what he and his apprentices are serving up.

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No humans allowed at Japan’s first cafe exclusively for stuffed animals

There’s a new cafe that just opened up in Tokyo. Like many such establishments in Japan, it prides itself on its sumptuous sweets and delicious drinks.

Its main selling point, though, is the warm hospitality the staff provides. Really, you’d probably be tempted to say Yawarakan’s Cafe truly understands the human aspect of the restaurant business, if it wasn’t for the fact that all of the cafe’s customers are stuffed animals.

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Hello Kitty dim sum restaurant serving up dishes of cuteness in Hong Kong

For diehard Hello Kitty fans, no trip to Hong Kong is complete without a visit to the Hello Kitty dim sum restaurant. On a recent trip there, I had to go and check it out for myself. So it was that on a Saturday night I dined alone on some ridiculously cute Hello Kitty Chinese cuisine.

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We scarf down all-you-can-eat fried chicken at a Tokyo pub

Let it never again be said that America is the only country that has an unhealthy relationship with fried foods.

While you may not find such cynically, blatantly unhealthy fare as fried butter and fried Oreos  here in Japan, you will find that many square meals consumed in Japan are going to come with some kind of fried food. A lot of times the default is karaage, a dish that is basically the Japanese analogue to American fried chicken, and an item that Japanophiles the world over desperately, vainly argue is somehow healthier than American fried chicken by virtue of its, uh… Japanese-ness or something?

The truth is, karaage is every bit as unhealthy as fried chicken from anywhere else and the Japanese are just as prone to gorging on it to the point of discomfort. Don’t believe us? Exhibit A: This all-you-can-eat fried chicken restaurant we went to for, uh… “research purposes.”

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Fermented sushi? Two restaurants where you can get a same-day seat to try this gourmet treat

This year fermented sushi is in vogue among Tokyo’s gourmet crowd, with people raving about how the maturation of the fish brings out the elusive umami of the meatAs the name suggests, the creation of these dishes involves fermenting the ingredients to enhance the flavours and then using them to make regular sushi. This might sound strange since sushi is usually about having the freshest raw fish, but it’s actually an ancient form of sushi preparation from which the sushi we know today developed, and it’s apparently quite delicious.

However, as it requires great skill to properly ferment fish, there are currently few restaurants in the Tokyo area that specialise in this kind of food, and they’re already booked up by gourmet types leaving you to wait months before you can get a place. However, we’ve found two particular restaurants where you should be able to get a same-day reservation.

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All-you-can-eat stinky fermented soybeans come to Ginza, if that’s your thing

Spend a while in Japan, and at some point you’ll no doubt encounter natto, sticky, stinky fermented soybeans that often get served over rice for breakfast. This polarizing food has its superfans and impassioned detractors among Japanese and foreigners alike, but if you happen to be in the former camp, you should know there is an all-you-can-eat premium natto pop-up bar in Tokyo’s Ginza this weekend.

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Who needs fast food? Tokyo tempura totaling less than 10 bucks

Here at RocketNews24, two of the things we love most are delicious foods in our bellies and cash in our wallets. Unfortunately, those two things don’t always go hand-in-hand, especially in the Michelin star-studded culinary landscape of Tokyo.

But in a city as big as Tokyo, you can find just about anything with a little searching. Even if you’re totally bereft of folding money, you can still get a great meal in Japan’s capital, and you don’t have to settle for eating at a fast food chain either. On the menu today: a nine-piece tempura meal in the heart of Tokyo for less than 1,000 yen (US$8).

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A wild sushi chase: Our Japanese reporter tries Cuban sushi in a five-star Havana hotel

I mean, we have sushi here in Cuba, but it’s terrible. You’re better off eating it in Japan!” That was the advice our reporter Yuichiro got when, craving a taste of home, he asked a Cuban friend where he could find some tasty sushi in his home country.

But for some reason, his friend’s protestations made our intrepid reporter even more intrigued. “Looking back on it now though,” says Yuichiro, “I wish I’d quit while I was ahead…”

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No dinner plans for Wednesday night? Why not eat a camel hump in Tottori, like we just did?

Here at RocketNews24, every now and again we come across a restaurant or snack maker offering something that doesn’t sound at all appetizing, but is just too unique to pass up. In the past, my coworkers Steve and Amy have sampled wasp-filled rice crackers and bee larvae, and my own stomach and psyche are only now recovering from a dessert of not one, but two types of cakes made with chunks of tuna.

Now, it’s out intrepid Japanese-language reporter Mr. Sato’s turn to pull up a chair to the crazy dining table, and camel hump is on the menu.

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This owl and kitten duo napping is the most adorable thing you will see today 【Photos】

When things aren’t going right in your life, there is bound to be something on the Internet that will make yoy feel better. Well, look no further. This is a public service announcement: The following pictures are so cute that they will melt your heart, no matter how cold or frozen it might be. See if you can make it to the bottom of this article without going “d’aww…”

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Karan Koron Shokudo proves meat-free doesn’t mean taste-free【Veg’n in Tokyo】

Unlike in some countries, where even a steak restaurant will offer at least one vegetarian option, it can be difficult to find meat-free meals in Japan. There are, however, some vegetarian restaurants to be found in the capital, and I’m making it my mission to go around trying them all.

Today I’d like to introduce Karan Koron Shokudo, located right next to Yoyogi Uehara Station.

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Japan’s 10 best restaurants, as chosen by foreign travelers

People travel to Japan for all sorts of different reasons. Many are seeking a taste of tradition and history, and plan visits to the country’s most important shrines and castles. Some are drawn by Japan’s natural beauty, heading for its mountains and forests, while still others come to throw themselves into its neon-soaked urban entertainment centers.

But no matter what’s on your itinerary, at some point you’re going to need to get something to eat, and when your stomach starts growling, you can rely on the experience of those who made the trip before you with TripAdvisor’s list of the 10 best restaurants in Japan.

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Does how you dress affect what a sushi restaurant serves you? We experiment in Ginza

Take a stroll down the streets of Ginza and you’ll have no trouble realizing it’s Tokyo’s epicenter of everything posh and luxurious. The neighborhood is packed with shop after shop boasting high-end fashion, jewelry, and dining, so it’s only natural to think that any sushi restaurants in the area cater to an upscale clientele.

That being said, three reporters from our Japanese-language sister site began to wonder what would happen if they went to a Ginza sushi restaurant dressed to varying degrees of formality and ordered a special o-makase (“leave it to the chef”) course.

Would they each be offered different menu items depending on how they were dressed? Would their bills come out to be significantly different? With these burning questions in mind (and the prospect of eating sushi in the guise of journalism), they decided to conduct a little experiment to find out for themselves!

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Four areas in which Japan needs to improve if it wants to attract more overseas travelers

Japan’s National Tourist Organization recently released its statistics on the number of overseas travelers who visited in the country in 2014, and we’re proud to say that 13,413,467 of you came to visit (though we’re also a little hurt that so few of you called us up to get ramen while you were here). That number represents almost a 30-percent increase from the number of foreign tourists Japan received in 2013, and a whopping 60-percent jump compared to 2012.

Still, Japan only ranks 27th globally in its ability to draw travelers from abroad, making it eighth in Asia, behind world-number 22 Korea and number four China.

So what’s holding Japan back from becoming an even more popular international travel destination? RocketNews24’s non-Japanese staff put our heads together, and after getting over the initial pain from our foreheads violently colliding, came up with the following list of areas Japan could do better in that foreign travelers would definitely appreciate.

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Celebrate Usagi-chan’s birthday at the Sailor Moon Crystal café that’s open for four days only!

Every year on June 30 there’s one particular girl who receives birthday messages from thousands of people around the world. Rather than respond to them all personally on Facebook like most of us would, this young lady gives back the love by protecting the planet in the form of Sailor Moon.

This year, a special cafe will be opened in her honour for a four-day long birthday party featuring themed drinks, desserts and even a special birthday cake for visitors to enjoy. We take a look at what’s in store for Usagi-chan’s birthday party after the break.

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Our Japanese reporter asks for some authentic American food…but does he enjoy the experience?

The writers at our Japanese-language sister site are sometimes like kids after eating way too much candy: Adventurous and ambitious but rarely without any clear plans. And that’s why we love them! There’s nothing quite as fun as seeing something familiar through the eyes of someone whose never experienced it before.

As such, our globetrotting Go has proven to be an excellent guinea pig for testing classic Americana: He’s failed to impress at Area 51 and discovered that Denny’s in the US isn’t quite what it is in Japan. On the quest for “real American meat,” he decided to find a proper restaurant so he could ask for the chef’s choice. But would he enjoy what he found? Or would Nevada ultimately destroy our brave writer’s faith in American cuisine?

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We get lost in a world of steamy boy-on-boy fantasies at Ikebukuro’s BL cafe

Boys’ Love (BL) is a genre of fiction in Japan, usually taking the form of manga and anime, that depicts men in romantic relationships with one another. These homosexual stories are generally produced by and for women who want to fangirl over impossibly beautiful men getting frisky with each other.

Like with the maid cafes that cater to male otaku in Akihabara, it was only a matter of time until fictional fantasies started spilling over into the real world. My fellow reporter, Evie, and I went to visit a BL cafe near Otome Road in Ikebukuro, an area filled with stores catering to female otaku and fujoshi.

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Man arrested for buying beef bowl with bloodstained cash, might also like his steak extra-rare

One unique feature of the Japanese restaurant scene is what’s called the shokken, literally “meal ticket,” system. At a shokken system restaurant customers select their meal and pay in advance at a vending machine near the entrance. The machine spits out a slip of paper which is then handed to the restaurant staff in exchange for the food.

Shokken are especially common at restaurants that specialize in budget-friendly fare like ramen and beef bowls, because they allow the restaurants to operate with a smaller staff to keep costs, and in turn the prices they charge, low. The shokken system eliminates the need for workers to spend time taking orders, ringing customers up, and giving change.

There are other upsides too, in that it’s often speedier and more accurate than placing an order with a waiter. Plus, the reduced amount of human interaction makes it a lot easier to pay with bloodstained bills, at least for a few months until someone catches on and the police haul you in.

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Horse meat sushi restaurant opens up in Tokyo, becomes sushi’s latest craze 【Photos】

Those of you familiar with Japanese cuisine might have heard that horse meat, called basashi or sakura niku (cherry meat) due to its pink color, is a popular delicacy in Japan. Horse meat has been praised time and time again by many in the country for being low in calories and fat but also high in protein, all on top of a great taste.

Considering the meat’s popularity, and how more and more conveyor belt sushi, or kaitenzushi, restaurants have been adding non-traditional items like hamburger and roast beef sushi to their menus, you could say it was only matter of time before a horse meat option appeared.

Kagurazaka Nikusushi, a new trendy sushi restaurant between Shibuya and Ebisu in Tokyo, is now offering this new sushi sensation, and one of our Japanese writers, P.K., has the scoop!

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Who needs fast food? Tokyo restaurant has awesome cutlet lunch sets for less than five bucks

Given Tokyo’s reputation as one of the most expensive cities on the planet, you might think that dining out in Japan’s capital requires either a large fistful of yen or the fortitude to put up with a growling stomach after an undersized meal that leaves you only half-full. That’s not always the case, though, and it’s not like budget dining restricts your options to Yoshinoya or 7-Eleven, either.

We recently found a restaurant right in the heart of Tokyo that has filling, delicious lunches that are so cheap, we sort of felt guilty eating there.

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