Think Japan loves it some rice? Well, you’d be right. Japan is definitely a rice consuming nation, and the little white grains are most certainly one of Japan’s staple foods. But would you believe the country doesn’t even break the top 10 nations when it comes to rice consumption?
It appears neither would Japanese Netizens, as a chart making the rounds on the Japanese interwebs has onlookers incredulously dropping their morning baked goods.
As many of our readers are undoubtedly aware, white rice is an essential part of the Japanese diet, a food that we Japanese treat with reverence. It so happens that we also enjoy various flavored rice dishes known as takikomi gohan, in which rice is cooked with different ingredients to give it a distinct taste. Some of the common takikomi gohan flavors that we like to have include kuri gohan made with chestnut and matsutake gohan made with matsutake mushrooms. But a particularly unique kind of flavored rice causing a buzz on the Japanese Internet has come to our attention recently, and as unconventional and unexpected as it sounded, we decided we had to cook and try it for ourselves. The ingredient used in this unusual flavored rice? It’s something you would ordinarily never associate with rice: coffee!
Good news for all those who live in Japan and suffer from pollen allergies! Scientists have genetically modified rice in an attempt to desensitize the body to that nasty Japanese cedar pollen that causes all of the sneezing, mask-wearing and eye-watering every spring. Just think, eating some of this special rice everyday could relieve you from all of your hay fever woes!
While out shopping the other day, I picked up a bag of prewashed rice. The grocery store was having a sale, so it was just as cheap as the unwashed kinds, and I figured, “Hey, there’s no advantage to having to rinse it myself is there?”
But as it turns out, the water left over after you wash the rice, called togijiru in Japanese, is actually pretty useful, as shown by these five ways you can reuse it instead of just dumping it down the sink.
Preparing a delicious bowl of rice is an absolutely essential part of Japanese cuisine, and fortunately for most amateur cooks today’s modern rice cookers have made that task as simple as pressing as button.
While these handy machines can whip up a tasty bowl of rice with little to no effort, we wanted to try out a time-consuming cooking method we learned from the popular food-themed manga Oishinbo. In it, one of the main characters painstakingly examines and sorts each grain of rice to prepare what is described as “a taste you won’t forget in 15 years.” But is all that hard work worth it?
All of Japan was thrilled when traditional Japanese cuisine, or washoku in Japanese, became a registered UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in December last year. And one thing that is for certain when it comes to Japanese food is that we Japanese love our rice with a passion. We have various brands and classes of rice, with differing flavors and prices depending on where it’s grown, much like what you might expect with fine wine, and we all have our favorites. It’s simply an irrefutable fact that rice holds a very central place in Japanese cuisine and in the hearts of the Japanese as well.
Yes, there’s nothing quite like the sensation of inhaling the scent of steaming hot freshly cooked rice when you open the rice cooker, and as fond as we are of rice, we were delighted to have the opportunity this week to attend a reception for foreign media titled “Celebrating Worldwide Recognition of Washoku and Rice“. And when we heard that it included being served a traditional Japanese meal by a master chef from a renowned Japanese restaurant and also a chance to try making some unique sushi rolls ourselves, we knew this was definitely a reception we couldn’t miss!
In Japan, almost every traditional meal is served with white rice. Sometimes, though, even Japanese diners find themselves craving something a little more flavorful, and when they do, they reach for a container of furikake (lit. “sprinkle over”) flakes to liven up their rice.
Dried fish like salmon or bonito are the most common kinds of furikake, but just like every region of Japan has its own special Kit-Kats, different parts of the country also have their own unique furikake, and today we’re taking a look at seven of the most tempting.
We’re suckers for a good rice cooker recipe and get even more excited when all you have to do is plop a few ingredients into the machine. So we were really happy when we found this super easy rice cooker recipe for “potato chip rice” from successful Japanese chef, Masahiro Kasahara, in his self-titled book, Masahiro Kasahara’s 30-minute Japanese Meals. With only three ingredients (four if you count the water), we were equally parts intrigued and wary as we set out to recreate his bizarre dish.
Onigiri are rice balls, and they’re basically the Japanese version of sandwiches. They’re a fast, convenient snack that you can eat without getting your hands messy, and they’ve been a staple of Japanese lunches since medieval times. But now there’s a hip new version that’s trying to take over from the long-established practice of molding the rice by hand.
Tokyo and Osaka are only about 2.5 hours away by bullet train, so perhaps you wouldn’t think they’d be that different. But while Kanto (Tokyo, Yokohama, Chiba) holds the image of a glittering metropolis, Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara) is full of the old, historical aspects of Japan. The most commonly cited difference is the dialects of the two regions. For example, dame in Kanto-ben is akan in Kansai-ben, both meaning something like “wrong, no good.”
So when Japanese people were polled about their food habits, it wasn’t so surprising that the two regions answered very differently.
In Japanese cuisine, one of the easiest dishes to prepare is ochazuke, or a bowl of rice mixed with tea. While you can spruce it up with things such as plum, salmon, or spicy cod roe, the rice and tea are really all you need.
But while almost all Japanese people enjoy an occasional ochazuke session, some foreigners find it a little unnatural to pour what’s generally a beverage over their food. The whole thing becomes even less attractive if you’re not a particularly big fan of the Japanese green tea that’s normally used.
So if you’re interested in gradually easing yourself into ochazuke, maybe you’d prefer to start with a less astringent beverage, like cola.
Food always seems to taste better right after getting in some exercise. Unfortunately, sometimes a long workout leaves you feeling starving and exhausted, which is a problem when you then have to go foraging for food after you leave the gym.
While I still haven’t found a gym that’ll reward you with a protein-packed steak for breaking your bench press max, or a pool that’ll hook you up with some sashimi after 1,000 meters of backstroke, there actually is a town in Japan that’ll give you a sack of rice for completing a 5K run. The only catch is, you’ve got to carry it with you during the race.
For most of the year, the tiny town of Inakadate in Aomori Prefecture doesn’t get a lot of visitors. With only some 8,000 residents, most of whom make their living through agriculture, there’s not much to do there, unless you feel like staring at the farmers’ fields.
Every summer, though, droves of visitors come to do just that, as Inakadate’s rice paddies transform into gigantic works of art. And this year is no exception.
Ehime Prefecture on the western coast of Shikoku is known all through Japan for its tasty mikan, or satsuma oranges. Although the fruit is delicious enough on its own, the people of Ehime love to think up new ways to enjoy the fresh taste of a local orange. In the past, we have seen funny-shaped oranges and even citrus-flavored fish, but now there’s a new way to get some vitamin C in your life: orange-flavored rice balls.
We dropped by a shop near the hot springs that inspired Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away which sells the rice balls. But these little delicacies are only available for a limited time, so click below to find out more about this surprisingly delicious culinary creation!
“America’s Favorite Cookie,” Oreo, is celebrating its 100th birthday this year and while the cookie may not be as popular in Japan as it is in its homeland, we here at RocketNews24 wanted to contribute to the festivities in a way that could represent the Japanese people’s love for Oreo.
As long-time readers may know, we enjoy experimenting with original recipes, and it wasn’t long before it struck us: what better way for us to honor “America’s Favorite Cookie” than by wedding it with Japan’s favorite food: rice.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to bring you Oreo Rice!
Where their younger counterparts may have fallen by the wayside, a senior pop group from Niigata, Japan, is going strong. Their new song, ‘Rice-Colored Unrequited Love’, expresses their fierce love for the famed Koshihikari rice of Niigata Prefecture. In particular, the rice from Uonuma in Niigata is so delicious and sought-after, it usually fetches the highest prices in Japan, so it’s not surprising that the locals are passionate about it. But the Rice Girls take it a step further. In fact, they sing that ‘rice is better than love‘!
Well, love is patient. Love is a battlefield. Love is blindness. (According to Google Predictive Search.) Rice? Rice is nice!
One of our reporters recently drew the enviable assignment of visiting this year’s Nippon no Umai, an annual event sponsored by Kirin that brings the best of Japan’s regional delicacies together under one roof. With so many tasty options on display, those of us not lucky enough to attend the tasting session, held at the super swanky Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, would have to settle for living vicariously through our correspondent’s report after he returned.
We were a little underwhelmed when we asked what he’d eaten, and his answer was “white rice with salt!” but we soon came to understand why he was looking quite so content.
Ah, election season in Japan! While for other countries this might mean a deluge of angry black-and-white TV commercials, in Japan it mostly means street-side speeches.
Last week, Prime Minister Abe swung by Fukushima City in Fukushima Prefecture to support local candidate Masako Mori, who’s the current minister of the Consumer Affairs Agency. And what did he talk about?
How great Fukushima-produced food is, of course!
Something every guidebook mentions about table manners in Japan is that, while almost every restaurant and home keeps a bottle of soy sauce on the table, it’s there to add to things like sashimi and grated radish, and not to be poured on white rice.
This isn’t to say that people in Japan always eat their rice plain, though. A recent Internet popularity poll pitted four of the country’s top rice toppings against each other in a battle royale.