food

Our Japanese Reporter Eats Donut Burger in Search of “Real” American Hamburger, “I never want to eat that again”

Before departing on his trip to the United States, our Japanese reporter Yoshio told us that he was looking forward to eating a real American burger. What that meant to him, apparently, was a 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon patty wedged between two glazed donuts and skewered on a steak knife.

Are you happy now, America? Japan associates you with bacon and glazed donuts. Actually, that sounds about right…

Check out Yoshio’s taste report below!

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Food Fight: We Compare Yoshinoya and Sukiya’s Pricey New Dishes

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Times are tough in Japan, and, as reported here on RocketNews24 earlier this week, the country’s two biggest gyūdon chains, Sukiya and Yoshinoya, are tightening their belts after seeing financial losses in the first half of the tax year.

The restaurants’ response to the decrease in profits? Stop cutting costs, end the focus on dirt-cheap dishes and instead launch new, fancier menus in the hope of enticing new customers and squeezing a few extra yen out of regular patrons.

Both Yoshinoya and Sukiya’s new dishes that are more than twice the price of their regular gyūdon staples, but the restaurants claim that they are a cut above the rest as a result. But will the average salary-man, with just 500 yen per day to spend on lunch, want to pay extra for a fancier menu? And if they do, which dish should they choose?

Armed with a camera and grumbling stomachs, we headed out to both restaurants on two seperate days to try the new dishes for ourselves.

Let the New Gyūdon Wars begin!

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Biryani Restaurant in the Middle of Tokyo Offers a Delightful Taste of Spice with Your Rice, Open One Day a Week

We Japanese love rice; we’re quite obsessed with rice, in fact. We all have our favorite brand of rice, depending on the specific type of rice and the location it was grown (yes, location is very important and can greatly affect the price of the rice), and some people shell out a fortune to buy super-expensive “high-end” brand rice. But not many Japanese people are familiar with biryani, the spicy flavored rice common in India and some Muslim countries as well.

One of our reporters at the Pouch site recently had the chance to taste some excellent biryani right in the middle of Tokyo and shares with us her experience. Her report follows below. Read More

Doing it Wrong: 20 Laughably Bad Chinese Character Cakes

The aesthetic quality of a character cake can be judged by the degree of reluctance felt before cutting into it. Some cakes are so well-crafted that taking a knife to them would be nothing other than desecration of art. Conversely, some cakes are so insultingly terrible that basiac survival instincts would compel most people to take knife in hand and stab them out of their misery.

A series of images recently shared on Chinese Facebook ripoffsocial networking site Renren suggests character cakes in China fall into the latter camp.

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Hatsune Miku Should not be Made Into Yakisoba and Here’s Why

Remember those Hatsune Miku steamed buns? Those were pretty cute, even if they didn’t hold up in the heat too well. But most of the time, the virtual idol’s turquoise/grey color palette doesn’t make for the most appetizing themed dishes. Yakisoba is no exception.

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First of all, let it be known that I like meat.

Chicken, beef, turkey, pork; it’s all good. While I’m by no means shy of vegetables or fish, I love to cook, and there are few meals that I enjoy more than a good chicken curry, a classic beef lasagne, home-made hamburgers, or a nice, simple, piece of medium-rare steak.

But when food comes to me with its face still intact, I’m not so happy.

In the past, a few vegetarians have told me “If you couldn’t bring yourself to kill and prepare meat then you shouldn’t eat it.” Personally, I wouldn’t care to chop down a tree and painstakingly make individual sheets of paper, either, but I’m still happy to use the stuff on a daily basis, but even if it makes me a wimp, or immoral, I’m still happy to eat meat so long as I don’t have to get my hands dirty. So long as there are no eyes looking up at me from the plate, and preferably nothing that screams “I used to be alive, you know!”, I’m happy to tuck in.

So when I came across ITMedia writer Wataru Kato’s first-hand experience of eating a whole, roasted rodent, it was with both a curious mind and a slightly churning stomach that I read on, wondering whether, were I presented with the same dish, I could bring myself to eat it, let alone sit with it staring back at me.

The rodent in question is a specially bred Peruvian guinea pig, quite far removed from the kind of creature you might spot scuttling down a dark alley or up a drain pipe.

Nevertheless, we recommend tackling this particular story after you’ve finished your next meal.

Hold on to your lunch…

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Once upon a time, nobody read RocketNews24 because it was really really bad. RocketRevival is a weekly corner that takes a look at some of our more passable articles from that bygone era that still hold valuable lessons today.

Over the past ten years or so, sushi has become one of the most popular dishes in the world and has mainstreamed the consumption of raw fish in countries that previously wouldn’t think of sticking a fork in a salmon without grilling it first. While some people may still feel apprehensive when trying sushi for the first time, it usually only takes one bite of faith and you’re hooked.

On a trip to Thailand, however, one of our reporters found a seafood dish so raw that even the most sushi-loving Japanese might think twice before sticking it between their chopsticks.

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Cockroaches Ending 2012 Season with a Bang, Stories of our Black Buddies Coming Fast and Furious

As the summer cools back down to a comfortable autumn, the cockroach index has slid to a 1 across much of Japan. But before they go to sleep in many parts of the world, it looks like our little black friends are squirming their way into the headlines to give us something to remember them by.

We’ve all probably heard the tale of Edward Archbold who mysteriously died after winning a cockroach eating contest in the USA.  However, in China, roaches making quite a stir – by getting stirred into the food.

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Chinese People Drink Raw Deer Blood in Pursuit of Longevity

We’ve all heard about the dogs and monkey brains served on the Chinese dining table. But believe it or not, the latest trend now is raw deer blood.

According to Mr. Yang, the owner of a deer farm located in Nanjing, deer farming is much more lucrative than cattle or sheep farming. Every single part of the deer can be sold, including the meat, the antlers, and of course the blood.

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Nocturnal Ramen Shop in Sapporo, So Yummy That People Line Up For it in the Middle of the Night!

Isonokatsuo is a ramen shop in Suskino, the drinking district of Sapporo, Hokkaido, that opens its shutters around the time the city night life starts revving up into full swing and continues to serve up hot bowls of noodles until 7  o’clock the next morning.

All-night ramen shops are not unheard of in Japan, but Isonokatsuo is known for making ramen so delicious that people line up for it in the middle of the cold Sapporo night. On a recent trip to Hokkaido, one of our reporters decided to burn the midnight chili oil and try out Isonokatsuo for himself.

Check his report below!

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【News Bite】 South Korea Now Imports More Than Half of Its Own National Dish

Stereotypes; you have to love them.

Americans all own guns; every Brit has bad teeth; Asians make bad drivers; Koreans all eat Kimchi.

Usually stereotypes are utter nonsense- none of my American friends have ever held a real gun, let alone own one; a Japanese friend of mine once piloted my car along possibly the narrowest mountain road known to man when I was too freaked out to do it myself; and, as far as I can tell, my teeth are not in need of any urgent dental work.

But with 18kg (40lbs) of kimchi consumed per person in Korea each year, there might just be a grain of truth to that last  stereotype.

So when news broke earlier today that Korea now imports more of its own national dish than it makes, it’s understandable that there were a few raised eyebrows… Read More

10 Everyday Items Inspired by Food That Look Good Enough to Eat

Everyone has their own comfort food; a meal that brings you back to better days and fills the void in your heart and stomach. But how about food that provides real, physical comfort?

From curry futons to ice cream cone lamps, here are 10 unique food furnishings from around the net that are sure to add a little relish to your everyday life!

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Here, Have Some Chocolate Cow Poop Mochi From Hokkaido

About half of the milk in Japan is produced in the beautiful and vast countryside of Hokkaido, the largest of Japan’s 47 prefectures and northernmost of Japan’s four main islands. As such, cows have become a symbol of the prefecture. Walk into any souvenir shop in the prefecture and you’re bound to find a few locally-produced snacks with bovine-inspired packaging.

On a recent trip to Hokkaido, one of our reporters came across one such snack that was a little less run-of-the-mill than your usual butter cookies: “Cow Poop?” chocolate mochi.

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Cut Into the Face of an Angel This Christmas with Fourth Limited Edition Evangelion Cake

Japanese anime production studio Khara wants to make sure you’re excited for the upcoming Evangelion: 3.0 movie and they’re proving their sincerity by serving you the Third Angel Sachiel’s head on a platter.

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Fact or Fiction: Can Washing Wilted Produce in Hot Water Bring it Back to Life?

 Mr. Kazumasa Hirayama, a representative from the Cooking Technology Research Society, claims that washing wilted produce in 50℃ water (122°F) will restore its freshness.  Could it be true?

This magical method is now all the rave in food preparation circles.  The technique was contrived by Mr. Hirayama, who began spreading the word making it a recent hot topic among restaurateurs   According to Mr. Hirayama, its use is not only limited  to fruit and vegetable produce, but also works with a number of other food products as well and can even make food taste better. Read More

Japanese Men Arrested for Murder, Confess to Making Curry From Victim’s Dismembered Remains

After more than three years of searching, Tokyo police thought they had finally gotten a lead on the whereabouts of Kazuyuki Kobayashi, a male restaurant owner who suddenly went missing in May 2009, when an investigation led them to three men who were said to be acquainted with Kobayashi before his disappearance.

The men, who had been arrested on separate charges of fraud earlier this year, were brought to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department for questioning on Sept. 27 and were immediately suspected of murder after it was found that Kobayashi has come to them demanding the repayment of an unspecified amount of money he had lent them earlier.

The case then took an even more gruesome turn when, on October 1, two of the suspects confessed that they had stewed the pulverized remains of Kobayashi in a pot of curry.

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These Adorable Japanese Curry Dishes are Sure to Curry Your Favor

The curry and rice combo is to Japanese college students what spaghetti is to their American counterparts. It’s cheap, tasty, easy to make, and you can throw in lots of veggies so the next time your mother asks if you’re eating healthy, you can answer “yes” with a clean conscious.

But just because curry is simple to make, that doesn’t mean it has to look simple as well. Below is a collection of quirky Japanese curry arrangements that turn Japan’s go-to meal for the cheap and lazy into (for the most part) adorable platters of art.

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Japanese School Lunch Fail【You, Me, And A Tanuki】

You, Me, And a Tanuki is a weekly featured blog run by Michelle, a Californian who is currently one of only two foreigners living in Chibu, a tiny fishing village on one of the Oki islands in Japan. Check back every Saturday for a new post or read more on her website here!

When I first got to Japan, I made a goal to try any food that was offered to me.  Sea snails (freshly cracked out of their shells and still alive), check.  Sea cucumber, check.  Shiokara (fermented salty squid), check.  I’ve encountered some of the grossest edible things I’ve ever seen, but stuck to my goal, tried not to think about the slimy mess in front of me, and ate the new food.

To up the ante on my food challenge, I told myself that I would eat every dish  that was served in kyuushoku (school lunch).  The main reason I took this challenge is that I think it sets a good example for the kids, who are made to sit at the lunch table until they finish every bite of their food.  Usually, completing my goal isn’t a chore at all.  I’ve had some of the most delicious meals I’ve ever encountered in Japan served to me in the lunchroom at school.  But it hasn’t all been easy.  I’m not a fan of shishamo (pregnant smelt fish) which are eaten with head, eyes, tail, bones…everything, intact.  As unappealing as shishamo is to me, I still manage to eat all of them when they are served in the school lunch.

Unfortunately, my undefeated school lunch record has come to an end.

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The Top 10 Most Popular McDonald’s Burgers in Japan

McDonald’s, the American classic, is a familiar fast food restaurant that is known all over the world.  The golden arches appear in 119 different countries, giving rise to some interesting regional burgers.

Known as “maku-donarudo” or “maku” for short, the McDonald’s franchise can be found in 3,598 locations throughout Japan.  With such a big presence, many Japanese have a favorite maku burger.

The following is a list of the top ten McDonald’s sandwiches in Japan, based on the results of an internet poll.  Voters had from September 11 until midnight on September 16 to choose their favorite McDonald’s burger and a total of 207,948 votes were cast.

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