What fresh hell is this international mash-up? The most iconic Japanese sweets stuffed with cherry tomatoes and basil? Next they’ll be trying to sell us tomato-basil flavored donuts… • If you could use more weird food combinations in your life… •
Category Archives: Food
What the heckin’ heck kind of burger comes on a green bun?
A vegan one, of course! The most venerable of Japanese burger chains has just introduced an all-plant-based burger, and all your friends can tell you opted for the planet-saving version because it comes on a spinach-tinted bun. And if that isn’t green enough to float your inner leprechaun boat, the soy and mushroom patty isContinue reading “What the heckin’ heck kind of burger comes on a green bun?”
What ingredient do you think THIS Japanese restaurant is famous for?
Nope, not tofu. If you guessed GLUTEN, you win the prize! Wait…what? Gluten? Yes, at Fumuroya, not only is the savory, marshmallow-like goodie known as fū prepared in surprising and satisfying ways, the 9-course lunch set I ate with friends was so good, I sneaked back by myself to try it again! If this isContinue reading “What ingredient do you think THIS Japanese restaurant is famous for?”
The Giant Bag o’ Rice Vending Machine
Find yourself in dire need of ten kilos of rice late at night, when the stores are all closed? Fret not, Japan’s got you covered. •
Epic Japanese Cake Show: Part 1
No Japanese apartment comes equipped with an oven. That shocked me, until I stopped to think about it, and realized not a single traditional Japanese dish requires baking. Which doesn’t keep them from being some of the most skilled bakers in the world. Like the fiber artists of the Tokyo International Quilt Festival, the pastryContinue reading “Epic Japanese Cake Show: Part 1”
This Does Not Make Me Want To Eat That Cheesecake
From the Tokyo bakery that has been indicted for misusing the Universal Garnish on previous occasions comes this inexplicable frippery. I had to press my nose right up against the glass to figure out that this cheesecake is decorated with… …shriveled grapes and pine needles? •
Guess that flavor, J-style
Most Japanese people hate the taste of root beer (WHY?) so if it’s a hella hot day in Tokyo and you’re craving a root beer float, a soda topped with soft serve (and blasphemously adulterated with ice cubes) is about as close as you’re going to get. But how close is it? Well… The blueContinue reading “Guess that flavor, J-style”
Cutest Curry Rice Molds On The Planet
I thought I’d seen it all when it comes to Japanese curry rice molds, but these two cuties redefine ADORABLE. The only problem is that it comes in both cat and panda, and it’s too hard to decide (would it be greedy to get both? SHUT UP) •
One Fried Noodle Sandwich, Please
From the land that junk food shame forgot, this. A yakisoba sandwich is basically the Japanese equivalent of cold pizza for breakfast, on a bun. This is what frugal Japanese fry up for breakfast if one of their fridge leftovers happens to be noodles, so it was rare to find this homely item for saleContinue reading “One Fried Noodle Sandwich, Please”
Tokyo Cake Show: So Gorgeous, So Japanese
How can you tell a professional baking conference is in Tokyo? Because among the fantasy wedding cakes, there’s a Shinto shrine wedding, complete with marzipan bride and groom. And then there was the “marzipan cake” category. But the Japanese themes didn’t stop with the cakes – check out these king-sized decorations made of chocolate. AndContinue reading “Tokyo Cake Show: So Gorgeous, So Japanese”
Crispy Intestine Snacks
Despite the fact that this new snack is called “Addictive Intestines,” I’m afraid you won’t find me bingeing a bucket ‘o crispy innards while Netflixing my way through a Saturday night, even though they boast not just one, but two kinds of squicky bits. They do make it easy to pick through the mix forContinue reading “Crispy Intestine Snacks”
Soft Drink Flavors I Do Not Want To Try
This yogurt-banana mash-up surfs in on the enduring popularity of the local favorite soft drink, Calpis, which inexplicably established sweetened sour milk as a delightful flavor in Japan. Peach Coke is just a blatant season grab. Here, eating “seasonal” fruits and vegetables delivers wave after wave of short-term binge buying on the part of consumers,Continue reading “Soft Drink Flavors I Do Not Want To Try”
Spot The Elvis
If you’re looking for a country with absolutely zero junk food guilt, you found it. Behold the bagel sandwiches available at this shop I spotted while walking through Azabu Juban last week. Yes, in addition to the Elvis (#15: peanut butter/bacon/banana) they also offer The Rainbow Colored (#20), which features a multi-colored bagel filled withContinue reading “Spot The Elvis”
Please Tell Me That’s Not Seaweed On My Ice Cream
The sticky rice balls I can handle. I could even get into the slightly gelatinous, traditional mitarashi topping that gets its brown from, uh, soy sauce. But I draw the line at nori. Yes, those suspicious-looking little black things on top are KILL ME NOW strips of the same kind of seaweed that holds your tuna roll together. AndContinue reading “Please Tell Me That’s Not Seaweed On My Ice Cream”
The Slippery Slope, Illustrated
See, this is where tolerance will get you. Let them get away with putting ginger pickles and fish shavings on pizza, say nothing when your spaghetti comes topped with sea urchin eggs, and next thing you know, you’ll be waking up to every child’s worst nightmare: SPINACH PANCAKES. •
Death By Food Stylist
Is it just me, or does this omelet kind of look like it was on the losing side at the Battle of Sekigahara? •
Japanese Food Styling Gone Wrong
Okay, as you know, I’ve long been fascinated with Japanese menu depictions of hot dogs, because they can’t seem to resist making them look a little, er, over-eager. But don’t you agree that these take hot dog styling to a whole new level? I mean, how do you even EAT these? They look like scale models forContinue reading “Japanese Food Styling Gone Wrong”
Twice The Guilt & Half The Pleasure
Okay,I totally get that some days it’s hard to choose between a bucket of french fries and a bathtub of ice cream. I even understand that some days you just say FML, I’m having BOTH. But this? No. Just…no. •
It Must Be Fake Peach Flavor Season Again
The vending machines are suddenly stuffed with pink drinks. Of course, there hasn’t been a genuine fuzzy-skinned stone fruit within a thousand kilometers of these so-called “peach” libations, but that doesn’t stop them from making the point that even drinks flavored with highly unnatural chemicals must only appear when they’re “in season” in Japan. •
Pink Pepper Milk Coffee
In case a shot of caffeine isn’t quite enough to get you going in the morning… (If you’re braver than I am, you can find it this month at your nearest Precious Coffee Moments shop.) •
How About A Nice Cup Of Civet Poop Coffee?
The kopi luwat civet poops coffee. Or, to be more precise, it climbs to the top of coffee trees, eats the ripest beans, digests the fruity bits around the seed and, er, leaves the rest for industrious pooper-scoopers to turn into the world’s weirdest brew. Of course, once I spied a weird old-fashioned coffee bar near Shinjuku station withContinue reading “How About A Nice Cup Of Civet Poop Coffee?”
What’s Purple And Squishy And Tastes Like Thanksgiving?
This time of year, if it’s sweet and purple, it tastes like…WAT? Yes, sweet potato candy (and muffins and ice cream) is a THING, and anything that’s purple in Japan right now tastes kind of like Thanksgiving without the marshmallows. Let’s sidestep the impossible task of pondering why anyone would make desserts that taste like sweet potatoesContinue reading “What’s Purple And Squishy And Tastes Like Thanksgiving?”
Not An Expert On Chicken Anatomy, But…
…where exactly did Mos Burger find a chicken part that looks like THIS? •
The Triple-Decker Noodle Burger
Just when you thought America had cornered the market when it came to eating ALL the carbs, Japanese burger chain Loteria one-ups the red-white-‘n-blue with this tri-deck noodle monster. Yes, it’s that carbo-load favorite, noodles on a bun. Times three. Enjoy. •
Never thought I’d be using the words “squeee!” and “fishcake” in the same sentence, but…! •
Hot Springs Latte Art
It was a rainy autumn morning in the mountains of Gunma, but I didn’t care because I’d just spent a half hour soaking in punishingly hot mineral water at a Japanese inn and was sitting in front of an extra-strong coffee with the hot springs mark drawn in the foam! •
The Universal Garnish Strikes Again
Yes, it’s Honey Caffé Latte with…PARSLEY. •
Spicy Tomato Filled Doughnuts?
Aieeeee, when I saw this on the menu at Krispy Kreme, I knew I’d have to strap on my Try Anything Once Cojones and take one for the team! So I bit into it and it was…odd. Not bad, exactly, but it definitely didn’t trigger the usual Step Away From That Bag O’Doughnuts warning sirens either. The doughnutty partContinue reading “Spicy Tomato Filled Doughnuts?”
Yes, Even The Cheese Is Black
I finally tried Burger King Japan’s most recent all-black, all-the-time burger offering, and OMG please don’t look now, but I wolfed it down in record time. It looks pretty weird (especially the BLACK CHEESE) but the taste was I-think-I’d-better-have-another-in-the-interest-of-science good. Bun, cheese and sauce are all flavored with bamboo charcoal and squid ink – two things I’d normally avoid like theContinue reading “Yes, Even The Cheese Is Black”
Chocolate, Strawberry and…Bean Powder?
Okay, buckaroos, it’s time to play Guess That Flavor with these cones of soft-serve goodness I spotted recently in Asakusa! Our first contestants are the lovely blue ice cream on the left, and the tasty-looking coffee-colored one on the right. (Wily contestants will recognize that’s a hint it definitely doesn’t taste like a cup o’ Joe!) Next up, that delightfully vanilla-ish-lookingContinue reading “Chocolate, Strawberry and…Bean Powder?”
When I Said I Wanted Cheese Pizza, I Didn’t Mean THAT Kind Of Cheese!
I thought I’d seen the pinnacle of Unclear On The Concept when wedges of Camembert started showing up on Japanese pizza, but that was before I spotted this one topped with, yes, blue cheese. Mmm, mmm, little veins of smelly melted moldy bits, paired with tomatoes and that perennial Italian favorite, broccoli. •
I’ll See Your Triple Burger And Raise You A Shrimp Puck
What is Lotteria thinking? Seriously, how could you even bite that thing? I’m not talking about the triple-decker beef-o-rama – I’m eyeing that fried shrimp tower-o-power with the shovelful of tartar sauce just waiting to squish out the other side and all over your shoes (and your socks and your pants and, basically, the shoes of anyone standing within aContinue reading “I’ll See Your Triple Burger And Raise You A Shrimp Puck”
Veggie Ice Cream?!
From the land of snacks with tentacles and fish bone crackers comes the latest healthy food disguised as a snack: carrot and tomato ice cream! Haagen-Dazs Japan hit the subways with a “secret” poster campaign this month, introducing the latest way for even the most dedicated junk food addict to get some stealth vegetables. The carrot one is mixed withContinue reading “Veggie Ice Cream?!”
Blue Caffe Latte
Coffee + Milk + BLUE CURACAO? With a LIME on top? I’m still gathering the courage to try the latest entry in this season’s unlikely flavor-combo coffee drinks of Tokyo – partly because I’m frightened of any food that’s BLUE, but also am deeply suspicious of anything I have to google to find out what flavor it is.Continue reading “Blue Caffe Latte”
Cinnamon Roll Blasphemy
In the next round of trade talks with Japan, go ahead and give away the store when it comes to cars, beef and rice, but we need to make one thing perfectly clear: Things That Look Like Cinnamon Rolls Should Not Be Filled With Red Beans And Topped With Green Tea Frosting. •
World’s Worst Popsicle
If spaghetti-flavored ice on a stick isn’t the world’s worst idea for a snack, I don’t know what is. But, in an act of supreme self-sacrifice, I tried it, so you don’t have to! Supposedly, the “Napolitan Rich” Gari-Gari contains pockets of tomato jelly, but I was unable to detect them in the short time the instantly-regretted biteContinue reading “World’s Worst Popsicle”
So, What DO Cherry Blossoms Taste Like?
Around cherry blossom season in Japan, the shelves suddenly fill with “sakura”-flavored food. But what does cherry blossom-flavored food actually taste like? I investigate. *Edited, thanks to Little Alex, whose comment below quite rightly pointed out that I had been utterly fooled into buying these unseasonal PLUM FLOWER sprinkled chips. Thinking that because they were stillContinue reading “So, What DO Cherry Blossoms Taste Like?”
Cherry Blossom Flavored Ice Cream
Naturally, it being the Pink Season, all things must be as one with the almighty sakura. Including…ice cream. And what does this marvel of food engineering taste like? Hmm, good question. Fortunately, they did not try to reproduce the taste of traditional Japanese sakura sweets, which are sweet rice cakes jarringly wrapped in salty pickled cherry leaves. Usually I’mContinue reading “Cherry Blossom Flavored Ice Cream”
Where To Get The Best Cup Of Coffee In The Whole World
Let me ask you this: how often can you get something that’s the best in the world for less than ten bucks? Because today – score! – I had the BEST COFFEE IN THE WORLD for ¥700. It was at a little timeslip of a coffee bar in Ginza called the Café Bechet. Naturally –Continue reading “Where To Get The Best Cup Of Coffee In The Whole World”
Three to seven. That’s the ideal ratio of foamy head to actual beer, according to the experts at the Ebisu Brewery. And how do you achieve this perfect glass of brewski? Well, first, you have to be drinking Ebisu, which is engineered to deliver that perfect ratio, every time. But if you’re a bartender drawing upContinue reading “Beer Engineering”
Wait, Seriously, You Can Eat That?!
In case you were wondering if there is such a thing as too much information, take a look-see at this handy chart I spotted recently, hanging outside a “Don’t Waste Anything!” restaurant in Tokyo. Although at first glance it looks like a biology quiz, when you discover it’s a diagram of where all the meatsContinue reading “Wait, Seriously, You Can Eat That?!”
Make Your Own Goth Sushi
Okay, bento warriors, here’s your chance to show the lunchroom what you’re really made of! Step by step instructions for making skull-tastic sushi rolls from any old scraps of rice, omelet and seaweed you happen to have lying around the house! No need to painstakingly translate all that pesky Japanese – just make like aContinue reading “Make Your Own Goth Sushi”
Traditional KFC Christmas Dinner, Now With Seaweed!
Lines stretch around the block at every KFC in Tokyo on Christmas Eve, as household minions are dispatched to pick up the traditional holiday fare, but this year they have a choice between regular and seaweed flavor. Pass the biscuits and tofu, ma! • And if you’re looking for some fine escapist reading to curl upContinue reading “Traditional KFC Christmas Dinner, Now With Seaweed!”
What’s Wrong With These Desserts…?
Luscious strawberries…succulent peaches…flaky pastry…fresh whipped cream…all topped off with…PARSLEY. Yes, the fluffy little herb that rocked the 1950s sits inexplicably atop this otherwise tasty-looking fruit tart, and the strangest thing is, this wasn’t a random garnish fail. •
Bwahahaha, you’d better bite this sushi before it bites you! But if you think that’s the scariest food you might encounter this Halloween season, think again… Photos from http://ameblo.jp/kururinzushi. •
Unnatural Fruits Of Japan
I must have spent too much time in Japan, because the last time I passed my local Super Expensive Fruit Store (where they always ask if you’d like your purchase gift wrapped!), I actually found myself wishing I’d been invited somewhere that would require a gift of produce that’s as pricey as a good bottleContinue reading “Unnatural Fruits Of Japan”
Squicky Cow Parts Chowdown
Hey, are you ready to grill up some tasty fourth stomach of cow tonight? Or maybe you’d prefer first stomach? Let’s get one of each, to compare! Then for chasers, how about a nice plate of diaphragm? And…let’s see…it’s always so hard to decide between large intestine and small, especially when there are three kinds ofContinue reading “Squicky Cow Parts Chowdown”
Deep-Fried Bacon On A Stick
So you know how people are always going on about how super healthy Japanese food is, and that’s why nobody is Japan gets heart attacks or is fat, etc. etc. bla bla bla? Well, put this in your pipe and smoke it! Deep. Fried. Bacon. On a stick. A Japanese friend suggested meeting at a kushiage restaurant, butContinue reading “Deep-Fried Bacon On A Stick”
The King Tut of Lunchboxing
I didn’t think making a Japanese bento box could get any MORE labor intensive, but bless my tweezers and nail scissors, yesterday I saw The King Tut Bento. Feast your eyes on that pharaoh-sized nori-maki, plus a pair of hieroglyphic eye-rolls, suitable for sumo wrestler-size appetites! The hand-rolled works of art alone would require me toContinue reading “The King Tut of Lunchboxing”
It Looks Like a Burrito. It Says It’s a Burrito. But…
Okay, even though it claims in English to be a HOT & DELICIOUS BURRITO, I should have known that anything resembling a slightly overgrown packet of saltine crackers was going to deliver nothing but disappointment. But in case I had any doubts, it says right there on the package in Japanese: Bolognese & cheese. Unclear-on-the-nationalityContinue reading “It Looks Like a Burrito. It Says It’s a Burrito. But…”