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”

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. •

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?”

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. •

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. •

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”

Salty Dragonblood Toothpaste

But what I want to know is, how do they KNOW the dragons only ate pesticide-free virgins? Is the blood harvested from organically-certified, knight-armor-free, farm-grown dragons? You can get your very own Toothpaste Of Targaryens at the Tokyu Hands store in Ikebukuro. •

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”

For Charcoal-Fresh Breath…

…get thee to the closest Tokyu Hands and get your paws on some Natamame toothpaste! It claims to smite your bad breath in four different flavors: Rose, Aloe (does aloe have a flavor?), Persimmon and Bamboo Charcoal. Yes, the black kind. Even stranger, guess what this toothpaste is made from? Sword beans! Believe it orContinue reading “For Charcoal-Fresh Breath…”

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!”

31 Flavors Of…Toothpaste?

Now you can fight cavities and have curry-fresh breath too, with this new line of Breath Palette flavored toothpaste! With thirty-one strange flavors to choose from, your teeth can sparkle with a different one each day for a month. Get yourself some righteous morning coffee breath with Café au Lait, experience cognitive dissonance brushing withContinue reading “31 Flavors Of…Toothpaste?”

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. •

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”

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…”

Cooking With Junk Food

From the test kitchens of intrepid single guys come these taste treats, made solely from junk food obtainable at any corner convenience store! Let’s accompany the judges as they determine just what combos deliver a flavor bomb that has nothing to do with the ingredients! ••• Sticky Fermented Soybeans + Vanilla Ice Cream = TurkishContinue reading “Cooking With Junk Food”

Salad Pizza

Now that we’re deep into the dog days of summer, doesn’t the very idea of nomming down a hot slice heaped with stomach-bombing meats kind of make you shudder? Enter…the Salad Pizza! Sure to please the ever-dieting bikini wearers as well as the lone vegetarian throwing a wrench into the Friday night beer fest, thisContinue reading “Salad Pizza”

Please Tell Me That’s Not Banana Coffee

Oh noooo! It is! Chocolate banana coffee, to be exact, and it’s this month’s special at the Excelsior Cafe. In my humble opinion, those two flavors go together like mushrooms and whipped cream, but that’s not the worst part. The feature that really pushes this one into the category of foods you would only serveContinue reading “Please Tell Me That’s Not Banana Coffee”

Coffee + Beer. No. Just…no.

If anyone ever said to me, “Wow, you two go together like coffee and beer!” I think I’d start dusting off my OK Cupid profile. And it doesn’t stop there. This ad suggests other unlikely combos as well. Pineapple juice beer! Lychee beer! Grapefruit beer! And apparently it’s key to serve these new taste treatsContinue reading “Coffee + Beer. No. Just…no.”

Would You Like Fries On That?

Your eyes do not deceive you: right there between the mustardy-mayo and the all-beef patty is a honkin’ deep-fried swadge of hash browns. In an attempt to challenge the Gurakoro for carb supremacy, this Idaho Burger sneaks in the equivalent of a side of fries, in addition to the side of fries. And see howContinue reading “Would You Like Fries On That?”

The Carb-O-Load Burger

Hey, what happens if you slap everybody’s favorite carb-o-rific side dishes together and sandwich them between an additionally carbo-o-loaded bun? Macaroni & cheese + shrimp croquette = McDonald’s Japan’s new Gurakoro Burger! The name comes from smushing together the words “gratin” (here it’s pronounced guratan)  and “croquette” (pronounced korokei), since no other word could begin to describe aContinue reading “The Carb-O-Load Burger”

Cabbage and Ginger Pickle Pizza

What’s round and topped with cabbage, ginger pickles, bean sprouts, mayonnaise, otafuku sauce and dried fish shavings? Okonomiyaki pizza, of course! The beloved Osaka “omelet” is traditionally made with an eggy batter that includes shredded slimy yams, but Shakeys gives it a Western-style twist by piling all the ingredients onto a pizza crust instead. Pass theContinue reading “Cabbage and Ginger Pickle Pizza”

What’s Green and Crunchy and Not The Flavor You Think It Is?

Okay, I know it’s not green tea. I’m not even going to waste a guess saying it might be green tea. Wait, why? Because in Japan most cookies and cakes and other things that ought not ever to be green (except on St.  Patrick’s day) are green tea flavor. I’m not saying it’s right, butContinue reading “What’s Green and Crunchy and Not The Flavor You Think It Is?”

And Today’s Japanese Pizza Mystery Ingredient Is…?

Blue Cheese? blaaat. Camembert? blaaat. Gouda? blaaat. Maple Syrup? BING-BONG! Yes, this month, Domino’s Japan will ship you a pizza bursting with four cheeses never before melted together on a crust, and some of Quebec’s finest pancake condiment to pour over the top! A taste treat to…remember. •

Mmm, Intestine Flavored Noodles

Standing in line this morning to buy food so I could make it through my three-hour Japanese class, I was casually browsing the shelves next to me in case something looked better than the melon bread in my hot little hand. At that hour of the morning, I’m usually still too brain dead to beContinue reading “Mmm, Intestine Flavored Noodles”

Spaghetti Burger

Yesterday afternoon I was running around my neighborhood without lunch and too many errands to do, and suddenly I turned into a teenage boy. MUST. EAT. ONE MILLION CALORIES. NOW. Fortunately, the ever-handy MosBurger was close enough to stumble into, but as I was making for the finish line, I was brought to a screechingContinue reading “Spaghetti Burger”

Curry Cheese Pizza Chips?! Nooooo!

Nevermind that putting cheese on top of Japanese curry sounds about as appealing as stirring a spoonful of peanut butter into my coffee, the idea of serving that flavor mashup on a pizza-flavored potato chip has me running for my stash of purloined air discomfort bags. And in case I want to make this aContinue reading “Curry Cheese Pizza Chips?! Nooooo!”

Meat Donuts

Now you don’t have to wait for breakfast to chow down on deep-fried donut goodness. Thanks to the product development geniuses at Mister Donut, now you can have them for dinner! In fact, you can serve them two nights in a row without guilt, since they come in two colors! Although the black sesame varietyContinue reading “Meat Donuts”

The Indo-Taco!

Out walking and far from home last weekend, I was struck by the sudden need to acquire about a thousand calories. Lucky for me, there was a Mos Burger conveniently located within  staggering distance. The Japanese equivalent of McDonald’s, Mos Burger’s claim to fame is a burger topped with a sunny-side-up egg. (This is aContinue reading “The Indo-Taco!”

Fruity Pizza

No your eyes do not deceive you: those are adorable – if un-pizza-like – miniature marshmallows joining the pineapple and kiwi goodness of this summer offering at the Shakey’s all-you-can-eat bar. Topped off with festive multicolored sprinkles, the “slightly acidic flavored sweetness” of this dessert pizza will definitely rustle your jimmies. •

Pickle-flavored Pringles

Japanese consumers eat pickles by the gallon, but not THESE kind of pickles. Rating three splats on the Sour-O-Meter, Screamin’ Dill Pickle Pringles are the most mysterious flavor I’ve seen yet. I mean, last time I checked, sourness wasn’t the most prized attribute of potato chips. I can tell they’re not a locally developed product because theContinue reading “Pickle-flavored Pringles”

Burger Pizza

What all-beef manhandler’s got lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions, all topped off with two kinds of cheese and a special sauce? Yes, it’s Burger Pizza! The all-you-can-eat lunch buffet at the Shakeys in Takadanobaba is featuring this fast food mash-up as their summer special. Pass the Ketchup Gun! •

Fish Egg Mayo Pizza Chips

Can’t decide whether to go for pizza or sushi? Now you don’t have to, thanks to this revolutionary new potato chip flavor from Calbee. It’s bursting with the goodness of cod roe, mayonnaise, seaweed, cheddar and swiss cheese! But there’s more! On the back, there’s a special offer! I was extremely disappointed to discover IContinue reading “Fish Egg Mayo Pizza Chips”

It’s Plum-Flavored Potato Chip Season!

If it’s February, it must be time for the shelves to be bursting with umeboshi-flavored goods, but think twice before you pop one in your mouth, expecting something sweet! Umeboshi are not for the weak. The über-sour, extra-salty pickled plums star in children’s lunches early and often as the red circle in the middle ofContinue reading “It’s Plum-Flavored Potato Chip Season!”

Mitarashi Donut

On the left, observe that irresistible staple of Japanese festival snackdom, mitarashi dango: a skewer of gooey rice balls slathered in salty-sweet goodness. On the right, Mister Donut’s homage, the mitarashi donut: a ring of fried dough, dripping with that very same salty-sweet sauce. Sadly, they don’t come skewered three to a stick. •

I’ll Have the Eel Sundae with a Cherry on Top

Yep, it’s actually eel-flavored ice cream. With a handy packet of sanshō pepper on top for your take-out dining pleasure! At the Cup Ice Store you can buy individual servings of this and many other flavors that at best might be described as…interesting. If you’d like to visit the Cup Ice Store (in the Namco Namja Town GyozaContinue reading “I’ll Have the Eel Sundae with a Cherry on Top”