Yuzu Imported to Europe

It seems like a simple thing… send fruit to Europe. This fruit isn’t just any citrus fruit, it’s used in cooking. If you’re going for the Michelin Stars then an advantage such as the essence of Yuzu will make a difference. Tip: Grow Yuzu in your backyard if you can and sell to expensive restaurants. (Asahi – Yuzu)

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Iron Chef Sakai Cooking in LA for 230 people at $450 Each

What kind of meal will this be? Can an Iron Chef really handle 230 people? For $450, we have our doubts that this will work. The only way a chef can prep for 230 people is to make food that can sit for a while and not spoil. Or else it’ll be cooking by committee and for $450? How about a trip somewhere and a meal? (Sacbee – Sakai)

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Pepsi Special Will Absorb Fat

Pepsi Special. For your Fat Blocking Needs. It contains a magical item called Dextrin which blocks the body from absorbing fat. It’s for the Japan market. Will it work? Will a person be able to just drink Pepsi Special and lose some pounds? Does the Japanese audience need this much less than others? (Huffpo – Pepsi Special)

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Fries Eating Battle – McDonald’s Japan

French Fries are on sale. 150 yen for the largest orders of fries is creating a stir where kids are eating as many fries as they can and tweeting pictures. One group ate 23 orders, another 40, now a 60. All this is leading to nothing good. 60 orders of fries is still well over $100.

This deal ends November 2nd. (Kotaku – Fries)

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5 Patty Burger at Lotteria in Japan

It’s too late, you missed out on the left 5 patty burger for $6. This was on October 16th, but you can get the sandwich with the 5 deep fried shrimp patties October 23rd. Lotteria is a junk food burger chain in Japan that might be one of the worst on the list of places to eat. (Huffpo – Lotteria) Rocketnews24 has a little more about the burgers in Japanese, including more photos. (Rocketnews24 – Lotteria)

Here’s a video of someone in Japan trying this monstrosity. The next size up? There was once a 10 patty burger.



Just so you can see it, here’s a photo of the 10 patty version from alafista

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Chopsticks: The Art

Funny topic of choice by Kotaku, but chopsticks are important. Perhaps with the evolving nature of food and our less analog culture influence a change in how we use chopsticks. The speed of our meals could also be a factor. Maybe it’s the fact that we write less and type more, thus holding pens in a specific way is no longer as much of an issue. Perhaps eating fast food with our hands and less noodles make us not need them from an early age. All of these factors make a difference, but Kotaku shows the old school way of how. (Kotaku – Chopsticks)

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Aw, Chickenshit! There’s Too Much Arsenic in Our Rice

Consumer Reports says there’s too much arsenic in the rice you, me and most Americans eat. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration agrees and says it’s launching a program to test more than 1,200 rice products ~ from bulk rice to foods we feed our babies to snack crackers and cereals ~ for carcinogenic “inorganic” arsenic.

Reuters reported Wednesday that the Consumer Reports study said that some varieties of brown rice — including brands sold by Whole Foods Markets Inc and Wal-Mart Stores Inc — contained particularly significant levels of inorganic arsenic.

Products that raise particular concern for children – who are still developing and have significantly lower body weights than adults – include infant rice cereal, ready-to-eat cold breakfast cereals and rice milk, CR said.

Today’s Consumer Reports-FDA double whammy sent the USA Rice Federation into damage control mode. The industry group said it is unaware of any arsenic-related illnesses that have been linked to eating U.S. rice. It also says that rice is a wholesome grain with nutritional benefits that far outweigh any perceived risk from arsenic.

The Washington Post reported today that Consumer Reports found that the highest levels of inorganic arsenic were in white rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas — which collectively produce about three-quarters of the nation’s white-rice supply. CR added its study showed inorganic arsenic found in brown rice was consistently higher than in white rice. That’s because arsenic collects in the nutrient-rich brown outer layer of rice grains, which removed during milling when the grains are polished to produce white rice.

The in­organic form of arsenic is known to cause bladder, lung and skin cancers, the CR report noted.

Nature reported back in a 2005 article, U.S. Rice May Carry an Arsenic Burden, that U.S.-grown rice carries “1.4

to 5 times more arsenic” than rice from Europe, India and Bangladesh. Mother Jones’s food, agriculture and health writer Tom Philpott breaks down the reason American-grown rice is more carcinogenic than imported strains ~ CHICKENS.

In an article titled published Sept. 19 in the online version of Mother Jones titled, Waiter, There’s Arsenic in My Rice, Philpott writes:

The US poultry industry has a disturbing habit of feeding arsenic to chickens. Arsenic, it turns out, helps control a common bug that infects chicken meat, and also gives chicken flesh a pink hue, which the industry thinks consumers want.

Then… the U.S. poultry industry found it could sell chicken manure to cotton farmers as manure and did so for the better part of the 20th century. Later, as the American cotton industry waned, farmers began growing ~ you guessed it ~ rice in or near the former cotton belts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas. An estimated 1.6 million tons of chicken manure was plowed into American farmlands since the 1960s, Philpott reports.

WaPo: Reducing your arsenic risk from rice products

[Sources ~ WaPo / Mother Jones / Nature / Reuters ]

[Snicker] GR News is always ahead of the curve:

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Aki Restaurant West Los Angeles

Restaurants like Aki in West LA are a dying breed. Imagine when Japanese food was something exotic. Teriyaki and sukiyaki are words seldom used these days, but it lives on in classic establishments like this. There’s not many who still have the mid century Japanification by usage of rice paper screens, carved wood signs and wooden tea house stylings. I grew up in my family’s restaurant (Hakata 1970-2002) which began similar complete with the vinyl booth seats and it turns out that the owner of Aki, Mr Hada actually went to the grand opening in 1970. He opened Aki in 1974 which makes the place 38 years old.

Two simple ala carte items. Beef Teriyaki and Chirashi. They can’t be any way similar except there’s rice included. There’s almost nothing to review, both are made with history. They’re both the epitome of what it’s supposed to be, as if they were made to illustrate the entry in Wikipedia. Beef cooked just right, the sauce Americanized, sweeter and thick. Rice is firm. Chirashi. Done fine. It’s all in there. Aside from the actual dish, the miso soup and side sunomono are all what you’d expect and that’s how they’re still around. Prices are in the $15+ range for an entree at dinner. It’s more than the food, it’s the type of place, the history, and the impending doom of places like this. Will anyone open a new one similar? The kids these days will open new establishments. It’s hard to call them restaurants with tasty food, but will they be around for 10 years much less 38? No way.



Seoul Sausage Co. Yong and Ted

Fresh out, these are perfectly created concoctions of kimchi fried rice (bokumbop) and spicy pork in a ball. When I tasted it, I know what it was instantly. I try miserably to make the bokumbop at home, but it’s not like this.

That’s Yong (repping the Knocksteady cap – yes and that would be DFD and his shirt, our friend Johnny Cupcakes) and Ted (repping the Future Rockstars of America – I’ll bet they had no idea I knew what was up). It’s a Kim sandwich and by the looks and tastes of things, my new brothers are going to keep me well fed. They’ll be open in a couple of weeks and their energy is going to make them do well. ( They’ll be ready soon at 11313 Mississippi Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90025 or watch them on the Great Truck Race season 3 coming soon. I’ll update you more as I get more tastes.

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V3 – Digital Media Conference – Biennale Presentation

Fugetsu-Do – The Prize for talking about the Giant Robot Biennale 3 at JANM. At the end of the day when everyone was exhausted from a day of programming, that’s the best time to get on state to talk about the exhibition. I did a “pecha kucha” type presentation. 20 slides, 20 seconds each. Why? Because I couldn’t control or even see the person handling the projector. The job? Fill in the gaps and speed up when the slide changes. Yeah that’s the only way I could see doing this without saying, “Next!” 20 times. Yet, it kind of worked.

I showed off some customs. You can see Okkle on the bottom left (it’s an amazing piece) and Cris Rose is obstructed by the lights. Yes, the screen system there doesn’t work well in the later afternoon. Since it was a difficult presentation and the frankly the photo by Lori Kodama below makes the pics look more visible! Thanks much V3!

Thanks Jozjozjozjoz

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Fungus Ingredient to Spice Up Your Meals: Koji

We wrote a bit about it earlier this year. (GR - Koji) Betty Hallock, my collegiate friend wrote extensively about Koji once again. Read her first sentence, “The latest trendy cooking ingredient in Japan is a fungus. And that fungus is spreading. Professional and home cooks in Japan are crazy for it, and it’s flying off the shelves at Japanese markets in the U.S., too.”

Basically it’s fungus instead of salt. Not quite, but do read on, it might be your regular cooking ingredient one day soon. (LA Times – Koji)

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n/naka Omakase Refined Again

Omakase continues to grow on fine Japanese diners. n/naka has to be one of the best. It’s not sushi, but it’s a hybrid Japanese kaiseki restaurant with a name that is easy to remember, perhaps it’s just me.

Chef Niki Nakayama preps everything to perfection. No, really. Look at the photos. I can’t get into describing each of the 13 courses (one of two of the photos weren’t part of the 13) or the beverage pairings (wine from all over the world – sake from a brewer, “Shichida” who only recently distributed outside of Japan), but the wait staff are like story tellers, they’ll explain each dish or glass of “wine and or sake” to it’s final details. Our particular waiter who worked in Italian food for years described the pasta dish (third photo below) which contained truffles and abalone as the greatest ever. He might be right. Each portion arrived immaculate and had perfect balance. The simple sushi was also perfectly created. Nothing over or under seasoned. Many of the small details, including the baby cucumber flowers are grown in Niki’s own backyard. She even made an appearance at the end to say “thank you.”

See a little more about n-naka and make sure you make a reservation. n/naka 3455 S. Overland Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90034 310.836.6252

-thanks Julia Huang!


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It’s Back! Japan Beef

No one has cared that the Wagyu or Kobe beef they’ve been eating at Black Angus is really some bootleg beef from happy cows elsewhere, that isn’t Japan. But guess what? Japan beef imports will be lifted and now you can get more confused. Who’s to know which is the real Wagyu beef or the fake bootleg beef? Now the lines will be blurred. “I think it’s from Japan” will now be the answer to the “is it real?” questions. But really, will it be really from Japan and will anyone care? Probably not and it’ll still say Wagyu or Kobe when it’s just grocery store quality. As long as the beer is flowing, of course it’s “imported”.

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in Japan

They’ve arrived and are taking the candy world over. Well, not really, but they did outsell KitKat mini which are popular at least by the ex-pats, by 1.7 times. But here’s the crazy part: “One difference between the export version and the one sold in the U.S. is apparent from comparing labels. The Reese’s sold abroad do not list “TBHQ,” which is shorthand for tertiary butylhydroquinone, a preservative.” (Chicago Tribune – Reese’s)

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Lobster and Caviar Burgers at Wendy’s Japan

These actually look great. The price $16+ is inflated thanks to the Yen power, but it’s a Wendy’s. Can it really be “upscale”? The locations are in the high rent Omotesando district and Roppongi Hills complex. (Wendy’s – Caviar Burger)

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Frozen Coca Cola in Hong Kong


Radness. Coke, frozen style sounds great on a hot day. Can’t beat it. It’s in Hong Kong.

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Driscoll’s and Japanese Americans


When World War II ended and Japanese Americans were freed and needed work, Driscoll’s helped out. What’s Driscolls? Go to the fruit section of your market. If they’re carrying what is often knowns as the best strawberries, then you’ll see the yellow Driscoll’s sticker on it. Yes, really. This story explains a bit about the times, how the company has worked with Japanese Americans to work the fields and develop some of the best fruit today. Some of my family swears on Watsonville grown strawberries by Driscoll’s. They won’t usually buy any other brand. If they do, before anyone even tastes it, they’ll say something like, “but it’s not Driscoll’s”. Sometimes, loyalties to brands and locations (yes some of my family lived / lives in Watsonville) beat almost anything else. Driscoll’s even helped out Japanese Americans. (Nikkei West – Driscoll’s)


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NPR: Manju is Not Candy

C’mon NPR, manju is not candy and fresh manju doesn’t last for days. This covers a new shop in Seattle called Umai-do that’s been open only a year which is remarkable. Most manju shops have been around for decades. This is the key point in the story which should be the focus. These shops may one day disappear.

(NPR – manju)

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Sanrio – Hello Kitty Back at Yogurtland

Some people only collect the spoons below since the cups don’t save well. It’s back at Yogurtland. We haven’t heard dates yet, but check your local Yogurtland for their spoon schedule. There are events at Universal Citywalk on July 10th. 

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Zombie – Resident Evil Restaurant

Japan, of course. “Biohazard Cafe and Grill S.T.A.R.S restaurant” will the name, and they’re sell some limited good, it’ll supposedly last a year and really, that’s all the info Capcom and game folks have figured out. The easiest part might be the menu. It can be straight up ugly and crappy and it’ll still work. (Huffpo – Zombie)



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