Archive for February, 2011

Fun with Origami

When I was a kid, the only thing we made with origami were cranes… hundreds of them. These days, the Japanese art of paper-folding has not only gone to the birds, but to burgers and bentos, too. Check it out:

Each piece of paper is specially printed to look like a hamburger, fish sandwich, fries, or soda. It takes several sheets – carefully cut and folded – to craft each into an intricate masterpiece. Yum!

Here’s a replica of your everyday Japanese lunch box. Clockwise from bottom left is: a rolled omelette, rice balls, a tube of sauce, potato salad and a tomato. The brown thing is a German import called a “hamburg steak,” or as Japanese pronounce, “ham-bah-gu.” which is basically a hamburger without the bun.

Though as pretty as it is, it’s not something you’ll be eating at the park any time soon, so what’s the point? Items like these remind me of the waxy food displays designed specifically to lure customers into restaurants. So maybe these tasty paper pieces were conspired by bento and fast food manufacturers to get us to eat out more?? Ooh, if it is, they’re EVIL! (; _ ;)/~~~

Himawari

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February 23, 2011 at 11:34 am Leave a comment

Crackers + Rice = Crazy Delicious

We all know just how decadent a Japanese meal can be. Think $200 plates of raw fugu, and kaiseki ryouri packed with seasonal vegetables and well-marbled meat. But what’s on the other end of the spectrum?

I saw a Japanese TV show a while back featuring meals people cook when they’re in the poorhouse. My favorite was a guy who crushed soy-flavored rice crackers (“kaki-pi,” to be exact) and sprinkled it over his rice. It sounds like a joke, but it’s actually tasty! If you dare to try it, Takara Tomy has a cool product that takes the work out of making this unlikely topping:

It’s called “Okashina Furikake,” which is a double-entendre meaning “snack-like condiment” and “rice-topping oddity.” It’s a simple device: Just pour in your snack of choice, then push and turn the handle. You can use just about anything: potato chips, pretzels, even cookies.

Speaking of furikake, I did some sleuthing and found it was invented in the early 1900s by a pharmacist who wanted to add more calcium into people’s diet. So he started crushing fish bones and mixed it with sesame seeds and dried seaweed to cover the fishy flavor. The bones have since been replaced by dried egg, vegetables, bonito flakes, and dozens of other yummy ingredients but my people’s love for rice topping has gone unwavered.

Well, it’s about dinner time here and I only have $2 in my pocket. You know what that means…..RICE CRACKER DINNER! \(^o^)/

Himawari

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February 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm Leave a comment

Chocolate with a Purpose

Japan is in a chocolate frenzy for Valentine’s Day. It’s a yearly ritual of sending out boxes of lovely aphrodisiacs to friends, loved ones, and even people you don’t care for. I love ogling at the assortment of sweets on Yahoo Japan’s shopping site and finding out what sort of novelty items they have. This is my favorite… edible tools!:

You might not be able to fix your broken radiator, but it still comes in handy whenever your inner cocoa demon attacks. Kobe Frantz produces them as part of their “Car Mania Set V4,” which includes monkey wrenches, nuts and bolts, pliers, a screwdriver and car keys, each made with high-quality couverture chocolate. A dream gift for the sweet-tooth car enthusiast, don’t you think?

For chocolate lovers on a diet, there’s the non-edible dessert camera by Fuvi:

It’s a tiny 3-megapixel toy perfect for keeping in your clutch for a night on the town. Amazingly, it also takes video and connects to your computer with a USB cable. It makes for a good spy camera, too; As you’re snapping shots, everyone will think you’re nibbling on an after-dinner mint!

So what’s your favorite piece of chocolate??

Himawari

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February 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm Leave a comment

Cooking with Bear

I knew a girl in college who preferred to eat dinner in her room than with everyone else. After her roommates left for the cafeteria, she’d take out a mini-rice cooker from under her bed and make a simple meal —
either rice and furikake or a steamy bowl of ochazuke. Starch was her addiction.

I know the feeling. When I’m traveling Europe, I start craving all kinds of sticky, short-grain rice (sorry, Uncle Ben’s doesn’t cut it) most Asians can’t live without. That’s why this comes in handy… the Rilakkuma Rice Cooker:

Place this cutie bear of a pot into the microwave and he’ll cook rice for you in under 10 minutes — four times faster than the conventional cooker. The cooking process is easy: Just pour in water and fill the raw grains up to the line marked on the container, then microwave. As an added bonus, you get a shamoji (rice paddle) and an extra compartment for steaming vegetables.

As I’ve mentioned before, Rilakkuma is a bear created by Sanrio. His main objective in life is to relax and enjoy life, and he hopes his carefree attitude rubs off onto his owner. Just thinking about him puts a smile on my face. (^o^)

Himawari

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February 2, 2011 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment


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