February 3, 2017

The Umami Reader: Kit Kat Sushi is Real

by Sarah

– In celebration of its new specialty store in Tokyo, Kit Kat made limited-edition sushi Kit Kats. Sounds gross? If you were worried about fish-flavored candy, you can rest easy that these sushi-shaped confections will taste more like fruity chocolates, rather than actual sushi. The Kit Kat sushi will come shaped like three different nigiri pieces: maguro (tuna), raspberry chocolate Kit Kat atop white chocolate rice; uni (sea urchin), Hokkaido Melon and mascarapone cheese Kit Kat wrapped in seaweed; and tamago (omelet), a pumpkin pudding-flavored Kit Kat atop puffed white chocolate rice. These special Kit Kats were released yesterday, February 2, and will only be available to customers who spend more than ¥3,000 JPY (approximately $26 USD) at the store in Ginza through Saturday February 4. (Hype Beast)

– While we’re on the subject of candy, did you know that Valentine’s Day is a huge chocolate-giving day in Japan? On February 14, women give chocolate to men (one month later, on White Day, men are expected to reciprocate with chocolates for women) and their friends. The tradition started in the ’50s when Mary’s, a chocolatier, started selling their heart-shaped chocolates at Isetan Department Store. There are chocolates given to boyfriends and crushes (honmei-choco), those given to female friends (tomo-choco), and finally chocolates given out of obligation to male co-workers and other men for whom they don’t have any romantic feelings (giri-choco). A report claims that in 2016, Japanese women spent one hundred billion yen ($880 million USD) on chocolates and other V-Day related items. Spoon and Tamago has a guide to the Valentine’s Day sweets that are being marketed in Japan this year, including a chocolate flavored curry and heart-shaped strawberries. (Spoon & Tamago)

– Speaking of specialty shops in Tokyo, have you heard of this Hedgehog Cafe in Roppongi? The cafe, called Harry, allows visitors to spend quality time with these cute creatures to get a little iyasareru, or a healing sense of comfort. Although it’s called a cafe, Harry only offers self-service drinks and does not serve food at all. In fact, you can bring in your own food and drinks (except alcohol). Visitors pay 1,000 yen- 1,300 yen (about $10-12) for every 30 minutes spent with these prickly little dudes (they’re said to feel like soft toothbrushes), plus additional costs for feeding and photographs with them. While Harry’s edible and drinkable offerings are limited, the hedgehogs are available for adoption. (Crunchyroll, Rocket News)

– Bought a donabe and looking for more recipes to make in it? Try this Nabeyaki Udon recipe that Epicurious claims is “real-deal” (I think that means “authentic” because a Japanese mom in Tokyo developed the recipe??). (Epicurious)

– There’s a stereotype that gamers eat a lot of instant ramen, mostly because it’s a way to eat without having to step away too long from the console. This stereotype may have some truth to it. Nissan has collaborated with Final Fantasy, releasing a Cup Noodle Final Fantasy Boss Collection in celebration of the video game’s 30th anniversary. The set contains 15 designs, featuring the boss from each Final Fantasy edition. The set, which costs 6,085 yen ($54) became available for presale on Wednesday. (Rocket News)

Fans of Japanese craft beers have a new destination – Yaesu. The neighborhood located east of Tokyo Station is mostly made up of high-rise offices, but has recently become an area known for its craft beer bars. (Japan Times)

– Here’s news of a very “high”-end olive oil. Pot d’Huile is cannabis-infused extra virgin olive oil. The San Francisco-based company claims to have perfected its weed-infused oil to taste good while also giving a consistent dosage of one milligram of THC per one milliliter of olive oil. You can use Pot d’Huile, which is sourced from an unnamed Sierra-based small family farm that wishes to remain anonymous, as you would any olive oil, but in case you need some inspiration, three chefs have suggested uses for it: Jorge Martinez’s (Loló) beet salad, Pesha Perlswieg’s (Salvage Supperclub) basil aquafaba aioli, and Wes Rowe’s (WesBurger ‘N’ More) tater tots, the recipes for which you’ll soon be able to get on the the Pot d’Huile website. (Bon Appetit)

– ICYMI, there are reports alleging that a Chinese restaurant in Padua, Italy was serving human feet to diners, passing it off as bear paws, an actual Chinese dish that uses rancid bear paw. I’m not going to post the photo of the feet that a waiter at the restaurant posted on Facebook, because it makes me want to vomit, but you can go ahead and check it out if you want. The story first broke a couple of weeks ago, and although officials have determined the meat isn’t bear (good news), there haven’t been any follow-up stories to confirm whether these were actually human feet. (The Daily Mail)


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