Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

The latest funky food flavors, coming soon to a konbini near you

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Japan is known for its seasonally flavored foods. Swing by your local konbini in the fall and you’re likely to encounter limited-edition beverages, snacks and candies that weren’t on the shelves a few months earlier.  Some companies pump out more flavors than others, with Nestle’s Kit Kat chocolates alone having dozens of varieties. This summer, manufacturers are debuting a number of interesting flavors to entice convenience store shoppers.

  • As if summer needs to be any hotter, Tohato will begin selling habanero pepper and lemon-flavored corn chips in late July. We’re excited about this one, despite the sinister face on the bag. The company will also be debuting yogurt-honey Caramel Corn and arrabbiata-flavored chips, which arrive in Japan this month.
  • A few weeks ago, we reported on our taste test of the Pepsi-flavored cheetos, which hit the shelves Monday.
  • More directly on the beverage front is Suntory’s Boss Black Sparkling. Best served cold, this carbonated coffee hopes to refresh and awaken those gulping it down on a hot summer afternoon. (Note: If you preferred your fizzy coffee hand-poured, Excelsior Caffé has begun offering a “Perriespresso,” which combines Perrier sparkling water with the chain’s espresso over ice.)
  • The average konbini has a pretty impressive array of instant noodles, but how many of them would satisfy a hankering for Italian? Maruka Foods is now selling peperoncino-flavored instant yakisoba, which combines the convenience of instant noodles with the Italian pasta sauce made form garlic, oil and chillies.
  • A few weeks back, Luna began selling its mint-flavored yogurt. This seems like it could be a crowd-pleaser, with the soothing mint and cooling yogurt making for a perfect way to fend off afternoon drowsiness during the dog days.
  • For dessert, check out Kabaya’s ramune-flavored chocolate  that fizzes just like the soda pop.

How do you say ‘super-size’ in Japanese?

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Western fast food chains are opening, re-opening and getting fancy in Japan. With over-the-top takes on familiar menu items, the country might want to start counting those imported calories. Sink your teeth into these Japanese twists on American fast food, and tell us if you still think food in Japan is healthy.

It's basically just a coffee, right?

It’s always more fun to start with dessert. The newest taste sensation to threaten the once-slim Japanese waistline is Starbucks’ chocolate cookie crumble frappuccino with white chocolate pudding, launched last week. The name is a mouthful, and so is the confection. The cup is half-filled with pudding, topped up with chocolate milkshake, layered thick with whipped cream and then drizzled with chocolate sauce and dusted with chocolate cookie crumbles. Despite the pudding base, it’s served with a straw — the faster to suck down the 700 calories in a grande, or 550 in a more modest tall.

But that’s nothing compared to Burger King’s “Bacon Bomb Burger.”  During a special campaign, you can add 15 slices of bacon to your sandwich for ¥100. They list the basic Whopper at 660 calories. Fifteen slices of bacon, at 40 calories a slice, doubles that. The Double Whopper with cheese is 985 calories before the bacon bombing even begins. The low price seems as much like a dare as a PR stunt, and people have been taking them up on it and posting the results online — see the video below if you’ve ever wondered what a thousand slices of bacon on a burger looks like. But don’t watch if you’re hungry — or if you’ve just eaten.

Speaking of double, the KFC Double Down made a big push in Japan, too, as the “Chicken Filet Double.”  The original has become renowned even in the United States for its heart-stopping excess: two slabs of fried chicken sandwiching cheese, bacon and sauce. Not to be outdone, Japan created a campaign around modifying this monster. The basic sandwich is almost 600 calories. And KFC in Japan will see America’s buttery biscuits and raise them a layer of melted chocolate on top.

Now, you may be reading this while chomping on a stuffed-crust Pizza Hut pie somewhere in another time zone, smug in the satisfaction that Japan will never out-pizza the U.S. Yawn. Pizza Hut in Japan has had the sausage crust since at least 2006 and the pizza chains have been innovating ever since. At Japan’s Pizza Huts, you can get a ring of crispy sausage baked in around the edge of most pies. The “melty camembert”  comes with bacon, camembert sauce and evenly spaced wedges of camembert cheese. It’s about 300 calories a slice.  But while the toppings are big, the slices are small. Guaranteed you’re not going to stop at one.

Dominos’ Giga Meat pizza sounds like the ultimate in home-delivered indulgence. And four kinds of meat is only the beginning. Dominos’ Japan pizzas can be ordered with the “Triple Camembert Millefeuille” crust. It has two layers of camembert cheese spread between three layers of crust under whatever else is on your pizza. If that happens to be potatoes and mayo, the highest calorie option, a 1/12th slice tops 400 calories.

With national attention to a rising rate of obesity and metabolic syndrome, or “metabo” as it’s known here, perhaps it’s no wonder that the death at the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas got a lot of buzz in Japan. Could it be that the story feels like a glimpse into a fat, frightening  future?

Warm up with these winter drinks trends

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Hot Calpis

Hot beverages in cans or pet bottles are one of the best things about winter in Japan. Warming up your hands as well as your tummy, they’re a great way to beat the cold during this setsuden (power saving) winter. Sold in vending machines or heated displays in convenience stores, product lineups are ever-evolving and this year is no different. Here’s a quick look at what’s trending:

Hot Calpis: Stop sniggering. We know what the name sounds like. Unpleasant connotations aside, this sweet milky drink has been popular as a cooling beverage for years in Japan. Released on the market on Nov. 7, the heated version is milder than the summer drink and a dash of honey gives it a nice wintry touch. It’s one several products added to Calpis’ winter range of heated drinks. Another is Hot Fruits au Lait, a milky blend of sweet fruit juices.

Suntory Iemon Green Espresso

Suntory Iemon Green Espresso: Matcha in a black can for manly men; Suntory is targeting businessmen who would normally warm up with a hot can of coffee. The product has been reasonably successful, according to Nikkei Trendy: During the first month of sales after its launch in September, 600,000 cases of the stuff were sold. The espresso part refers to the fact that this is very strong, gritty green tea, just like the kind made for tea ceremonies. Containing 20 mg of caffeine in every 100 ml, it’s just the thing to give hard workers a boost.

We see some similarities to a product Georgia launched last year. X Green Tea Style Coffee does exactly what is says on the tin, i.e. blending together green tea with coffee. The product also contains sugar and cream and we reckon is the natural, if not mouthwatering, progression on from the popularity of the matcha latte.

Kirin Poppo Cha

Kirin Poppo Cha: Ginger is very much in style at the moment. According to J-Cast, hot ginger drinks have been trending, especially among women, over the past few years. Asahi Newspaper also reports that ginger is trending as a health food. Some women are even carrying around tubes of grated ginger to add to meals as the seasoning is thought to improve circulation and prevent colds.

A non-caffeinated blended tea with a dash of ginger, Kirin’s Poppo Cha is just one of many products on the market. In October, Calpis also released a hot ginger drink onto the market and this year Ginger Chai from Nagatanien has become more widely available in conveninece stores throughout the country following on from its success as a mail order product.

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