All About Asian Food

Recently in Asian Food: Fun and Trivia Category

Here at Asian Food Grocer, we love to toot our own horn. We believe we offer the best selection of imported goodies at the most reasonable prices, and we strive to be your go-to when it comes to Asian snacks and groceries. So all the better when our happy customers toot our horns for us. Whether a tweet or Facebook post, we appreciate any and all feedback from our fans and customers. So we are especially excited when we see videos. We're all egotists here at the office.

If you've never order from us before, we'd like to show you how others have received Asian Food Grocer and our packages. There is a recent phenomenon where people post videos online presenting new purchases they have made. They call it unboxing videos, or "haul" videos. And wouldn't you know it, AFG is represented in this trend! We are flattered that you are excited enough about your order to record your reactions.

First off, we wanted to showcase Mrs. Howl's series of seven, yes seven videos in total! Mrs. Howl took the to effort show off her entire, HUGE purchase, breaking down the items into Bread, Salty Snacks, Sweet Snacks, Candies, and Drinks videos. She also does taste tests with the purchased items. 



That is so much love, we don't know what to do with it. Definitely check the rest of her videos out on her channel. This is the Citizen Kane of AFG unboxing/haul videos right here. Mrs. Howl gives detailed reviews for the taste tests, so watch her videos if you want an objective opinion on how this stuff tastes. The J-pop music accompaniment doesn't hurt either. There is only one word for this series of videos: epic.



This next video comes from YouTuber LetsWithLiz, who highlights our superiority in packaging against a company from Japan. Expect your items to be packed with utmost care. We even double box our items to ensure their safe arrival to you. Nothing is more disappointing than when something comes in the mail all damaged and unusable, so we do our best to keep that from happening to our customers. Admittedly. any competent retailer would look good in comparison to the shabby packaging in the video, but our elite packing stands on its own. 



This one above is a bit more impressionistic. This YouTuber, who goes by the awesome name of TeatimeZombie, foregoes narration and instead let viewers focus solely on the colorful and striking packaging on our Asian snacks. A special canine guest makes an appearance, making this one of the cuter AFG haul video's we've seen. We'll even forgive the fact that it was shot in portrait mode.

If you go on YouTube and search "Asian Food Grocer," you'll find more videos of people showing off their purchases. What do you think about your Asian Food Grocer haul? If you've discovered a new favorite snack to nom on or made a new dish using an ingredient you ordered, we would love to know! Send us your Instagrams, your tweets, or your Vines even! We hope to continue to serve you, our customers, and to move you to sharing your goodies (visually, at least) with the world. 

For a while now we've been stocking these sweet Iwako Japanese erasers. We just had a new shipment come in, so now is as good a time as any to remind you guys just how cool these erasers are. In Japanese, these collectible trinkets are known as omoshiro-keshigomu, or literally "funny eraser." In Japanese, funny also takes on the connotation of amusing, and there is no stationery as amusing as Iwako erasers. Their appeal is three-fold: they're cute figurines to display, and they're fun to collect, they're even functional erasers.

Iwako and its designers are reknown for their attention to detail and precision in manufacturing. This is especially important because the erasers are in fact "puzzle erasers," in that each eraser can be taken apart into separate pieces. Each piece is cast in metal molds so that they fit together perfectly. Try disassembling your pieces and putting them back together! It can be quite a challenge with some of the more intricate pieces, like the fire truck and the ducks. You can reassemble them with different colors to further customize your erasers.

Iwako often open up their factories for tours to group of young Japanese students. These lucky students get to look behind the curtain and see how Iwako's erasers get produced. The factories are about as close to a Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory as you can get in real life. The kids get to see the molds from which these cute erasers are formed. Iwako themselves say that they sometimes take suggestions from students and make the into actual eraers.

Iwako also takes great care to make erasers that are environmentally friendly and safe. The materials used in each eraser are lead-free, latex-free and non-toxic. They're even recyclable, though we find no reason why anyone would dispose of these erasers, even if done so responsibly. 

Inspiration can strike at any moment. Every eatery presents opportunities for new erasers idea. Food has been one of the more fruitful themes for Iwako. They have made eraser sets based on traditional Japanese food, sushi, dim sum, baked pastries, and fast food too. All of them look good enough to eat, but please do not eat, because Iwako erasers aren't food. The company seems to make food erasers based on the cuisine that is well known in Japan. With burritos recently making an incursion into the Japanese market, we hope to see a Mexican food set in the near future.

There is an indisputable charm in Japanese erasers. We commend Iwako's ingenuity to make everyday items all the more appealing by miniaturizing them in eraser form. The magic of Iwako erasers come from the intricate details in every piece. Look at the cherry eraser pictured above. The leaf marks are etched in convincing fashion, and the way the stems meet at the top is lifelike. And you can pull the cherry off the stem just like with a real cherry. It's oddly satisfying.

It's easy to take one look at Iwako erasers and immediately fall in love, consumed by the urge to collect them all. That's how I felt when I first saw these cute erasers at my local Japanese store. Not trying to tempt you, but if you're interested in starting a collection, we have themed erasers sets ready to purchase that are great starter packs. Pick up one of these massive sets and your collection is off to a good start at sixty strong.

Something about Iwako erasers compels people to want to share their joy with the world. These erasers, ostensibly made for students, are so simple yet the appeal is universal. Go on YouTube, type in "iwako erasers" or "japanese erasers" and you'll find many videos of people showing off their eraser collections, narrated by both adults and young children. 

We like seeing everyday objects shrunken down into miniature size. The novelty rarely rubs off. Make a mundane object like a toaster in miniature size and we woudn't be able to help but ooh and ahh at it. Come to think of it, there hasn't been a kitchen appliance eraser set released yet. Someone write Iwako to get on it! Until then, we'll just have to enjoy all the amazing erasers they have already put out. 

Snacking in Anime

Anime has a wide influence, having garnered fans in countries around the world. Anime first appeared on American shores in the 1960s in the form of Astro Boy. Ozamu Tezuka's manga was adapted into an animated series, which laid the groundwork of anime aesthetics for the upcoming decades. Through the impact of anime and video games, Japanese popular culture has effectively been exported to all corners of the world. One result of such influence is the growing popularity of Japanese snacks. We at Asian Food Grocer wholeheartedly welcome the wider exposure given to Japanese snacks. Many of these snacks have found their way into anime episodes, piquing the interest and curiosity of anime fans. Let us tell you a bit about the snacks you may have spotted.

Pocky

Pocky is the by far the most iconic and popular snack to come from Japan. Is it any surprise that the cream-coated snack sticks makes it way into many anime series? Characters are seen in many anime series casually noshing on the ubiquitous cream-covered biscuits. 

Given its popularity, interesting activities have sprung from the consumption of this snack. Did you know that within each pack of Pocky, there are ample opportunities for romance? Much like the famous Lady and the Tramp scene with the spaghetti, Pocky lends itself to a smooch as well. Nicknamed the "Pocky Kiss," this ritual has been depicted in many an anime scene. Two people start biting at the opposite ends of a Pocky stick until their mouths meet in the middle. Try it out with a friend!

Konpeito

Konpeito sugar candy are a popular treat with an instantly recognizable look. The unique star shape and bright colors lends itself to being represented accurately in an anime, and these candies have been seen in Studio Ghibli movies anime series as well. Most famously, the candies were seen in this Spirited Away scene, in which black soot spirits pick up konpeito off the floor and scurry back into the shadows.

Konpeito does not have a distinctive flavor, as it is simply rock candy made from simple sugars. However, the process to make these candies is a long one. Each candy core tumbles in a large heated tub, slowly takes shape day by day as it crystallizes a layer at a time. It takes anywhere from seven to thirteen days to fully form a konpeito. Think about that the next time you pop one in your mouth and finish it in seconds!

Anpan

Anpan is a baked sweet roll pastry with red bean paste filling, topped off with roasted sesame seeds. Pan is actually a loanword from Portuguese meaning bread. The bun is a favorite of Gintama's Yamazaki Sagaru. Working as a spy, he eats anpans during long stakeout sessions, having them with milk to give him energy to focus on his mission. 

The anpan is even the subject of a anime superhero, appropriately named Anpanman. Having an anpan for a head means Anpanman never has to eat to nourish himself. In fact, he offers his head as food to feed malnourished people in need. If that isn't heroic, I don't know what is.

Melonpan

Melonpan, or Melon Bread, is named as such for the ridges baked into the cookie dough crust on the bread, which resembles the rind of a cantaloupe. This popular Japanese pastry is the favorite of the titular character of the series Shakugan no Shana. Shana starts off everyday with a breakfast of melon pan. She is often seen with a melonpan in hand, with its recognizable criss-crossed pattern on the crust. Melonpan does not actually taste like melon. Instead, the flavor is described as a bit lemony. The sweet yet light taste of melonpan makes it easy to get addicted to. If more Americans get a taste of this delicious bun, there could be a wave people running around craving for melonpan like Shana.

Dorayaki

Dorayaki is similar to a pancake, only difference being that it is made from two slices of  castella, a type of fluffy cake, sandwiching a layer of sweet red bean paste. So it's quite different, but it has the same flat, browned look. Dorayaki is called as such because it resembles a gong, or dora in Japanese. Dorayaki is a known favorite food of Doraemon. The blue anime icon gorges on the pancakes whenever he gets a chance, and he can be tricked sometimes when he is tempted by the sweet taste of dorayaki. Doraemon is almost as popular as Mickey Mouse in the international scene, but somehow the series has never been licensed for release in the US.

Ramune

Ramune soda is know for its bottles, which is sealed by a glass marble. Ramune, with its distinctive codd-neck bottle, can be easily spotted in anime. Animators seem to get a kick out of depicting the realistic motion of the marble held within the bottle. Check out this animation from the series Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi. Notice the air bubbles, meticulously recreated in anime form. 

Rather than "cracking open" a drink, you pop open a Ramune by pushing the marble into the soda with a plastic plunger included with every bottle. The Ramune bottle is as much a symbol of Japanese culture as the Coca-Cola bottle is to American culture. Seeing a bottle evokes in the Japanese memories of childhood and warm summer evenings. Children often try to break Ramune bottles to extract the glass marble within. 

Of course, there are many more instances of Japanese snacks being shown in anime episodes. Anime characters are after all living creatures in their own way, and they have to eat. It's understandable that many favorite snacks of the Japanese populous make it into their media. Anime is very much a reflection of the Japan's culture. Just as Mickey Mouse and Elvis caused those overseas to yearn for authentic American culture, so anime has done the same for Japanese culture. It has made Japan's snack items seem that much more delicious.

Has watching anime ever whet your appetite? Let us know what is your favorite anime snack in the poll below! Also, check us out at the upcoming Fanime convention for your chance to taste some of these awesome snacks. We'll see you then!


japanese-origami-craneAre you feeling creative today? Really really creative? Creative enough to make paper come to life?

Well, if you're a fan of origami then you've probably already done that. Origami is the art of turning ordinary paper into 3-dimensional artwork. Some sculpture forms are simple and easy to make, others are extremely difficult creations, and are working pieces of art that move and react to a person's kinetic energy.

The rules are you can't cut your paper or use glue, and a lot of the purists say you can't even use tools. The paper is typically square, and can be solid colored or patterned- it can also be made using metallic foil paper, which will hold more difficult and complex shapes than typical paper; or it can be made using washi, which is a very tough kind of traditional Japanese paper.

No one's quite sure who to thank for origami. The Japanese tend to get credit for popularizing the art form, but there are references to folding paper for art or ceremonies all across Europe and China. But whoever it was that began the practice, no one was nearly as innovative with it as the Japanese were.

While paper folding has thought to have been in Japan since the Heian period (794-1185), the majority of origami's most elaborate and striking creations didn't exist until pretty recently. Akira Yoshizawa has been called the Father of Modern Origami, and his innovation and creativity with origami raised it from a stale, traditional practice to a globally recognized form of art. His recognition came about around the 1950's when he published his first book of origami creations, and both he, as well as his artwork, enjoyed great fame over the next 50 years.

Godfather of Origami Akira YoshizawaHis work brought about a technical and mathematic side to the art form that had never existed before. He put in place complex geometrical shapes that allowed the possibilities for what origami could become to grow exponentially. One of his most clever innovations was wet folding, which is the practice of wetting a piece of paper while folding, so that it could achieve a softer, more natural fold, and then would harden once dried.

But some of you are probably wondering, why bother folding pieces of paper into shapes? What's the point? Well, most people do origami because it's awesome, others use it as a cheap method of filling your room with beautiful decorations. But many people also find a good deal of therapy in the art. Again and again, the use of origami has shown positive results in a wide variety of health applications. It has shown to reduce stress levels in people suffering from anxiety, ADD, depression, and it's even been common practice for prison inmates to be taught origami to help add some structure and discipline to their day.

Origami SwanPatients who are recovering after medical procedures tend to enjoy making origami because it is creative and involving, but it doesn't require one to get up and be overly active. Many people who are recovering from hand injuries tend to prefer doing origami over the more conventional forms of rehabilitation. But probably the most common goal achieved by practicing origami is simply a feeling of peace, a little tranquility, and an ease of tension after a long day's hard work.

People also enjoy origami as a practical and personal form of gift giving. Especially in these tough economic times, it makes more sense to make your own gifts than it does to go out and buy them. We recommend using origami to decorate the tree this Christmas- add a sense of personality to your tree by using ornaments you made, rather than simply bought. It'll be a lot more meaningful, and it's sure to be a great exercise in family togetherness to all sit down and make a couple creations together.

Origami Christmas Tree OrnamentsWe hope that you give origami a shot this Christmas. Use it to decorate the tree, or use it on other special days- Easter, New year's Eve, Valentine's Day, even Birthdays. But whatever you decide to do with your winter season, we at AsianFoodGrocer want to wish you a great, big Happy Holidays, and we hope you all have a wonderful end of the year.

A Gingerly Blog

Sushi Ginger

Ginger? A Miracle Medicine!?

That's right boys and girls, ginger is not only good for you, but it is the original medicine, used by everyone from ancient Romans, to the Chinese and Indians thousands of years ago. Even Marco Polo was fond of the stuff. It's recognized by the FDA as being safe, and is always good to have around the house, either for dealing with a stomach ache or just for adding a little flavor to your next meal.

What is ginger?

Ginger is a plant originally found in Southern Asia. It appears as a long tube, with leafy extensions, and a large root. Different people use different parts of the plant for various reasons. The root portion is more commonly used then that of the other sections though.

What's it good for?

Ginger has been used for various purposes over the years. In ancient China ginger was put in tea, and used to treat coughing, illnesses, and body pains. In India it was applied to the sides of one's head to treat headaches. Indonesians used it to cure fatigue.

Today it is commonly used to prevent nausea, dizziness, or sea sickness. Sucking on some ginger, or even some Ginger Candy may help keep you from losing your lunch. Studies have also shown that ginger may help lower cholesterol and relieve stomach problems such as pain, bloating, or gas.

Ginger also has properties that make it ideal for helping stop diarrhea. It's been suggested that ginger helps treat Ovarian cancer, as well as headaches, body aches, and arthritis pains.

Sushi Ginger

But can you eat it?

Of course! Ginger is a common ingredient in many Asian dishes and teas. The Japanese use it as a sushi accessory to be eaten in between meals to cleanse the mouth of taste. It commonly comes in the form of Minced Ginger, Pickled Ginger, thinly cut strips for Sushi Ginger, or even Ginger Candy. You can even get it as a Cocktail Mixer to enhance the flavor of your favorite mixed drink, or simply as a Topping for your crackers and sandwiches.

Experiment with ginger on all your foods that you want to add some spice to, and don't forget to have some lying around the house in case of a stomach ache!

Bloggin 'bout Bento

When its lunch time, what do you eat? Do you run out to the nearest fast food joint and chow down on a greasy burger and fries? Or maybe you pack your own PB&J sandwich and a piece of fruit. Perhaps you're eating a little left over take out from a paper carton. Well we here at AsianFoodGrocer.com want to let you know that you are behind the times! In Japan, Bento Boxes are a staple in lunchtime dining.

Bamboo Bento BoxBento Boxes are containers that come in many different styles. Think lunch box or Tupperware that's more aesthetically pleasing. They can be constructed out of organic materials like wood and bamboo, metal, or more commonly plastic. Each Bento usually has separate compartment to house each meal item, however, some have no boarders. Most plastic and metal Bento boxes come with a resalable spill proof lid that snaps into place. Some Bento Boxes come in bundles packed with chopsticks, knives and forks, and sometimes even a thermos. As for the wooden and bamboo boxes, the food inside is usually wrapped in a thin layer of plastic wrap to help prevent spillage. The organic material boxes may not be the best at holding food but they sure do look cool!

Another uniquely Japanese trait of Bento boxes is the furoshiki. The furoshiki is a decorative piece of cloth that plays two roles. It is slipped underneath the Bento box and tied at the top to act as a carrying bag. When unwrapped, it doubles as a table cloth.

Hello Kitty Sushi ArtYou have probably figured out by now that the foods inside of the Bento Boxes are also designed for beauty much like other Japanese foods and the boxes themselves. A lot of time and careful preparation goes into every handmade Bento meal. They usually consist of fresh and cooked veggies, seafood, a few pieces of homemade sushi, pickled veggies, and cooked rice with toppings like shredded seaweed nori, seasoned furikaki, salted spiced plum, or sesame seeds. Bento making is truly a culinary art form, hot dogs and sausages can be cut into the shape of sea creatures, fresh vegetables can be carved into flowers, and even the rice can be colored using different spices and food colorings. It is not uncommon to see popular cartoon characters or other well known icons like Hello Kitty. The artistic possibilities are endless!

Luckily for all of you, we just got in a huge shipment of brand spanking new Bento Boxes right from Japan! Check them out and tell us what ya think!

Lamune or Ramune Soda?

Popular Ramune SodaSummer is just around the corner and Asian Food Grocer has just what you need to quench your thirst, Japanese Ramune Soda! These incredibly iconic marble topped sodas are very popular in Japan during the warm summer months. Because they were so popular over there, they essentially exploded on the scene here in America. But what is a Ramune? You may be asking yourself this question if you happen live under a rock... or in a cave. So, let us give you the 411 on these fantastically fizzy fountain drinks. 

Ramune is a carbonated soft drink straight from the Land of The Rising Sun. The word "Ramune" is actually derived from the sound of the English word "Lemonade." As you may know, there is no "L" in the Japanese language. To compensate, the letter "R" is substituted in its place. Therefore Lemonade turns into Ramune! There are tons of flavors too. Here at AsianFoodGrocer.com we carry Original (it taste kind of like a bubble gummy lemon limey flavor), Strawberry, Lychee, Orange, Blueberry, Watermelon, Green Apple, Yuzu (Japanese Grapefruit), Muscat Grape, Raspberry, Pineapple, and more! We have 21 flavors in all, including our must try novelty flavor, Curry! Other novelty flavors include Beef Teriyaki, Wasabi, Octopus, and more. Another strikingly unique quality of these fabulous beverages is its oddly shaped bottle.

Known as the Codd-neck bottle, it was actually invented in Europe in the late 1800s by Hiram Codd. Around 1876, Lemonade and the Codd-necked bottled were both imported to Japan at the same time, making them linked with one another. Instead of using a cork or a bottle top, Codd-neck bottles use a glass marble and a rubber gasket as it was believed, at the time, to be able to contain high pressure carbonated drinks better than conventional methods. During the container's construction, the glass is pinched into a special shape to prevent the marble from falling deep into the bottle. This causes the marble to rattle around like a wind chime as the beverage is consumed, making the drink very well loved by children. To make sure that the marbles have a good seal, the bubbly liquid is pumped into the bottles upside down so that the weight and the pressure formed by the expanding CO2 pushes the marble tight against the seal. On the outside of the bottle there are two dimples, giving the bottle its "alien head" appearance (we think it looks more like an octopus). The two depressions in the bottle aren't just for decoration, they act as barriers to keep the marble from rolling back into the opening of the bottle, making it easier to drink from. Although there is a blockade to stop the marble, it still takes a bit of skill to drink from the ramune bottle. Shoot, it takes some skill just to open it!

Ramune Soda FlavorsIt can be a little tricky to open a Ramune Soda. What you want to do is remove the white plastic wrapper from around the top of the bottle. Important: DO NOT THROW AWAY THE GREEN PLASTIC CIRCLE! Or else you will have a very hard time opening the bottle. Punch out the plastic plunger from the perforated ring it's attached to, place it in the hole in the thick plastic mouthpiece, and use it to push the marble down into the bottle with gentle yet firm pressure. As soon as you hear the pop sound of the soda opening, remove your hand quickly. If you're not used to opening Ramune, make sure you've got a towel handy because your Ramune may fuzz out of the bottle. Drink chilled, and enjoy!

What's in a name? When it comes to food, everything. If snails were called snails on the menu, no one would dare eat the slimy slugs.  But the chic, French name "Escargot" makes all the difference. Presenting seven Japanese snacks that taste better than they sound.

1. Couque D'asses


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Sanritsu Couque D'asses Choco Cookie is a delicious cookie mixed with smooth chocolate. But the term D'asses makes us want to "passes" this treat right up in the Asian grocery store. How about we rename it the choco cookie? Rolls right off the tongue.

2. Glico's Cream Collon


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Sure, Glico's Cream Collon is not pronounced "cream colon," but the spelling is a little too familiar for our taste. Don't be misled: The collon is a sweat treat with a crispy shell, creamy filling, and an unfortunate name. One collon-oscopy please!


3. Dars Bitter Chocolate

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Did Morinaga name it Dars Bitter Chocolate so it sounds like the Western candy Mars? (Or vice versa). We don't know who started this "bitter" chocolate trend, but we guarantee they aren't a marketer. Anytime we see a chocolate dubbed "bitter," it brings about a vision of a caustic old woman trying to get the neighborhood kids off the lawn. She's bitter, this tasty Japanese candy is not.  Our suggestion for an appetizing new moniker: Dars Dreamy Dark Chocolate.


4. Bourbon Every Burger



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Bourbon, chocolate, burgers - we like them all...in separate meals! The Bourbon Chocolate Every Burger sounds like something a mad scientist would create. And what exactly does "every" have to do with this chocolate burger? Those who think a meaty bourbon chocolate burger sounds tasty will be sorely disappointed. It's chocolate in the shape of a burger. But what a fun Japanese candy for after your next barbecue!


5. Kasugai Shrimp Peanuts



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There's something fishy about the name Shrimp Peanuts. Most people don't realize that shrimp and peanuts go together like peas and carrots. Before you put this Japanese snack on the list of food you'll never try, break open a bag. Shrimp peanuts are even better than shrimp chips.


6. Love Ring


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Because we're a classy bunch, we're not going to go into what's wrong with the name Love Ring. The joke is obvious. After you've had a good laugh, try this tasty pastry. Soft Japanese bread by any other name would smell as sweet.


7. Calpico/Calpis


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It's called Calpico in the U.S. and Calpis in Japan. Say "Calpis," three times fast and guess why they switched the name in English speaking countries. Sure, the name might make you shutter, but Calpico makes the perfect summer drink. It has a light, somewhat milky acidic flavor often compared to yogurt.

Don't let these names fool you. All of these Japanese snacks are incredibly delicious! Shop Asian Food Grocer for all your favorite Asian fare.

10. Chocolate Ramen Soup

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The Japanese candy maker Lotte teamed up earlier this year with Ghana, the popular chocolate manufacturer to introduce the first ever chocolate flavored Ramen. If you've ever had Ramen noodles, you probably know there's nothing sweet about the spicy soup meal. The chocolate flavored Ghana Miso is nothing short of a bizarre combination of sweet chocolate with salty Ramen soup broth. What won't the Japanese do if it'll make for good marketing? Well, Chocolate Ramen Soup was available earlier this year in honor of Valentine's Day. Does that answer your question?  If that sounds nasty, check out these normal Ramen noodle soups.

9. Kimchi

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This spicy garnish is a traditional Korean favorite. You may be familiar with the popular side dish. You may even be wondering why this dish made the top ten most bizarre Asian foods. What you don't know about kimchi is that the spicy cabbage you're eating carries with it a unique zesty quality due in part to long periods of fermentation. That's right, kimchi is rotten cabbage. And any rotting dish that has managed to become as popular as kimchi makes our list.

8. Quail Egg and Roe Sushi

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You might have tried quail at a gourmet restaurant. Maybe you even had the opportunity to try this smaller bird's egg cooked once or twice. But have you ever had one raw, wrapped in seaweed, and resting on a bed of raw flying fish roe? It's unlikely you'll see this on the menu at your local sushi restaurant, but it's likely to be available. If you're an old hat to Japanese sushi and you're feeling adventurous, request raw quail eggs the next time you visit you're nearby sushi bar.

7. Octopus Testicles

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Alec Baldwin's Schweddy Balls have nothing on these fried Japanese delicacies. Taboyaki is deep fried in batter and consumed at some of Japan's most prominent national festivals. Don't let their donut appearance fool you: these balls are filled with fish shavings, ginger and - of course - octopus testicles.

6. Bird's Nest Soup

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This Chinese soup's broth is literally made from the nests of Swiftlet birds. If you think that sounds odd, what makes this soup bizarre is the fact that Swiftlet's make their nest almost entirely out of their own sticky saliva. Anyone for more saliva soup?

5. Durian

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Dubbed the 'king of fruits' in Asia, Durian is the most pungent fruit you will ever encounter. It's infamous smell is notorious to foreigners, and this unpopular smell has lead to the fruit king's banishment from Asian hotels and public places. Durian's smell has been likened to raw sewage. Yummy! Maybe mother nature had a deeper meaning behind making Durian's exterior shell spiked like a porcupine.

4. Sea Cucumber

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Remember those sticky slimy sea critters you encountered on your grade school field trips to the aquarium? Well, the Japanese have been eating this oblong shaped gelatinous blob of an animal for centuries. If the texture and the look aren't enough to have you running for the hills, considering the sea cucumber's anatomy is essentially one giant gonad surely will!

3. Duck Embryo

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What's with Asia and its egg delicacies? Full of embryonic goodness! Served still in its shell and known as Khai Luk in Laos this dish is the innards of a nearly mature duck or chicken embryo. Mostly available through Vietnamese street vendors, Balut is just as bizarre looking as its name suggests.

2. One Hundred Year Old Egg

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This Chinese cuisine is made by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a unique clay mix for months at a time. The process makes the egg yolk turn black, and is supposed to enhance the flavor of the surrounding egg white, which becomes clear and gooey. Whatever the change may be, century egg's are yet another bizarre Asian spin on a food we all grew believing came scrambled, fried or poached.

1. Stinky Tofu

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Originally from Taiwan, stinky tofu is also a popular cuisine in China and Indonesia. What makes this fermented tofu dish top our list of bizarre Asian foods? Simply put, stinky tofu is one of the most pungent smelling, uniquely tasting foods anyone encounters. Even the native Taiwanese have mixed feelings about their regional tofu based cuisine. And, hey, if Andrew Zimmern - the host of Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods series - can't even stomach the stuff, you know it's truly one of a kind.  Stinky Tofu may be the most disgusting smelling food on the planet, but don't let it stop you from checking out these healthy Tofu Shirataki Noodle products.

Back to Black Black

Thumbnail image for blackblack_1pack400.jpgIf you're like the rest of us, it's been a while since your investments were in the black.  Those red earnings figures plaguing your monthly accounts may even be worsening those somnolent afternoons.  Packed full of caffeine and other stimulating Chinese extracts, Lotte Black Black gum could be just the solution to such a problem.  Not only is Lotte's Black Black the strongest caffeinated chewing gum not counting the US military, its pleasant black color will bring back memories of a stabler and more profitable economic climate.
 
Be forewarned, Black Black gum will likely be the most unusual flavored chewing gum you've ever experienced. First timers to Black Black will notice an intensely strong minty flavor.  If this burst of taste and the accompanying caffeine aren't enough to wake those sleepy eyes, Black Black also contains an added punch of the Chinese extracts Oolong, Ginkgo, and Chrysanthemum flower, all of which are known to stimulate. Gum chewing thrill seekers, disillusioned day-traders, and sleep walking toilers alike; remember the lovely black color of Lotte's Black Black and recharge amid memories of a more bullish time. See our wide selection of Lotte's chewing gum at Asian Food Grocer.