Category Archives: Product Review

additive-free-potato-chips-japan

Recent additive-free finds

I have been making a bit of an effort to buy more additive-free and organic pantry items. I have started keeping my eyes peeled for organic/additive-free products in the supermarket. My food philosophy tends to be eat as healthy as possible with what is available. You should be able to find some of these items in your local supermarket. I have found a lot of additive-free and organic food at the local OK Supermarket, a discount supermarket.

organic soy sauce japan

Organic soy sauce

有機しょうゆ (ゆうき しょうゆ yuuki shouyu)

I have been using this soy sauce for a couple of weeks and I like it. It is made by Yamasa which is the company I usually buy non-organic soy sauce. This is a picture of the bag it was sold in.

organic-sausage-japan

Additive-free sausages
無添加 ソーセージ (むてんか ソーセージ mutenka souseeji)
I spotted this about a week ago for the first time and tried them. They taste like normal chemical laden sausages. They were about 270 yen for one pack so they are a bit more expensive than regular sausages.

additive-free-potato-chips-japanAdditive-free potato chips

無添加ポテトチップス (むてんか ぽてと ちっぷす mutenka poteto chippusu)

My husband got into these before I had a chance to eat them. He said they tasted good.

organic-soy-sauce-japan(Mostly) Organic soy sauce

有機しょうゆ (ゆうき しょうゆ yuuki shouyu)

This one is made from organic soy beans but all other ingredients are not organic. I have never made soy sauce before so I can’t say how much non-organic material is in the soy sauce.

organic-coffee-japanOrganic Coffee

有機コーヒー (ゆうき こうひい yuuki kouhii)

I don’t drink coffee so I will not be able to review it but it is there for you to try.

organic-natto-japanOrganic natto

有機納豆 (ゆうき なっとう yuuki nattou)

Another product I can’t stomach but the boys of the house love it. Aside from OK Supermarket, which sells organic natto for the same price as non-organic, supermarkets seem to sell organic natto in two packs for the same price as a three pack of non-organic. Not too bad if you don’t go through a lot.

Do you have a favorite organic or additive-free product? Please leave a comment (preferably with a link to a picture) below  in the comments.

bento-boxes

Bento boxes I covet and my actual bento boxes

 

I like the idea of funky bento boxes but I rarely buy them because they are not all that practical for me. Most bento boxes are based on the assumption that you will have rice in one compartment, not anything sloppy or juicy. I don’t eat a lot of starches but I do eat a lot of stews and they leak when I use normal bento boxes. Bento boxes aren’t that sandwich friendly either. I don’t eat a lot of sandwiches but when I want to make them I have nothing to put them in.

What’s important for me when choosing lunch containers:

  • shape – will it fit the types of foods I eat
  • size – not too big as to encourage overeating but not to small as to require extra containers
  • leakiness – I eat a lot of soupy things so leak proof is a must (both levels in case of a multi level container)
  • aesthetics –  I have yet to find something both functional and beautiful but I keep up hope. I always have and always will choose function over form.

What I covet

bento box

  1. Lego bento box – I don’t really need to explain why I covet it. It doesn’t look too leak proof so I will have to satisfy my lego love by picking up some lego chopsticks next time I go to the lego store. I just bought the fork and spoon set for the resident toddler. Image source.
  2. Wooden bento box – I love wood. I have a wood for and spoon set that I use at home all the time. I can see this getting stained by something tomatoey or leaking all over my bag. I would buy this if I drove to work everyday and could keep my bag flat at all times.
  3. Slim bento boxes – I had one. When I bought it I thought it would fit in my bag better than a wider box but discovered that it didn’t. These also have a leaking problem. The bottom level is for rice and the lid for that doesn’t stop leaks, even from things that aren’t saucy. If you only use the bottom for really dry things you will be fine.
  4. Donburi bento box – I love the shape and the non-pink ones look cool. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t eat a lot of starches so there is nothing that will absorb excess juice from stews. I have a feeling these babies will leak.

What I actually use is pretty boring but effective. All links are for Amazon Japan.

my bento boxes

  1. Larger bento box with rubber around the inside edge – (top left) this one is for meal salads. Sometimes I put smaller containers, sans lids, inside so I can take things like humus and chickpea salad without mixing.
  2. Bento boxes with rubber around the inside edge – (top right) this is the one I have for non-salad meals. It is perfect for stews, pastas and curries. I would choose the black version if you eat a lot of tomato sauces as it could get stained over time. Mine hasn’t but I don’t make tomato sauce that often.
  3. Ziplock screw lock containers – these have never leaked on me, even with soup. I have all three sizes. The large ones are great for salads, you can layer the ingredients with the dressing and the hard veggies on the bottom and the leafy stuff on top. Then you just shake it up at lunch to get everything coated. No extra containers and no soggy lettuce. I use the middle size one the most.

What do you use for your lunches? If you have any product recommendations please leave them in the comments below.

 

salty-watermelon-pepsi

Salty Watermelon Pepsi Review

 

salty-watermelon-pepsi

I only pick the really weird Pepsi flavors to try and I couldn’t resist salty watermelon. I’ve tried adzuki Pepsi and shiso Pepsi and this is the most drinkable.

I think the kiddies are going to like this Pepsi flavor. But before you pass the bottle over to the nearest little person, keep in mind that there is caffeine on the ingredients list. This tastes pretty good – watermelony with a bit of a salty aftertaste. I would recommend picking this up to share with someone because while it’s good, it still tastes like a kids’ drink.

snapdish_logo2

An Ode to Snapdish

One of my favorite apps for the iPhone/iPad is Snapdish. I post a lot of meal photos there and get inspired. If you have a smart phone I highly recommend that you download and start using it. There are a lot of Japanese users so it is a great opportunity to see everyday home cooking as well as typical restaurant food. I’m Kirsten Adachi on snapdish if you would like to add me.

Three of my pics from Snapdish.

20120706-141618.jpg

Taiyaki filled with banana and almond butter and grapefruit on the side.

20120706-141626.jpg

Chicken, tomato, green pepper and onions cooked in the rice cooker and seasoned with Spiceluck’s kebab spice.

20120706-141644.jpg

Chickpeas, eggplant, zucchini, carrot and tomato cooked in the rice cooker.

snapdish_logo2

An Ode to Snapdish

One of my favorite apps for the iPhone/iPad is Snapdish. I post a lot of meal photos there and get inspired. If you have a smart phone I highly recommend that you download and start using it. There are a lot of Japanese users so it is a great opportunity to see everyday home cooking as well as typical restaurant food. I’m Kirsten Adachi on snapdish if you would like to add me.

Three of my pics from Snapdish.

20120706-141618.jpg

Taiyaki filled with banana and almond butter and grapefruit on the side.

20120706-141626.jpg

Chicken, tomato, green pepper and onions cooked in the rice cooker and seasoned with Spiceluck’s kebab spice.

20120706-141644.jpg

Chickpeas, eggplant, zucchini, carrot and tomato cooked in the rice cooker.

Sakura products in japan

Sakura Love

Sakura products in Japan

For some reason I am in love with sakura flavored stuff this year. In past years I didn’t give sakura flavoring the time of day. Probably because sakura season is during allergy season so I don’t participate in all of the hoopla. No picnics for me. I think I have only done it twice in my eight years here.

In the picture:

1. Sakura green tea
2. Sakura salt
3. Sakura macaroons
4. Sakura umeshu
5. Sakura bean paste
6. Pancakes topped with sakura bean paste
7. Sakura rice mix

Greek Yogurt in Japan

This post has been updated as a brand of greek yogurt is available in many stores. 

greek yogurt japan

This yogurt has been released by Morinaga and is available in many stores. The yogurt brand is Partheno and it is labelled as 濃密ギリシャヨーグルト (noumitsu girishayouguruto). You can also get it on Amazon

greek yogurt in japan

 

The above yogurt is Caspian Sea yogurt (kaspikai youguruto カスピ海ヨーグルト). It is not thick like Greek yogurt but is thinner. It is smooth and rich. I’ve seen it in most supermarkets that stock at least a few foreign products.

If you can’t find Greek yogurt in your area you can always strain regular yogurt. Here are some instructions.

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Yuzu Hiyashi Chuuka

 Hiyashi chuuka is my favorite summer food – especially the soy sauce based ones.  I pack it as bentos quite often as well as eat it at home a lot.  You can make it in ten minutes if you have everything out and ready to go.  Now there is yuzu flavored sauce.  It is good.

This is what the package looks like.

Try it out.  It is great and citrusy.

P.S. this might be my last post for June as I will be heading back to Canada for a visit.

Healthy Food Backup Plan

Yesterday I went to a Hokkaido Fair at a department store in Fujisawa. It was jam packed with little old ladies. Good thing I had le akachan (my son’s online identity) in the carrier because my friend with a stroller had a hard time. We happened to pass a stall with dried vegetable flakes. They had a sign mentioning how the flakes can be used in baby food. Not normally one for packaged food, I picked up one bag just to look at the ingredient list. There was only one ingredient. I ended up buying one bag of carrot flakes and one of kabocha flakes after being given a sample. These will be great on the plane on the way to visit my family and in situations where le akachan needs food in a pinch. They will be colorful food toppings for adults as well.  I also sampled the corn made into corn soup and it was quite good.  A good, non-chemicalized option.  They will, of course, never a staple though as I am a fresh veggie lover. Healthy backup plans are a must and these are helpful.

You can get corn, potato, kabocha squash and carrot flakes.  They are made by Taimou and are 1000 yen a bag but are on special three four the price of four.  A friend and I split the special.