Category Archives: food

5 Things You Should Do in Kansai!

If any of you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that (quite a while ago now…) I was in the Kansai area for a school trip, of sorts.

Kansai? Isn’t that that weird accent villains in Japanese kids’ shows speak in? Yes, you are (partially) correct when you say that. The accent itself is named after the region in Japan. For context, that region is the south/west side of the country’s main island with major cities including Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. Unfortunately this place tends to get overlooked because, quite simply, it’s not Tokyo.

It’s a bit of a shame really, because there really are some gems in this part of the country. Missing it out is like visiting the UK but refusing to go anywhere other than Zone 1 on the London tube map.

I decided to make this list when a friend of mine said that she said she didn’t want to come because she had more interest in going to “places around Tokyo” like Akihabara, “that cool medieval castle” and “that golden shrine” *sigh*…I’ll just start the list.

So, in no particular order…

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Ramen Review: Minimens (Despicable Me Minions themed ramen from Universal Studios Japan)

When I went to Japan (it’s been like five months now, but I’m still going to talk about it a little at some point), I happened to spend a day at Universal Studios Japan. Bearing in mind how much the Japanese seem to love Despicable Me’s annoying tiny yellow mascots, it’s no surprise my exchange partner considered a four-pack of their themed instant noodles to be a fitting gift.

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A good chunk of my suitcase was taken up by this…

When I found out the price works out that each cup is only about the equivalent of about US$4-5 per cup (about the same as any other instant ramen in Japan), I have to admit that I couldn’t really complain about the existence of the concept.

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Ramen Review: Yamadai New Touch Nostalgic Vegetable Tanmen Ramen

So I learnt my lesson from the last one, and opted for a non-spicy flavour. I honestly just picked it up because it was cheap and didn’t look like it was trying to replicate the breath of a dragon. Oh, and also because I like tanmen (or, at least I liked it the one time I tried it nearly two years ago).

I literally know nothing else because this time, they haven’t cared to even put any English instructions other than a couple of diagrams, so who knows? Maybe I prepared it comepletely wrong.

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You know you’re in trouble when the ther instructions have no numbers whatsoever.

Upon opening the pot, the seasoning hit me with a kind of nutty smell, like there was a bit of peanut butter in it, or something (again, no idea, since I can’t read the ingredients). The sweetcorn was…suspect but I gave it the benefit of the doubt as I poured hot water into the pot and covered it for about 3 minutes.

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So, how’d it taste?

20180308_171623Honestly…I don’t really know how to explain. It was kind of salty and kind of trying to be a little bit spicy, but doesn’t even compare to plain at Nando’s.  It did have a flavour though, just not a very strong one.

Despite that, it was pretty good. I’d say that the people at Yamadai did a pretty good job. The extremely mild taste is actually quite refreshing, especially in the heatwave we’ve been experiencing recently in England.

Would I buy it again? Probably yeah, if I can find it. I actually haven’t seen it in the shops near me since I bought it, actually quite a while ago, now.

In a nutshell: Not much flavour, but still refreshing.


I don’t know if this will be the last post for another month, but I do actually have quite a few things I want to talk about on here at the moment. I guess it will depend on how much work I have to do…

Ramen Review: Nongshim Shin Gourmet Spicy

I know I’ve given you radio silence for the last four months(?) but today’s post won’t be where I’ve explain myself. If you want to know where I’ve been, you’re going to have to hand on a little bit longer (I’ve been away so long, what’s another day?)


Today, I’ll be reviewing one of the many instant ramens I’ve recently managed to acquire from the world foods isle of this enormous supermarket that happens to be pretty much opposite my nearest Ikea.

Anyway, on today’s menu is Nongshim’s Shin Noodle Soup Gourmet SPICY (or at least, that’s the name I can gleam from the packaging). As far as I know, this particular variety comes in both pot and brick(?) form. I’m assuming they’re the same, but for reference, I had the pot version because it was cheaper.

So, right of the bat, I was pretty hesitant to touch it, since I’m not the world’s biggest fan of spicy food (anything about a medium at Nando’s will have me buying an entire platter for myself if I have to) and the labelling makes it very clear that this ramen is ‘Gourmet SPICY’ (whatever, that means).

Once I found some food prep gloves, I proceeded to follow the sparce instructions: Empty included sachet on top of noodles, fill with water up to inside mark, microwave for 5 1/2 minutes.

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I’ll admit that the colour and smell of the soup was looking pretty scary, so I poured myself a pint of milk, since it looked like I’d be needing it.

Cautiously, with myhands shaking, I took a small mouthful of the bright red concoction. To my surprise it wasn’t really that…wait a minute…hot, HOT! The noodles were accompanied by half my glass of milk.

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The only measure of hotness where I live.

It’s not the kind of hot that suddenly hits you in the face after lying dormant for a few seconds, but the rarer kind that slowly crawls all over your tongue and the only way to quench it is to down all 568 mililitres of your pint of milk every three mouthfuls or just keep on eating like an insane masochist who doesn’t mind if their tongue falls off.

That being said, I wouldn’t rank it higher than ‘hot’ on the Nando’s Peri-ometer. Nothing a lot of mayonaise can’t handle. As for taste other that spicyness, I’m going to be totally honest and say it was somewhat lacking. I’ll eat the other one remaining in my cupboard, but I won’t go out of my way to find it again any time soon.

In a nutshell: Spicy but not much else.


So, what do you think? Something simple to get me back into writing more frequently. A post explaining my long absense is to come (hopefully sooner than it took this post to reach you), but for now, I guess I’ll be taking requests for instant ramen and this season’s anime (as in winter 2018) that I should totally watch before next season.

Gels from the ‘Tales of’ Series

While finishing off another packet of one of my favourite Japanese sweets, I remembered the little post I made back before I had a proper blog (so long ago that it feels like it was in another life) that lead to me finding them. Since all it’s been doing is rotting on my laptop, I figured, why not share it with you guys?


After watching the ‘Gel Abstainers’ skit in Tales of Xillia, I became pretty curious about what gels actually were. It turns out that ‘gels’ are called ‘gummies’ in the Japanese versions as they specifically refer to ‘Kasugai Fruit Gummy Candies’, whatever those were.

In the end, my curiosity got the better of me and so I ended up buying some packs from Japan Centre in Piccadilly Circus. Costing all £20 I had on hand, I got managed to get the apple, peach, lemonade (there wasn’t plain lemon) and pineapple flavours.

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Aside from the apple flavour being a much more dull yellow-y orange, instead of the game’s vibrant red and the pineapple ones being heart-shaped, I’d say they look pretty accurate compared to the games’ depiction of them. Size-wise, I was actually surprised by that they were a little larger than the size of a £1 coin (about an inch). I didn’t really know what size to expect, but this size just seemed a bit…awkward…

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A size comparison

On to taste, they more-or-less have the texture of disc shaped gummy bears (as expected) but the flavours themselves are literally divine. Biting into one genuinely felt like biting into a capsule filled with super pure fruit juice. I can definitely see how these could cure a status ailment.

If you want to try them out for yourself (and you live in Europe) but you can’t find them where you live, Japan Centre has a variety of flavours to try.

Looks like I found myself a new favourite sweet…


So NaNoWriMo’s more or less over for me (will probably talk about it at some point), so I’ll be back to posting (or at least trying to) once every weekend.

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