As Hyper Japan kicks off, here are 6 utterly bizarre food trends to come out of Japan

There’s no doubt Japan is a country of experimentation – after all, this is the place that gifted the world cat cafes and Harajuku fashion.

From ramen restaurants to okonomiyaki bars, traditional dining is hugely important in the country. However, there’s also a whole lot of room to do exactly what your mother told you not to: Play with your food.

We’ve picked out some of the weirdest eating trends from the streets of Tokyo to the alleyways of Osaka, that we’re equally stunned by and secretly want to try…

1. Wasabi KitKats

If you’re the type of person who got excited when corner shops started selling peanut butter KitKats, then prepare to be blown away by what’s on offer in Japan.

KitKats are the most popular confectionery item in the country – with flavours like purple sweet potato, soy sauce, cherry blossom matcha and, our least favourite sounding one, wasabi. We’re just not sure about that mix of chocolate and wasabi, but it’s apparently a hit in Japan.

2. Salty Watermelon Pepsi

Next on the list of ‘normal products with weird flavourings in Japan’ is Salty Watermelon Pepsi – three words we never thought we’d see together, and we have absolutely no idea how it would actually taste.

Unusually flavoured soft drinks tend to be a hit in Japan – the latest obsession being peach-flavoured Coke, which admittedly sounds a whole lot nicer than anything with ‘salty watermelon’ in its description.

3. Curry doughnuts

Sure, we love curries and wouldn’t ever turn down a doughnut, but putting the two delicacies together? It sounds a bit dodgy to us. But in fact, ‘kare pan’ (curry-filled doughnuts) is a pretty popular snack in Japan.

The concept is pretty simple. Rugby-shaped doughnuts are filled with Japanese curry, covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried – just in case it wasn’t already enough of a challenge for your cholesterol.

4. Salad cakes

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While many of the trends on this list are distinctly unhealthy, this one is not.

In fact, salad cakes are a virtuous trend masquerading as something a lot naughtier. They might look incredibly pretty, but we wouldn’t recommend taking one of these to your mate’s birthday – we’re just not sure if they’d appreciate the crunch of lettuce when expecting soft sponge and sugary icing.

5. Anything animal shaped

‘Kawaii’ in Japanese roughly translates to ‘cute’, and the country is obsessed with everything and anything adorable. This extends to food, and the trend of shaping snacks into animals you want to coo over is extremely popular.

Think doughnuts shaped like cute little cats, or smiling bunny-shaped rice balls. It’s all very twee and heartwarming, so much so that you almost feel like a monster when you finally eat the poor mites.

6.Burgers on top of sodas

In the middle of last year, you probably remember seeing a particularly odd sight sweeping your Instagram: Burgers stuck through McDonald’s straws to be neatly placed on top your drink.

The fad originated in Japan and took Instagram by storm. Sure, it’s not exactly a trend – more of a novel way to present your food for the ‘gram – but it was still utterly baffling. To this day, we’re not entirely sure why people did it.

- Press Association


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