B-kyu Gurume: Morioka Reimen from Morioka City, Iwate

Happy July, Zo fans!  We’re so surprised by how fast this year has gone by already.  We hope that you all are continuing to stay safe and healthy!

One of our favorite ways to plan any trip is to research the food that each destination is famous for. We love traveling to try new cuisine!  Do you do this, too?  If so, when planning your trip to Morioka in Iwate, you’ll quickly learn the city is famous for their noodles.

In fact, they are actually known for not one type of noodle, but rather for the “Three Great Noodles of Morioka.” These noodles are Wanko Soba, Morioka Jajamen, and Morioka Reimen.

photo link: https://img.japankuru.com/prg_img/img/img2020042016423097652000.jpg

When you order Wanko Soba in Iwate, you are given a small bowl of soba with toppings like sesame seeds or green onions. But don’t worry about the size of the dish, because you get to eat as much as you want! It’s such a novel experience, really. Each time you finish your bowl, a server that’s standing right next to you will say “hai, janjan” and refills your dish. This repeats until you cover the bowl with a lid, to signal you have eaten to your heart’s content. Establishments even hold contests to see who can eat the most, with records as high as 500 bowls consumed!  Would you be up for this challenge, Zo fans?

Next up is Morioka Jajamen.  Morioka Jajamen is an udon dish topped with ground meat, or Nikumiso. This topping is prepared with ginger and other spices, and stewed in miso and sugar. After the noodles are consumed, most customers mix the remaining meat with the broth and an egg to transform the remainder into a second-course soup dish.  It’s so filling and delicious.

The final of the three great noodles is Morioka Reimen. Fun fact: rei means cold, and men means noodles.

Morioka’s cold noodles are served in a spicy soup, generally topped with Kimchi, watermelon, hard-boiled eggs, sesame seeds, beef, and fresh vegetables. The unique combination of ingredients with the cold broth makes it perfect for eating during warm summer days.

You might be wondering “Kimchi? Am I in the right country?” You absolutely are! This dish actually originated in Korea, and was made popular by a Korean-born resident of the city who opened a restaurant featuring the flavors from his childhood. This origin story and spice-level makes the cold noodle dish unique from the reimen consumed in other parts of Japan (which are not known for their spice).

Most Morioka Reimen restaurants offer 5 or more levels of kimchi spiciness for your order. If you’d like more control of the spice of the reimen at your own discretion, you are able to order the betsu-kara option, which provides the kimchi on the side. The cold soup dish is said to taste even better if you add a dash of vinegar to it before consuming.

There are over 30 noodle eateries located just in the city of Morioka. Some of the most popular destinations for where you can try this Reimen (and other noodle dishes mentioned) are:

Seirokaku, a famous noodle restaurant ranked amongst the top restaurants in the area.  Seirokaku is located across the JP Morioka Station, which makes it easy to access!

Another popular restaurant we recommend is Pyonpyonsha, Morioka Ekimae.  This restaurant is one of the most popular places to try these dishes, but space is limited so reservations are recommended!

Photo link: http://japanold.com/2018/05/16/1705/

And if you’re in the mood to learn how to make your own reimen from scratch, you can visit Morioka Handi Works Square to take a traditional cooking class to making your very own version of this regional delicacy.

Let us know if you try (or make) any of these dishes by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushi on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

Meet the Newest Members of the Zojirushi Family and July’s Product of the Month: Hello Kitty Rice Cooker and Stainless Mug

We are so excited to announce our collaboration with Sanrio to launch our two new Hello Kitty housewares, the Hello Kitty Rice Cooker and the Hello Kitty Stainless Mug.

This partnership marks Zojirushi’s first-ever licensed collection and coincides with Sanrio’s 60th anniversary, celebrating the heritage of two iconic Japanese brands and their milestones through these fun limited-edition products.

Let’s take a closer look at the two products and their features:

The Hello Kitty Rice Cooker (NS-RPC10KT)

The Hello Kitty Rice Cooker is a gorgeous white exterior with one-of-a-kind Hello Kitty illustrations in 360 gold print. It’s a necessity for all Hello Kitty fans – so kawaii!

Along with the ability to cook up to 5.5 cups of rice, this rice cooker will feature many Zojirushi standards, such as:

Easy one-touch operation with an automatic system that keeps the rice warm once it’s done cooking,

A patented triple heater system that works intuitively to always generate the ideal temperature for the best tasting rice,

 

A detachable and washable inner lid,

Easy-to-clean nonstick coated inner pan,

A hinged lid with easy-to-open handle, as well as a lock tight lid with push button release and a removable dew collector.  The rice cooker also comes with a measuring cup, spatula, and a spatula holder as accessories, which are BPA-free

The rice cooker is adorable and also thoughtfully constructed to not only make the cooking part easy, but also the clean-up. For example, during the boiling process, starchy foam may adhere to the inner lid and become dirty. The inner lid is designed so it can be removed and washed thoroughly. Especially if you add any ingredients other than rice (such as condiments) when cooking, wash thoroughly to prevent odors. The inner pan is nonstick coated for easy cleaning, because we all know how time consuming it is to clean off sticky rice!  When cleaning or washing, we advise not putting forks, knives or other cooking utensils in the inner pan to avoid scratches. Please only use the rice spatula that came with your rice cooker to keep the pan from scratching and deteriorating.

The Hello Kitty Stainless Mug (SM-TA48KT)

While the Hello Kitty rice cooker will only be sold in white, the Hello Kitty Stainless Mug will be offered in two colors – black and white – both featuring the same unique-to-Zojirushi gold print.

If you own, used, or have encountered any of our vacuum insulated stainless products, you know how they EXCEL at keeping beverages hot or cold…we’re not exaggerating. Enjoy the temperature retention for up to 6 hours for all of your liquids!

In addition to powerful temperature retention and a lovely design, they also offer everything you love about Zojirushi’s vacuum insulated stainless products, such as 6 oz capacity made of high-quality 18/8 stainless steel , a 2-step lid release process , which prevents excess condensation, a stopper that completely disassembles for thorough cleaning , Easy-to-clean double layer nonstick coated interior , nonstick coated

interior for enhanced durability, An air vent so drinks flow smoothly ,

and a safety lock to prevent the lid from opening accidentally.

Look at that beautiful 360 gold Hello Kitty design!

Zojirushi has other products that also have floral or other designs on our products. We take care in using materials and application methods that prevent the designs from coming off, but don’t rub or scrub hard when washing. Please be gentle. This tip works to keep both the rice cooker and stainless mug’s exterior design in pristine condition.

Are you as excited as we are?

The Hello Kitty Limited Edition Collection is exclusive to the U.S. and Canada, and features a never-before-seen Hello Kitty pattern. This pattern was designed specifically for Zojirushi, and the items will only be available through select retailers in North America, beginning in early July 2020 with plans on restocking the collection in early September.

Missed out on the release?  Make sure to sign up for our Zojirushi 101 newsletter for the month of July, and take our survey for a chance to win a product from the collection!

Don’t forget to also try out these delicious Hello Kitty recipes from this month’s Zojirushi 101.  The perfect meals to make with your new Hello Kitty rice cooker!  We feature 2 delicious Japanese dish-inspired meals with the iconic mascot, such as Hayashi Rice.

Be sure to show off your Zojirushi x Hello Kitty housewares with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZojirushixHelloKitty #ZoFan

July Is National Blueberry Month!

Blueberry Bread
This is an official month declared by the USDA! Did you know that blueberries are native to North America and we grow them in 35 out of the 50 states? That means we supply about 95% of the world’s crop. It’s known as a superfood, because they’re rich in fiber, low in calories and full of vitamins and antioxidants. It’s also one of the few foods found in nature that are blue, so there’s always that.

I wanted to try Blueberry Bread with my breakmaker, so I found a recipe on the Fleischmann’s site, the people who produce the instant yeast in bottles and packets. The experts at Zojirushi advised me to use dried blueberries because using fresh ones would make the dough soggy. This also gave me a chance to use the dispensing attachment that comes with the breadmaker—it drops whatever dry ingredient you want into the dough for you, so you don’t have to interrupt the cycle or even take the dough out. Worked like a charm. This is all I needed according to the recipe. (The black container is the auto ingredient dispenser.)

Ready to go.

This was the best looking bread I’ve been able to bake with my breadmaker. I mean, look how perfectly shaped it is! And the texture and color of it was amazing. Then when I sliced it open and saw the swirly blueberry, I was totally impressed. And yeah, it tasted as good as it looked, so I rated this one an “A” and patted myself on the back.

Blueberry Jam
Now for some fresh (ok, frozen fresh) blueberries and my Blueberry Jam using a Zojirushi recipe for the breadmaker! This also turned out amazingly good, and I think the credit goes to using fresh ingredients.

The frozen blueberries worked out great, and I made up for the freshness factor by using lemons from our garden!

I mean, this jam only requires blueberries, sugar and lemon juice—add it to the pan and the machine does the rest. Be sure to mash up the berries first.

Cook for an hour and twenty minutes with the Jam Course and ta-dah! Fresh blueberry jam!

Pour the jam into a glass jar and refrigerate to thicken it a bit. The homemade jam recipes online suggest adding pectin to the jam to add firmness, which I did—you can buy that at the supermarket.

This was a very tasty jam—not too sweet like the kind you get at the store. And it felt good knowing there weren’t any preservatives in it; but of course that means you can’t keep it that long in your fridge. Next up for jams—strawberry!

Just For Fun
What do you do when the twist-off cap on your soda won’t open? You use your slipper of course! (Don’t worry—I cleaned the bottle before drinking!)

 

All images by Bert Tanimoto

 

 

 

B-kyu gurume: Turkish Rice from Nagasaki!

For this month’s (virtual) Japan tour, we are bringing all of you along with us to Nagasaki and introducing you all to one of our favorite indulgences from the region: Turkish Rice.

This dish features three staple components: Neapolitan spaghetti, rice, and meat cutlets. Turkish Rice can typically be customized to satisfy and meet each individual customer’s ideal comfort food order. For example, instead of spaghetti, you can have meat sauce or cream; the rice might be curried pilaf, chicken rice, or even dry; and the cutlets can be pork, chicken, steak, or even hamburger patties (to name a few options).

With so many options available, no wonder it’s considered a “must-eat” when visiting Nagasaki!

At first introduction, it might seem like this recipe would have some roots associated with Turkey, but a closer look into this dish’s origin (and ingredients) confirms that the meal is a total Nagasaki original. In fact, where the name comes from is a mystery to this day, but here are some fun theories we found about its naming.  One theory that attributes the name to historical roots is during Japan’s sakoku period of isolation.  During this time period, the people of Nagasaki were only allowed to trade from Europe through the Dutch. This theory suggested that elements of the dish were brought over during this time period and misattributed to Turkey, which no one has corrected since.  Another theory suggests the three ingredients and their three colors brings the tri-color lunch together to resemble the flag of Turkey, giving the dish its name, as well.  The last theory suggests the root is in geography: with the pilaf origination in India and the Neapolitan in Italy, Turkey’s location in the middle bridges the ingredients together and creates the namesake dish beloved by the region.  How interesting, right?

Whatever the origin, it’s a dish that’s certainly one of our favorite b-kyu gurume recommendations, and one that we hope you definitely indulge in on your next trip to Japan.

If you’re in the middle of planning a trip to Nagasaki right now and want recommendations on where you can try some yourself, here are some places you might want to stop by to order some Turkish Rice for yourself:

The first is Kyushu’s oldest café, Tsuruchan.  Opened in 1925, bask in the historically rich ambience of Tsuruchan and enjoy a plate of Turkish Rice!

What’s your favorite way to eat Turkish Rice? Let us know by sharing your story on social by tagging #Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushi on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

Product of the Month – Stainless Tumbler SX-FSE45

Happy June, Zo fans!

With summer right around the corner, the weather is definitely starting to heat up!  Here in California, one of our favorite things to do in this nice weather is to go outside for a stroll, go on a bike ride at the beach, or even just hang out with our family in the backyard!  Fittingly for June, the month of Father’s Day, our fathers will always be one of our favorite people to spend quality time like this with.

With the holiday right around the corner, we’re going to share one of our favorite products that Dad can enjoy both on his leisurely days off, and at work!

Our Product of the Month, the Zojirushi Stainless Tumblers (SX-FSE45) has become one of our favorite desk top accessories, for not only its convenience during our morning commute to work, but for its variety of cool features that we’re sure not only you will love, but Dad will love too for Father’s Day.

Need some more reasons on why our Stainless Tumbler is named Product of the Month:

First is for its variety of colors for the whole family!

These tumblers come in four vibrant and sophisticated colors with a beautiful matte finish. We have one for each member of our family, each with a different color. This makes it easy to remember whose drink is who’s without mixing up our treats in the morning shuffle.

Second is, of course for its amazing temperature retention.

In addition to different colors, each of our family members enjoys a different morning beverage to start their day: hot coffee, tea, cold green juice, ice water, and so much more. Whether you love hot or cold drinks, this tumbler has that magical Zojirushi vacuum insulated technology to keep your beverage at the perfect drinking temperature for hours after pouring.

Like many of our favorite Tumblers and Bottles, this Stainless Tumbler is perfect to hold on-the-go!

We think it should be equally as important to keep your beverage at an ideal drinking temperature and be able to carry it without it being too hot or too cold.  These tumblers are made to be perfect to the touch as you carry it on the go! So, if you prepare to take some ice-cold water with you, this tumbler has you covered. It’s vacuum insulated, minimizing condensation. Even when filled with iced water, the outside doesn’t sweat. Dad won’t get in trouble with mom even if he forgets to use a coaster.  If warm beverages are more your thing, you’ll never have to worry about that too-hot-to-touch feeling ever again…even when filled with hot coffee, the outside stays cool, making it safe to carry!  Perfect temp on the inside, perfect temp for the touch. Totally a win-win situation in our books.

We can’t forget that this Stainless Tumbler also includes a removable stainless mesh strainer.

Especially for all our tea lovers out there, this tumbler also features a unique lid that comes with a removable stainless steel, mesh tea strainer for direct brewing and sipping straight from the tumbler—simply add tea leaves directly to the tumbler and pour water. After letting the tea steep, you drink from the tumbler and you can enjoy your beverage while the strainer holds back the tea leaves.  If you aren’t drinking tea, you can easily take the strainer out.  How versatile!

Beyond straining tea, the lid also serves a few other purposes: it’s spill-resistant and reinforces temperature retention.  But how, you might ask?

The lid helps block heat from escaping up, so the heat retention is much better compared to tumblers, mugs or cups without a lid. It’s also spill-proof so no need to worry about spilling and splashing while walking around.

So now that we’ve talked all about the Tumbler’s vacuum insulated technology and design, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.  Like all Zojirushi products, our Stainless Tumbler is no exception to being extremely easy to clean.

The exterior matte finish makes scratches and stains less visible, and minimizes odors and stains. The interior features a 7.5cm wide opening at the top of the container making it easy to use your hand to clean inside the tumbler. Additionally, the lid also fully disassembles so you can thoroughly wash the tumbler and reuse it with no issues.

And last, but definitely not least, our Stainless Tumbler is safe for the family, and the environment.

These tumblers allow us to enjoy our favorite drinks in a reusable manner with no waste – say goodbye to paper cups at work, so we can enjoy Mother Nature and not add to the pollution. And while being better for the environment, the stainless steel construction is paired with BPA-free plastic so it’s safe for the whole family.

Are you interested in learning more about our product of the month? Watch our full product demonstration video here:

And if you’re looking for inspiration on what to make in your tumbler, here are some of our favorite drink recipes for you to try next:

Cold Buster Smoothie

Oh So Soy Latte

Share more about adventures with your family, Father’s Day traditions, and your favorite beverages and traditions with us on social by tagging your photos with #Zojirushi on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! And if you’re interested in learning more about our tumblers for your next Father’s Day gift, be sure to check out our online retailers.