About a month ago we notcied something…our favorite zero-calorie soda was disappearing. Pepsi Nex (basically the equivalent to Pepsi Max in the U.S.) was getting harder and harder to find in grocery stores, convenience stores, and vending machines. Concern emerged that Pepsi had just decided to pull out of the zero calorie soda market in Japan, which would not have been uncommon. If you have been reading our posts for a while, then you know that things change quickly here. What is readily available today could be gone completely tommorow; whether it be due to seasonality, limited editions, or changing trends/demand.
In this case, Suntory (the distributer of Pepsi in Japan) decided to go bigger/bolder. On June 16, Pepsi Strong and Pepsi Strong Zero were launched. The goal, according to the company’s press release was to make a beverage that “provides refreshment and relieves stress during a busy day of work”. It supposedly accomplishes this through stronger carbonation and a stronger dose of caffeine in every bottle.
Now, how even more caffeine is supposed to help “relieve stress” is a little confusing to me. But, it tasted good (not sure I could tell the difference to Pepsi Nex or Pepsi Max in a blind taste test) and I would buy it again the next time I am looking for a calorie-free cola.
Today’s quest was to find and try the “best hot dog in Tokyo”. According to the internet (which has to be right because otherwise they couldn’t put it on the internet), that coveted ‘dog’ is at a place called Tokyo Dog.
Step #1 = find Tokyo Dog. Tokyo Dog is located in Tokyo Station; but, in the ‘paid area’ of the station; which means you have to be inside the turnstiles (more on this ‘a little later’). Once you are in the Tokyo Station, go to the North Court (a food court-type area) and you can’t miss it.
A Little Later = if you enter at Tokyo Station you are left with two options after getting your hot dog. You can either get on a train and go somewhere else or you can go to the service desk and try to explain (in English) that you came all the way to Tokyo Station just to have a hot dog in hopes that they will override the alarm and flashing red lights in order to let you back out. Don’t ask me how I know…I just do.
Step #2 = pick your hot dog of choice. There is roughly a dozen different ‘dogs’ available for puchase in three separate categories; traditional (like marinara and cheese), deli (like shrimp salad), and sweet (like strawberry with whipped cream). I went with their ‘signature’ dog, which comes with wasabi and butter.
Step #3 = enjoy the hot dog. While I am not sure if it is the “best hot dog in Tokyo”, it was right up there with (and maybe slightly better than) the others I’ve tried. The dog itself had a snappy casing and good sausage-y flavor. The bun was fresh and the wasabi addition gave it a nice spicy kick. All in all…a good dog and I would stop by for one again if I happen to be hungry and in the Tokyo Station.
Here is another one…hamburg steak.
It is not a typo, it is “hamburg steak” not “hamburger steak”; although the taste is very similar. Essentially, this is ground beef with some ketchup-y like sauce.
Simple, tasty, and satisfying. Bascially, it was ‘serviceable’…would have been better with a little more sauce and a dash of mustard.
Next up is another flavor of those very convenient uncrustables-like sandwiches…pork bbq.
After doing a little bit of research, evidently this is part of a series that features the regional cuisines of different prefectures around Japan. Also, there is a shop in Akihabra that specializes in these sandwiches. So, a visit there has defintely been added to the ‘to do’ list.
YOWZA! I really don’t know how else to desribe these.
While these are tortilla chips at heart, there is nothing Mexican about them. The flavor…is…well…YOWZA! They are very well described graphically by the samarai on the package. These things are STRONG. A snacking slap in the face of wasabi and soy. You would be hard pressed to sit down and plough through a bag without a tear or two.
You gotta be ready for these…if not, they will make you wish you did.
A popular snack offering at convenience stores all over Japan are uncrastable-style sandwiches. For those of you unfamiliar with the reference, they are basically two pieces of crustless white bread, stuffed with ‘something’ and then sealed around the edges.
Consistent with the snack culture here, they come in a seemingly neverending variety of flavors; some constant staples and some seasonal/limited time. So, you can probably expect to see more posts about these.
This week a flavor showed up that we had not seen before…cantaloupe cream. The best way to describe it is a very smooth cantaloupe jelly with a soft cream sauce. Now, you can eat these straight out of the package or you can toast them up, which is my personal preference.
While maybe not at the top of the favorites list (more on that in a later post for sure), it was not bad at all; quite nice along side coffee for breakfast.