Philippines burger joint "Brick Burgers" uses Lego-shaped buns

Brick Burger in Pasig, Philippines sells hamburgers on buns molded to look like giant (non-interlocking) (alas) 2X2 Lego bricks, in multiple colors. Read the rest

Dangerous farm equipment used to make corn meal

My favorite part of this video is the hand-cranked machine that strips dried kernels of corn from the cob, then grabs the denuded cob and deposits it out of the hopper (hopefully later to be turned into corncob pipes [I had a friend in college who smoked pot in a corncob pipe.]). After that the kernels are ground into meal with a gas=powered mill that has pulleys and a belt that are just begging for a person to get their finger close enough to bite off. Read the rest

Charming short film on creating the perfect bowl of ramen

Many Westerners equate ramen noodles with the cheap dried stuff that poor students and young adults eat, but Criterion Collection is doing their part to change that. They put together this wonderful documentary to support the 4K restoration of "ramen Western" Tampopo, one of the greatest food films ever made. Read the rest

The history of eating bugs in Japan (with recipes)

Over at the Japanese culture website Tofugu (where my wife Carla is on staff), there's a great article by Kanae Nakamine on Japanese bug eating traditions, complete with tasty recipes like bee larva omelets, baby ant minestrone, and rice grasshopper granola bars. There are also vending machines in Japan that sell edible bugs.

If you’re too lazy to hunt for bugs and cook them, don’t worry! There are other options. Japan is a land of convenience, and this extends to their tasty, tasty insects.

You can buy edible bugs anytime 24/7. In Tokyo’s Inokashira park, there’s a vending machine with two kinds of bugs that come in cans: Rice Grasshopper Kanroni and Hanakuyouniis Brand Bee Larvae. Both of these products are kinds of tsukudani, which is the traditional way of cooking with soy sauce, sugar, and sake. Kanroni is similar to tsukudani, but has more sugar and tastes sweeter. Hanakuyouni is a certain brand of tsukudani food in Japan. It uses its original recipe to stew the bee larvae for this product. So next time you’re going for a jog in this Tokyo park, swing your sweaty self over to this vending machine and start guzzling bee larvae. Nothing prepares you for long distance running better than a belly full of insect babies!

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Bake: a pixel-art Mario pie for National Pie Day

Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous) writes, "It is National Pie Day in America tomorrow (not to be confused with "International Pi Day" - the cooler big cousin of pie holidays on March 14th...) In honour of this occasion I've posted a new tutorial video that is very attainable for any novice pie-geeks out there thinking about whipping something up nifty. It features our favourite 8 bit plumber hero, with a special guest appearance at the end." Read the rest

Good deal on the FryDaddy electric deep fryer

I paid $22 for my FryDaddy electric deep fryer, but it's on sale on Amazon for $17 (free Prime shipping) right now. This thing is awesome -- I use it a couple of times a week to fry sweet potato, butternut squash, and Brussels sprouts chips. (Here's the coconut oil I use with it.)

Lately I've been frying very thinly cut slices of butternut squash. It's a bit tricky, because for five minutes it doesn't look like anything is happening, then suddenly the slices begin to brown, and about a minute later, they start to burn. There's a 30-second window where they are perfectly browned and on the edge of being crispy and chewy. With a little salt, they are one of the tastiest things I've ever eaten. I'll shoot a video soon.

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Glowing, UV-reactive Tron pie

Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin, storied nerd piemaker, created this fluorescing Tron pie, doped with tonic water for extra UV-reacting goodness. Read the rest

A sushi comic from the sick, twisted, and food-obsessed mind of Anthony Bourdain

Like Sushi? Like hyper violent yakuza movies? Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi is a comic that could only have come from the sick, twisted, and food-obsessed mind of Anthony Bourdain. And I’m pretty sure he’d take the whole sick and twisted mind thing as the compliment it was intended to be. The latest book, Blood and Sushi is a prequel to 2013’s Get Jiro!, this time we learn the backstory of how Jiro went from Yakuza enforcer to renowned LA sushi chef.

By day, Jiro helps run his father’s crime empire along with his maniacal half-brother, but by night Jiro trains to become a master sushi chef. His two sides are on a collision course that plays out across Japan and leaves a bloody wake. The artwork is incredible. Each frame balances the futuristic Japan, the beauty of the cuisine, and the grizzly katana-induced carnage.

This comic is full bore, unhinged, Bourdain madness. If you’re familiar with his travel shows, then you’ve probably gotten a taste of his dark humor, disdain for vegetarians, and obscure cinematic references — but the Jiro series takes it to a new level. It’s violent. It’s weird. I can’t get enough.

Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose Vertigo 2015, 160 pages, 7 x 0.5 x 10.5 inches, Hardcover $15 Buy one on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

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Sea eel population dropped 90% in 30 years

In Japan, people eat more than one hundred thousand tons of eel per year. In the last 30 years, overfishing has caused the wild eel population to decline by 90 percent.

From The New Yorker:

At Tsukiji, wholesale prices for farm-raised unagi imported from China immediately surged to a record high of around forty U.S. dollars per kilogram, and remained there for much of 2013. Prices for the wild-caught, “natural Japanese” eels served at upscale restaurants like Nodaiwa climbed even higher, by as much as fifty or sixty per cent.

But the government had been late to recognize the extent of the problem, which had already taken a toll on many famous restaurants specializing in kabayaki, a signature unagi preparation. In March, 2012, a year before the species was declared endangered, the beloved unagi restaurant Suekawa closed its doors, after sixty-five years of business, and it was followed a month later by the popular restaurant Yoshikawa.

Image by Kossy@FINEDAYS from Akabane, Tokyo - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, Link Read the rest

Watch these candymakers create adorable candies with a pig design

Candylabs is a Montreal shop that makes amazing handmade candies. They share their secrets to making adorable cylindrical cherry candies with a pig design. The process might keep you guessing until the end as to how they end up with such intricate designs on such tiny candies. Watch and learn!

Their charming origin story from their site:

CandyLabs is a brand new handcrafted candy shop in Montreal that emerged in 2014. A young couple, obsessed with the creation of flavorful candies, makes all of their unique and quality sweets in store. The concept was born in England. There, generations of candy makers prepared caramels and other hard candy in front of a delighted audience. It was in Australia that the young people learned the traditional techniques of candy making under the supervision of a confectioner. It is finally in Montreal, Canada where the couple realized their fantastic childhood dream by opening a candy shop of their own.

Bonus: same thing but with pandas inside a bamboo design:

How to Make Handmade Candy With Pig Design (YouTube / Stereokroma) Read the rest

Making pasta

I don't know what kind of pasta this is. I looked at this one page "encyclopedia of pasta" and still couldn't identify it. In any case, it looks like fun! Read the rest

Plastic rice nightmare in Nigeria

Fake plastic rice—totally convincing by sight, but potentially lethal to eat—has gone from urban legend to horrifying controversy in Nigeria, where a shipment of the stuff was intercepted and is undergoing tests. Is it plastic, or just really weird rice? Somehow everything's gotten murky and confusing.

Nigeria's food safety agency has denied claims by the health minister that it has cleared the reported "plastic" rice.

A senior official at the National Agency For Food and Drugs (Nafdac) said the minister's Twitter statement "is not their position".

Health Minister Isaac Adewole had tweeted that tests by the agency found "no evidence" of plastic material ... [but Latgos Customs Chief] Mr Mamudu had said the rice was very sticky after it was boiled and "only God knows what would have happened" if people ate it.

The BBC's Martin Patience in Lagos, who felt the rice, said it looked real but had a faint chemical odour.

Two and a half tons of "Best Tomato Rice" were seized and it's not clear if any has reached markets and stores. Tests should be complete in a few days.

"Whoever made it did a remarkable job," says the BBC's Martin Patience. "It feels like rice, the texture is amazing, but when you smell it, there's something not quite right."

I wonder if this is a symptom of the way commodities trading works. No-one doing the buying and selling ever gets near the goods, making the supply chain vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attackers adjacent to the source.

Commodities, Tealeaf!

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Bake: Nutella-filled Boba Fett pie pops

Nerdy piesmith Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin celebrates Xmas in style with these Nutella-filled Boba Fett pie-pops, and explains how to make your own. Read the rest

Father/son gingerbread Apple ][+

Nathan writes, "My son and I decided gingerbread houses were boring, so we built a gingerbread Apple II computer instead, including the interior with power supply, motherboard, and an expansion card." Read the rest

The food in "Final Fantasy XV" looks amazing

Whitney Reynolds of Eater interviewed the director of FinalFantasy XV to find out why the food in the game looks so mouth-wateringly delicious.

"Recipes were just one element of the camping scenes, but the catalyst for our obsession was the high quality of the food graphics that the camp team was able to create in the pre-production phase," [Final Fantasy XV director Hajime] Tabata says. "In Japan, we have a term called 'meshi-tero' (an abbreviation of the Japanese-English combo phrase 'Meshi (food) Terror' and similar to the English term 'food porn'), but that pretty much summed it up. We have to create truly delicious-looking food scenes similar to those that appear in movies and anime."

One of the Prince's guards, Ignis, also serves as the chef of your party, and he can learn 103 different recipes to cook up for his friends at the camp site. He can be inspired by everything from finding a new kind of mushroom in the woods to taking down a giant frog that has an interesting cut of meat to reading a bit of poem on a sign. Even more dishes can be consumed at restaurants in other countries and cities that the party visits on their voyage. Eat an expensive seafood risotto at a bistro and it will fill Ignis with the inspiration to create a homemade version, with fish you catch yourself and ingredients you forage. Every dish is painstakingly, realistically rendered, and you, the poor player, only get to look, not taste.

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This sleeping 'rice bear' with an 'egg blanket' is almost too cute to eat (but yes we'd eat it)

Presentation is usually the last thing on my mind when I’m making dinner, but if I had more patience, this rice bear would make for an adorable dinner companion. Read the rest

Graphic designer creates impeccably decorated sugar cookies

Los Angeles-based graphic designer Holly Fox combines her love of baking and design with these amazing iced sugar cookies.

You can see more of her designs on Instagram and even order some cookies for yourself on Etsy—although, unfortunately, Fox is already sold out through 2016. Here are some of my favorite designs:

mini monday

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Dec 12, 2016 at 5:46pm PST

ringPOP

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Dec 10, 2016 at 5:07pm PST

pastel ponies {🦄}

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 30, 2016 at 5:50pm PST

cone collection

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 26, 2016 at 4:17pm PST

🍪

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 22, 2016 at 5:43pm PST

holiday ready

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 23, 2016 at 6:33pm PST

{feather flashback}

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 18, 2016 at 5:28pm PST

purple pattern

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 12, 2016 at 5:18pm PST

🍋💛✨

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 1, 2016 at 5:47pm PDT

juicy

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Sep 25, 2016 at 5:43pm PDT

[color closeup]

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Aug 10, 2016 at 5:50pm PDT

pink lagoon

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Jul 12, 2016 at 5:46pm PDT

paint party

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on May 3, 2016 at 5:35pm PDT

[via Bored Panda] Read the rest

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