Japanese Fast Food

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Fast food is not an American invention. And our friends on the other side of the Pacific Ocean may not even boast the dubious title of the biggest junk food producer. The Chinese and Japanese are way ahead!

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Italian “invented” slow food, but as far as as fast food is concerned, the French may claim to be the initiators when Napoleon ordered the production of the first-ever canned food in 1810!


Japan, as demonstrated in other firleds, is a living contradiction. Here you have nation which prides itself, deservedly, in creating arguably some of the best gastronomy in the World. On the other hand, it has become a paradise for junk food packet collectors!
Some establishments go as far as advertising their food as “junk food” (see pic above taken in Shizuoka City)!
An interesting twist is that the Japanese make a point of advertising their “fast food” as “instant food”!


Americans have the hamburger, which incidentally could make for a properly balanced meal if fries (don’t call them French, they are Belgian!) and soda drinks (no names here as someone might sue me!) were not adding as many calories (empty) on top of the most popular meat contraption (no names, either!) in The US and the World.
Ramen is the exact replica in Japan when it comes to unwanted salt, empty calories and what else when served at cheap food stands, or dehydrated in “convenience stores” and supermarkets.
Do not misunderstand me: ramen can make for a great meal too with the correct addition of fresh greens, fresh meat or fish!


But more dangerous, because they are the epitome of practicality, are the notorious “Cup Noodles” whose concept has been adopted under many guises all over the World, even on planes!
Next time you order or buy one cup for a quick fix, ponder a while on the amount of salt, preservatives, additives and more that you are going to inject into your system!

N.B.: Whereas I’m careful about citing American brand names, “Cup Noodles”, although a brand name, is considered as a variety of food, not a particular brand.
That is unless someone somewhere begs to differ!

10 thoughts on “Japanese Fast Food”

  1. Robert-Gilles,

    I think I now prefer the phrase “Instant Food” to “Fast Food.”

    In college, I think learning how to properly prepare Ramen noodles is part of Freshman Living 101 🙂 I have fond memories of the taste—usually ate the noodles and “broth” separately. Since then, I have tried the Chinese and Japanese counterparts, which I do enjoy for a quick lunch fix.

    Thanks for this informative post!


  2. I was very happy to visit my son and find he had very few (3) junk foods in his cabinet, and said they had been there since his girlfriend and him broke up, so I took liberty and threw them out, HA…I wish parents would bring them up like I did, only fresh cooked meals…together…and they will return to this, even if they do find a ‘binge’ food in college…

    Keep up the education…you know I love it…yours, Chef E (aka: food geek)


  3. We can coin a new phrase. Whenever one of your friends comes up with what they believe to be a new idea; you can just tell them, “Don’t worry the Chinese have already come up with that.” There are so darn many of them and they have been “civilized” for so long you’ll probably be right.

    I spent my college starvation years living on 16 bean soup. Ingredients prepackaged 16 bean soup with flavor pack, carrot and chopped bacon. It cost less then a dollar and lasts a month. I don’t know how I missed out on the ramen noodle thing, but I used to watch in horror as a friend would cook ramen noodles then add a slice of processed cheese and a can of tuna. He thought it was the best thing. I thought, “How can you eat that?”

    Still if we’re talking junk food I don’t think you can beat the Big Ma_ (in deference to our host I will not use the actual dirty word.) White bread, fried ground beef pattie, thousand island salad dressing sauce (mostly sugar) iceberg lettuce and nasty not vine ripened tomato slice. Who in the world thought that was a good idea.

    I will admit to a certain arrogance here. When I was in the second grade (age 7) they took us to a different room and a black lady told us about the “food pyramid” and she said that condiments were not food and that they were mostly sugar and bad for you. I made up my mind right there and then to stop using them. A resolution I’ve only recently un-resolved. I now eat mustard, catchup, some salad dressings and some bar-b-q sauces. Not mayonnaise or mayonnaise based things blick 😦 that’s nasty mess. As a consequence most fast foods have been cut out of my life and that has greatly shaped my food sense.


  4. Excellent, informative post! Like many, I have a tendency to categorize ‘junk food’ as a purely American concoction when in fact, it’s labeled as such because American food companies have been so successful at placing their products in nearly every corner of the globe! Junk food exists where there’s a demand for quick, ‘instant’ meals and the only way to satisfy it is to offer highly processed, packaged meals such as noodle cups. In addition to salt and preservatives, the amount of calories in one cup or brick of ramen noodles is terrifying! Still, I became quite adept at ‘dressing’ up ramen noodles – it was our staple dinner when my husband and I were first married and he was a graduate student and I, a lowly library clerk.


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