Everyone knows that Japan is full of weird and wonderful paraphernalia, from souvenirs to animation goods. But, you can find the majority of all sorts of wonder at the 100 Yen shop. With three of the big players being Daiso, Seria, and CanDo, you are sure to find one close to you, or on your travels in Japan. Let’s explore some of their amazing kitchen options!
Did you ever accidentally squish a banana in the bottom of your bag, all over important documents and electronics? Probably not, if you have at least two brain cells. Who brings bananas in their bag anyways? But, you should! They are healthy, delicious, and chalk full of potassium! Thankfully, smashing banana worries are no longer relevant in your life, because of the wonderful banana keeper! You can get them at most 100 Yen shops, or go premium, and buy the brand name version. It will cost you more than 100 Yen though.
Well, this may be Chinese in origin, but the dumpling maker is amazingly popular. You can get one at most 100 yen shops, to make the most of your cheap cooking life.
To use this magical culinary device is simple, buy the pre-made skins at the supermarket, add your desired filling, and squeeze that stuff together using the dumpling maker! Although it is unorthodox, I prefer to make a whole bunch of dumplings with good, amazing, and bizarre fillings, every time I have people over. For a fun party trick, make regular dumplings, super spicy dumplings, dessert dumplings, and wasabi only dumplings. If your friend gets the wasabi only dumpling, they may de-friend you, but at least you will get a good laugh.
There are a ton of filling recipes online, with popular ones being ground meat, mixed with spices and spring onions. Live a little! Have a dumpling party!
Seriously, who would buy this? That is what I said to myself. Then, I bought one. Jab this thing into your preferred citrus, twist, and squeeze it like you’re mad at it! No mess. No knives. No stinging in any random finger cuts. This thing rocks harder than Buck Tick, and they rock pretty hard. (Japanese hardcore rockers). The easy storage and no mess wash up is what I love best. They come in a variety of shapes and colors, so pick your favourite and get to squeezing!
Although you may never use it in your life, it is great to have on hand in your kitchen, just to look cool and just in case someone gifts you a very large scaly fish. This is entirely possible in Japan, we do love our sea creatures after all. Gifts of fish go way back in history as a sign of thanks and appreciation! Slide the fish scaler against the scales of this fish, and watch the glorious scales fly away. So pretty they are, when they fly away. And how cool does this gadget look in your drawer? Send a few home to your family, just for spares!
I know, everyone has a knife in the drawer, or a fingernail on their hand. Why waste 100 yen on a tiny, thing-specific gadget? Well, number one, knives are dangerous, and number two, no one likes a nasty orange nail after peeling citrus goodies. Just slip this on your finger like a ring, run it around a citrus fruit, and dig the peel off easily with a spoon, butter knife, or your fingers. Voila! Perfect for keeping at work, for when a grapefruit craving strikes.
Whenever you think Japanese cuisine, you think – Sushi. Make your life a little easier with a sushi mold and mat! They are easy to use, for the mold, put in a layer of seaweed, add your rice and filling, press down on the top sealing the roll with the remaining seaweed! For the mat, place a piece of seaweed on the mat, add sticky rice, add in your filling, and roll away.
For something so cheap and lightweight, these make an awesome present for the folks at home, or something to just make you look cultured and worldly. You can shell out more for a premium, handcrafted sushi mat, or a fancy wooden mold if you like. But, before you do, you should really ask yourself – how often am I going to make sushi? See, the 100 Yen versions keeps the option open, but you won’t feel guilty if you use it only once a year.
If you have ever seen an animation showing a kid with a homemade lunch with cute shapes, or been to a fancy restaurant and wondered how the carrots and such are cut into pretty flower shapes, the answer is food art. Chefs are trained to cut veggies and fruits into beautiful shapes, such as cherry blossoms and geometric patterns. Thankfully, you don’t need to be a master, or practice going through hours of Youtube videos to achieve the same thing in your kitchen. 100 Yen shop veggie cutters can be used to make all sorts of cute and fun shapes, you can even use them as mini cookie cutters, or with any other food you want to make look cute. They are usually made of aluminum or stainless steel, so hand wash, and hand dry!
Leek knives rock. The usually come with seven blades, as opposed to one, saving a ton of time when slicing finer things, like leeks, spring onions, and flat leafy veggies. The quickest way to shred, without the worry of turning your fingertips into dumpling filling. These knives come usually come with a cover, to protect your fingers when digging through the junk drawer, and are easy to wash by running under water. You can also use them for a variety of decorating techniques, adding lines to and diamond shapes to firmer foods like tofu, decorating mushrooms, or adding lines to pastries. Although they are mainly for leeks, I often use mine to do up carrots, cabbage, and Japanese radish for salads. Who doesn’t love a time saver that looks cool in your kitchen?
So, If you find yourself in the land of the rising sun, pick up a few of these and have fun. After all, if you buy all 8, you will be only out around 800 Yen plus tax. You may find something new that you love, or get some crazy amazing bring-me-backs. If you find any other crazy inventions, mention them in the comments! I am always looking for something to add to my overstocked kitchen!