Monday, December 10, 2007

Japanese Cheese

The Japanese don't appreciate cheese the same way Westerners do. At least, that's what I gather from shopping at local supermarkets here. In the States you can go to a your local Ralphs and find an entire display island of assorted cheeses with various sizes, colors, and flavors, but here, my "cheese section" consists of a couple different brands of maybe two or three cheese flavors, which are all pretty much the same flavor anyway: processed.

OK, none of this is really surprising. If you're at all familiar with Japanese cuisine, you should know that cheese isn't a big part of it (though glatin is pretty popular here). The real reason I'm posting is just to share this:

This bright red box caught my eye as I walked by the cheese and butter section. Closer inspection revealed a picture of pre-sliced cheese with a curious pink middle layer in every slice, and the word "ham" prominently displayed. Ham and cheese, together, in one stack of cheese-like slices, for the ham-and-cheese fan on the go. Of course, I added it to my basket.

All right, so it wasn't real ham. The box actually says "ham-flavored cheese" which may or may not be less strange. I still find the box interesting. Let's take a closer look:

Here you can see the distinct pink and white stripes labeled "ham flavored cheese in the center" and "60% gouda on the outside." Apparently being 60% real cheese is a selling point. What I really like, though, is the picture they have in the lower left corner. The ideal way to eat ham flavored cheese, apparently, is on a plate with some slices of real ham, some lettuce and olives, and a tall glass of beer.

Anyway, I'm just having some fun because I found something I'd never seen before. I know this isn't any more strange that some things we have in the States. It's certainly not as weird as our Jimmy Dean Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick.


Greg Katz said...

It's like even easier Lunchables.

Mind = Blown

Mom said...

This must be really frustrating to the French. They have some of the best cheeses in the world. I heard that they had 365 varieties, one for each day of the year.

jeffisdancing said...

Actually, speaking of French cheese, Camembert is pretty common in the stores here. They're not imported, but it's probably the most authentic cheese at my supermarket.

amanda moore said...

Kind of sounds like it's up the same alley as Spam.


Sean said...

I noticed the Cheese Blog is way more popular than the Kanmanji Temple entry. Now you know what we really value.

Forget about all that cultural enrichment and just bring the cheese! Or is it ham? Very captivating!