The wonders of MSG-laden Kewpie mayonnaise are a fairly recent discovery for a lot of chefs in North America, who have embraced its strangely adorable packaging and intense umami by putting it in everything from late-night mortadella sandwiches to softshell crab sliders to ranch dressing. But the undisputed king of mayo goes back almost a century in Japan, where, far from relenting, Kewpiemania is only ramping up. Today is officially National Mayonnaise Day in Japan, and in keeping with a recent tradition of mayo-based pop-ups, Kewpie is flexing its umami muscle and will be setting up shop in two separate storefronts to offer a mayo-centric menu. According to Kewpie’s website, “Kewpie Mayo Cafés” will be opening in Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya district[…]

There really is nothing simpler than meat and heat. Humans have been cooking animal parts over the open flame since prehistoric times, so why bother complicating things? East London restaurant Jidori would certainly agree. The meat skewer—and by default, the charcoal grill—makes up the bulk of their menu, as they attempt to bring the centuries-old Japanese cuisine of yakitori to the capital. Yakitori, chicken poked onto small wooden sticks and set over hot coals. Photo by the author. As co-owner Brett Redman—also of nearby raw bar The Richmond and Elliot’s Cafe at Borough Market—explains to me, traditional yakitori encompasses all parts of a chicken poked onto small wooden sticks and set over hot coals. So at Jidori, the bird features[…]