(From the forum - a sign of the times?)
I recently learned that there's a new food fad in Japan called "Neko-manma", which consists of rice mixed and matched with various toppings.
"Neko-manma", which literally translates into kitty food, refers to leftovers like rice mixed with miso soup or whatever was from the night before. It was probably named because people in the old days would give that to pets.
But the present-day neko-manma completely shatters preconceived notions. Some of these topping combos are unexpected, like potato chips and mayo (boy do Japanese people love mayonnaise!), others are not that out of the blue, for example, oden and the soup from it poured onto the rice, or natto and okra and egg. Books dedicated to neko-manma (the one I just saw was http://news.walkerplus.com/2009/0223/3/photo16.html) are popping up and selling like hotcakes because they are very cheap (you don't need many ingredients, and you can use leftovers too...the link above's main catchphrase is "One Meal for 30yen"), easy to make at home (you just need to pour everything on top of a bowl of rice, and you don't really need to cook much), and easy to clean and eco-friendly too (you only need one rice bowl).
Anyway, I have been sort of practicing neko-manma since I was a kid myself. (I'm a Japanese born and raised in Southern California where there is a wide selection in Japanese markets) so I decided to jump in on the fad and try it again...it was awesome: shirasu (tiny baby sardines) with butter and soy sauce on rice. http://umaimon.tumblr.com/post/120248903/shirasu-and-butter-on-rice-with...
Please write if you've heard of this before, if you're willing to try it out, or if you also have your own neko-manma story to share! I'm excited to hear back.
-Alissa (from http://umaimon.tumblr.com)
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