Japan’s latest culinary trend: canned food cantinas?

Japan’s latest culinary trend: canned food cantinas?

TOKYO —

Let me describe a scene for you: a crowd of Japanese are gathered around steel drums in a little shanty of a building open to the summer air. Some are drinking beers in plastic cups, others disposable one-cup sakes. Most are eating from unheated cans of food with plastic cutlery, chasing it with sips of their chosen brew. Around them are shelves of unfinished wood, stacked high with a stupendous assortment of cans, probably enough to last several months. Think this is a scene from a disaster shelter in Tohoku? Perhaps an end-of-the-world movie? Think again. It’s Saturday night at one of Osaka’s most unique “restaurants”, the long-standing and popular Kanso, where there’s no menu except the cans on the shelves. Try to contain your excitement, because this monument to apocalypse-chic may be coming to a city near you.

Restaurant and cafe design company Clean Brothers, owner and operator of Kanso, have begun franchising their operation around Japan under the name Mr Kanso. They’ve set a goal of opening 15 branches in east and west Japan in this fiscal year, including 6 new branches in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

The shops’ claim to fame, other than the bizarre concept, is their excellent selection of canned goods from around the world, about 300 varieties in total, from bear curry from Hokkaido to French salad in a can. They are even developing in-house brands. Inside the restaurant, the shelves are absolutely packed with cans in every shape, size and color, which actually lends the place a kind of modern, Warhol-esque atmosphere.

According to one of their customers, the fun is in browsing the cans and trying out new flavors. This style seems to appeal to people of all ages, which was one of the factors behind the decision to expand.

The original store was opened in Osaka in 2002. Using the experience gained in their management of that store, Clean Brothers began selling franchises on the occasion of their tenth anniversary. Currently there are 17 branches, 14 of which are franchises. And it seems that the number of interested potential franchisees is growing. Since there is no kitchen to set up and run, the starting and operating costs are very low for this kind of business. Just 3 million yen will get you up and running, which is about a third of the usual cost to open a restaurant. The fact that skilled staff are not needed is also appealing, according to the company.

Well, they must be on to something, because the franchise side of the business seems to be exploding, but this writer think she’ll save the culinary experience of cold canned food for the next natural disaster. Perhaps I’m too much of a traditionalist, though. Does the concept appeal to any readers out there?

Source: Sankei Biz

RocketNews24

  • 0

    ohayo206

    Me likey preservatives and high sodium. Numbs the taste buds.

  • 1

    KariHaruka

    Could I get roast pork with all the trimming? Or what about fish & chips?

  • -2

    smithinjapan

    Most of this stuff is incredibly unhealthy to begin with, but unheated makes some of it even moreso. Hope they've got dog and cat food on the menu, because that's the equivalent of what a lot of it is if it contains 'meat'. Anyway, interesting concept, to an extent, if you're just passing by and have a bit of time to kill and a hankering for some Holiday Luncheon Meat, but I can't see myself asking my better half for a night out on the down and dinner Kanso.

  • -3

    tideofiron

    Wow, Jessica! Let me congratulate you on your unique "wacky Japan" narrative. Such an interesting and new take on reporting about Japan! Next, please tell us all about some crazy onsens and green tea!! I can't wait!!1

  • 0

    cleo

    No, does not appeal at all.

  • 1

    TokyoGas

    This does not like sound very tasty. I guess if I want to try it for myself, I could open a can of chickpeas or some sardines with crackers...

  • -2

    bass4funk

    Yum, yum, nothing tastes better than spam and hash, processed foods are the best, love the high sodium content!!! Seriously, this is gross, what's happening in this country? Japan is renowned for a healthy lifestyle and healthy cooking. Seems like that culture is eroding quickly. Nothing beats a home cooked meal. Natural ingredients, fresh fruit and veggies. Now Japan is slowly becoming a fix it quick, nuke it society, wonder what the population will look like in another 40 years at this rate.

  • 0

    Maria

    Ah me...This takes me back to lazy student life, back when sodium and preservatives were irrelevant, and my digestive system and blood sugar levels could withstand the highest levels of abuse (and crap).

    Heinz ravioli in tomato sauce eaten with a fork straight from the can, followed by Ambrosia creamed rice pudding (switch to a spoon for this one!), sometimes after pouring extra cream in first...

    Canned food was a most wonderful invention in harder times, and don't you all forget it - it introduced a whole new world of food to people who otherwise had precious few culinary choices.

  • 1

    oberst

    Do they have MRE ?

  • 1

    Tezbo

    Oberst, I liked the C rations better.. LOL

  • 0

    Farmboy

    It would be fun to design canned goods with such an appreciative audience in mind... interesting animal shapes... 1920s labels... but I'll leave the eating to others, I think.

  • 0

    Loki520

    C-Rats were much better!

  • 0

    ojiiu812badboy

    There goes the population explosion...long live sensible eaters

  • 0

    samboraki

    will they have spaggetty O's ?

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