Japanese and American food: big differences

Starbucks in Japan

Here’s a picture of a meal I enjoyed with my family at a local Starbuck’s in Japan. I ordered my usual: iced soy latte and a cinnamon roll. I can get the same thing in Seattle or anywhere in the US, but there big differences in the quality/taste.

In the US, soy milk often has sugar or vanilla flavor added to it. A lot. So, when you drink soy milk in the US, it’s thick, syrupy and kind of nasty. The soy milk in Japan has only a little flavor, so it doesn’t overpower the coffee, and doesn’t feel heavy.

Likewise, the pastry was awesome. The cinnamon flavor was light and not over-powering, and wasn’t sickly sweet. It was also somewhat smaller than American-sized cinnamon-rolls which are HUGE. It was a light snack, not a meal, but it didn’t make me feel heavy after eating it.

Why can’t American be more like this???!!! Why do we put up with poor-quality food, and ridiculously over-sized portions? Why do we allow the American food industry feed us with more sugar, and cheap food?

(end rant)


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

9 thoughts on “Japanese and American food: big differences”

  1. I ask that all the time! The main problem in North America is that [too many] businesses care more about profit than the people they’re serving. On another note, I have recently started using unflavoured soy milk in my home made iced mochas and it’s much lighter and healthier. Also I’ve compared ingredients on different brands and So Good (or so not good) is the only one that contains “corn syrup solids” and doesn’t use “whole organic soy beans”. Which makes me wonder what kind of soy milk Starbucks is using… Anyway that’s my two cents on the subject!


    1. Amen sister.

      Actually I tend to think that corporations respond to consumer demand and as a society we’ve come to believe that bigger, fatter and sweeter is always better.

      Unless our tastes change in sufficient numbers, I doubt business will make drastic changes.

      Most Americans don’t realize how bad their diet is because that’s all they know. Another reason for Americans to get out more.


  2. Hiya, been enjoying all your blogs. Also, am very jealous that you’re in Japan … T.T wish I were there, too. Didn’t know that about the soy milk in Japan, but expected the size comment. I thought you were going to be sad it was so small! Glad the quality more than made up for the size; Starbucks is actually only doing what the American public wants, unfortunately. Most eateries here ‘brag’ about how big their portions are (cattle call???). I had forgotten what a regular mug of coffee looked like till I saw an old newsreel. Compared to our now ‘regular’ mug, the ones in the past were dainty! So, unless and until we ask for a change …..


    1. Hi Sachiko and welcome to the JKLLR.

      Yeah, I think you’re right: companies are giving into demand, and people seem to want the more expedient (bigger, sweeter, fattier), and not appreciating good food anymore.

      Having eaten abroad, I learned about my own eating habits too. I wish more people could do the same and realize what they’re missing.


    1. Hi horimasa,

      I think it depends on what is available locally. Soy milk in the US is often thick and syrupy. You can drink it by itself and it tastes pretty good, but it doesn’t work well with coffee I think. 🙂


  3. Re: American soy milk and coffee. I drink plain soy milk, so thought it would be okay in coffee. I mean, if I enjoy it straight up, why wouldn’t it, right? Well, surprise! It was pretty awful … Your comment that they use soy milk in Japan gave me pause, because of my experience.


    1. Hi Sachiko,

      Lately, I’ve noticed that coffee shops in Seattle (coffee capitol and proud of it), regularly use a different kind of soy milk that’s for coffee only. I think it’s more oil-based and blends better with coffee. You can get similar “soy creamer” brands in the stores too. I can honestly say they’re quite good, though still a little too sweet for me.


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