Aji WOW: mr.kanso
Aji WOW is my series of unusual Japanese food/drink reviews. 'Aji' (味) means 'flavour', and the name's also a pun on 'ajiwau' (味わう) - 'to enjoy the taste of'.
This time: the many strange - and slightly unappetising - cans at mr.kanso.
The concept of mr.kanso is kind of odd. Something I imagine a lot of people expect from Japan. Considering how many branches of mr.kanso there are now, I don't think I'm too far off the mark there.
Every food on the 'menu' is in a can. On a shelf. Like this lovely Spam.
You pick out cans of things you want to eat, like doing a mini shop. Each one's got a colour-coded price sticker on. Take the cans to the till and pay. A nice person behind the counter then 'prepares' the food for you, mainly by heating the can up (if it needs it) and taking the lid off.
Sorry about the terrible photo quality. It felt a little rude to be taking pictures. The whole place screams 'novelty' but is otherwise quiet enough that you might mistake it for a library.
Some of the things on these shelves were downright bizarre. Slices of sea lion? Bits of wild boar in a can? An eel's unmentionables? Even I'm not quite that curious.
I settled for some pumpkin salad, chicken and tomato, mixed veggies, and a keema curry. Let it never be said that I don't have taste. (buds.)
It was pretty dark at the table, presumably because looking into each can makes you less inclined to eat from it. Wait, did I say table? I meant oil barrel. Yup, that's what they were.
The picture above is of my pumpkin salad. It looked suspiciously like baby food from that angle. Thankfully it wasn't. No, underneath the yellow goo was a disappointing amount of potato. That's what passes for the 'salad' in 'canned pumpkin salad'.
As the low-quality images attest, I was brave and ate most things. Note the destroyed pumpkin salad and the hints of cheese fondue. Even at a better resolution this would be a disgusting photo. I can only apologise.
The tomato-chicken was mostly bones - a real shame - and the keema curry was heavy on the cloves compared to your typical recipe. To the point that I started wondering if I'd read the side of the can wrong.
It seemed like an interesting night out, and I did leave feeling full.
The mr.kanso concept is one you'd show up for, but it isn't strong enough to lure me back. Not unless they change the can range and bring in things like lasagna...
Verdict: 5/10, the novelty disappears more quickly than a can of pumpkin salad ever could.