American food industry could benefit from Japanese example

YOU’VE GOT A craving for coffee, so you go to Starbucks for a Venti Caramel Frappuccino. It’s 24 ounces of sugar and caffeine, for a total of 530 calories — one third to one fourth of the daily recommended caloric intake for the average college student.

Last semester I lived in Japan, and yes, Starbucks is just as ubiquitous there as it is here in America.

The items offered there are also virtually identical to those in America. I can also attest that they taste exactly the same. But there is one significant difference.

The Japanese Starbucks offers “Short� size for everything n the menu. That means you can have your Caramel Frappuccino and only consume 175 calories.

It should be pointed out that American Starbucks do offer the eight ounce “Short� size, but it is not listed on the menu and must be asked for, and it’s only for hot drinks.

The food in Japan is very tiny and very expensive. One liter of milk, which is almost a quart, it’s the same price as a gallon in America.

You can just forget about buying a gallon in Japan — the liter is as big as it gets. That goes not just for milk, but for orange juice and sodas as well.

In Japan, there is no take-out box if you can’t finish what you ordered at a restaurant, because you would finish it, and would probably still be hungry. When I was there, I finished everything, and I was hungry all the time. But the food was delicious, very delicious; the only difference was the lack of Claim Jumper-sized portions.

There’s more to it than the food being smaller, there were also some items unique to Japan. At McDonald’s, there were shrimp nuggets, shrimp burgers and teriyaki burgers, and none of those are available in America.

But they were all very tasty.

They had apple pies, but they also had mango pies, and the shakes were just a little bigger than a yogurt cup. But in America, you can get as big as 32 ounces of strawberry, chocolate or vanilla goodness.

Despite all the tiny food in Japan, there is a chance for redemption. There is an entire industry of bakeries that will allow you to eat all the cake you want for one set price.

After I went there, I didn’t want any more cake for months.

American restaurants should borrow some of these culinary ideas from Japan. Smaller portion sizes were one of the things I liked best. I never felt guilty about eating too much. The slight differences at places like McDonald’s made it almost exciting to go there, because I knew that the really good items weren’t available at home. The smaller portions were a bit of a shock, but it was definitely healthier.

The smaller sizes offered in foreign countries should also be made available here. I asked for the “short� size at the Starbucks across from the Save Mart Center, and all I got was “No, we don’t have that.�

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