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Food & Beverage

Japan's 'yakitori' counts down to lift off for outer space

All systems go as canned grilled chicken receives JAXA certification

The canned space food will give Japanese a taste of home, albeit without the ambiance of a local yakitori restaurant.

SHIZUOKA, Japan -- Yakitori, Japan's popular charcoal-grilled chicken, is finding a new nest in outer space as the ubiquitous bar snack receives certification by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA.

It will not be lifting off on the usual wood skewers, though. Rather, it will be sent into orbit in cans prepared by Hotei Foods Corporation, which is set to launch the snack food next year.

Certified Japanese space food must have a shelf life of more than 18 months at room temperature. Importantly, it must not crumble or otherwise break apart in the weightlessness of outer space. The yakitori developed by the Shizuoka-based company fulfills both these requirements, giving astronauts a taste of home -- sadly, without the beer or sake.

The canned yakitori is being prepared especially for Japanese astronauts and is intended to add a bit of excitement to basically bland space fare.

Other foods of interest in the 36-dish Japanese-certified space menu include soy sauce-flavored mackerel, peach jelly and curry ramen noodles.

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