Japanese food lovers, this is where it all converges. The Japanese Consulate will be curating a first of its kind Japanese Food Festival in the city, and it promises to be a rare display of authentic Japanese tradition and culture. The festival will be held on November 11 at Chancery Pavilion from 11 am to 4 pm. A flurry of stalls, sake tasting and food demonstrations from the Land of the Rising Sun are what one can look forward to. The Consul General of France, Francois Gautier will address this day-long celebration as will the Consul-General of Japan Kitagawa Takayuki.
But, first, did you know that the art of Wagashi, Japanese sweet-making is of Indian origin? The only Wagashi maker in the country, Daya Sagari, an Indian, now offers it here at the Japanese Travel Café, Azuki Café on Richmond Road. She will be demonstrating her skills with her teacher at the festival. Among the rare dishes showcased will be “Tako-yaki (a piece of Octopus foot coated with mixture of shrimp and veg with flour shell. Wagashi (in traditional Japanese wa means Japanese style and dashi means sweet) that came from India in the seventh century with the spread of Buddhism, using red bean paste, will also be highlighted,” explains Consul-General of Japan, Kitagawa Takayuki, a food connoisseur himself. Mr Takayuki recalls weekends at the Sento (hot spa) in the suburb of Tokyo which always had a restaurant where he indulged in Anmitsu and Warabi-mochi with vanilla icecream!
Japanese cuisine today helms the epicurean diktat for food trends worldwide. And Japanese Chef from Matsuri's Chef Okano will be showing off his Tempura and Sashimi skills. The Consul-General Takayuki who hails from Gosen City in the Niigata prefecture, recalls its mountainous and coastal region with great fondness, and its delicacies too - raw shrimp, squid bowl, sashimi and sushi. Fresh sashimi and sushi will be made by Chef Okano. One can expect the venue to resemble the Tsukiji marketplace in Tokyo!
Consul-General Takayuki adds, “For sashimi, one needs to slice thinly or in appropriate thickness which is different for different fish species. Otherwise, the texture is lost.”
The tradition of sake will also take centrestage at the festival. Sake or rice wine, is a Japanese tradition and the Consul General recalls, “Our Prime Minister Abe came from Yamaguchi prefecture that has its own brand of sake called ‘Dassai’ which is very famous,” elaborating on the sake legacy, he adds, “The quality of sake depends on the quality of rice and water in the area. The Prime Minister gave this sake to President Obama, as well as Putin as a sign of friendship. Yet, sadly, sake is considered as an old man’s drink in Japan today, and not popular amongst youngsters. Now, sake makers are trying to make it popular with the youth. For instance, today there is sake sparkling which is like champagne.” The event will see the Consul-General of Japan highlight Japanese culture and food trends and another very interesting aspect is the fusion of cultures as a “Karnatakanised” Japanese will sing Kannada songs too. Mr Kuboki, who has lived in India for more than 24 years, will sing Kannada songs. This coming together of Japanese and Karnataka culture definitely isn’t something to miss.