10 Japanese Delights to Try at Food Japan 2018 Singapore
Like most ‘foodies,’ my favourite hobby is eating. Japanese food is my greatest culinary Achilles’ heel so I was in gastronomical heaven when I had the chance to visit Food Japan. For the seventh consecutive year, Food Japan 2018, ASEAN’s largest dedicated showcase on Japanese food and beverage, is held in Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre. The convention is open exclusively to trade visitors on 25-26 October and general admission for public on 27 October (at $4 per person; free admission for children 12 years and below).
Somehow I have never managed to visit Food Japan in the last few years so I was happy to have the chance to explore the amazing of display pf Japanese produce, ingredients and anything Japanese at the fair! Japanese cuisine has a healthy following of international fans including the Great Anthony Bourdain who declared in a 2017 interview with Maxim, “If I had to agree to live in one country, or even one city, for the rest of my life, never leaving it, I'd pick Tokyo in a second.” Not just Tokyo, all the 47 prefectures in Japan offer such a mind-blowing variety of food that it is impossible to savour or even describe all.
After wandering through the maze of food at the fair, I tried as much as I could and had very interesting conversations with representatives from different prefectures. Here’s the list of top 10 Japanese food from the fair which may titillate your taste buds!
1. Umi Budo
I am so thrilled to be reunited with umi budo that helped to satisfy my Okinawa’s food cravings. Umi means ocean and budo means grapes in Japanese. These adorable sea grapes are also known as ‘green caviar’. This Okinawan delicacy is so juicy and tasty for a simple seaweed. The little bubbles burst delightfully in the mouth and this appetising sensation is called ‘puchi puchi’ in Japanese. Just dip the sea grapes into soy sauce to enhance that ‘puchi puchi’ pleasure!
2. Himi Udon
A self-proclaimed noodles addict, I love my Japanese ramen, udon, somen and any kind of ‘men.’ I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Toyama’s udon is highly ranked together with Sanuki udon and Inaniwa udon. Himi udon is thinner than Sanuki udon and the smooth and chewy texture is very refreshing with the tangy sauce. The lady who served me the udon must have seen the hungry sparkle in my eyes as she passed me packets of the udon so I can pig out at home!
3. Izumo Homare Sake
I may have tasted the best sake in my life at the Shimane booth! Izumo Homare is the renowned sake produced by Takeshita Honten which is established in 1866. Shimane is considered the birthplace of sake for its long and important history. I usually prefer umeshu to sake but Izumo Homare’s fragrant and light taste has changed my perspective of sake. The president of Takeshita Honten, Mr Saburo Takeshita poured the sake for me and for that instant, I felt like so unworthy to be bestowed this cup of history and heritage!
4. Yamaguchi’s Mochi
I could not help but gobbled down a few delicious warabi and kuzu mochi from Shimonoseki City in Yamaguchi. The producer of the mochi, Wadamata Co. Ltd is a 230-year old company that was initially founded as a shipping company but it became a food wholesale company after the war. Japanese mochi is always a good idea whether as a snack, dessert or even meal!
5. Fried Fishcake (Satsuma Age)
I was so excited to try Kagoshima’s famous fried fishcake after hearing so much about it. A speciality of Kagoshima whose former name is Satsuma, the fish paste is made from different types of fish complemented by a range of ingredients like carrot, burdock and even tofu. Produced in different shapes, Satsuma age are fried nuggets of goodness!
Another Okinawa’s treasure, mozuku is a unique seaweed found in Okinawa’s splendid ocean. Scientifically known as ‘cladosiphon okamuranus’, mozuku has been harvested in Okinawa for generations. Mozuku contains many health properties because it is rich in fucoidan. It strengthens the immune system and possesses anti-cancer characteristics.
7. Deep fried smelt fish (Shishamo)
Shishamo are capelins/smelts usually grilled or fried and eaten from head to tail. The best part of the fish is that is stuffed with generous portion of eggs. Biting into shishamo is an unforgettable sensory experience. They are best enjoyed with cold beer!
8. Green Tea Syrup
Green tea powder from Uji, the matcha capital of Japan is blended into this irresistible syrup. I tried it with mochi and it was a perfect match in heaven. I think it will taste nice with ice cream, pancakes and basically anything if you are creative!
The classic Japanese confectionary, Dorayaki always brings back good memories of childhood and Doraemon. These dorayaki puffs from Hokkaido are filled with red bean, chestnut, strawberry and even cheese!
10. Scallop rice with fish roe
I really like the scallop rice with fish roe which is quite reasonable at $8 from the J Food Court. There is really something special about seafood from Hokkaido – the freshness, flavours and finesse. The J Food Court at the fair sells cooked food made with high quality ingredients from Hokkaido. In a bid to support relief efforts for the Hokkaido earthquake, Food Japan will donate $1 for every Hokkaido food item purchased at J Food Court to the Japanese Red Cross Society’s (JRCS) Hokkaido Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund.
Food Japan 2018 is only open to the public on Saturday, 27 October for a short time from 11.00 am to 4.30 pm. There will be a special ice cream event that day. 23 secondary schools will be participating in 12th NYP-Swensen’s Ice Cream Competition where the teams will complete to create Instagram-worthy creative ice cream sundaes. The ice-creams will be assembled from an assortment of high-quality Japanese produce provided by nine exhibitors at Food Japan 2018!
Food Japan 2018 Information
Trade: 25 to 26 October, 10.00am – 5.30pm
Public: 27 October, 11.00 am – 4.30 pm
Admission Fee & Registration:
Trade: On-site registration, $20 per person
Public: $4 per person. Free admission for children 12 years and below