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Japanese food fest- Veggie delights for Indian palate


Vegetarian delights have been incorporated into signature Japanese dishes that will be served in restaurants in Delhi and Mumbai over the coming months

SushiMumbai: There is more to Japanese food than just raw fish and seafood. Vegetarian delights have been incorporated into signature Japanese dishes that will be served in restaurants in Delhi and Mumbai over the coming months, as part of a food festival.

The festival, which began here recently and scheduled to last till February 2014, is part of the Japanese Food Season that has been organized by \ Ambassador of Japan to India Takeshi Yagi, in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Japan.

The event offers to “make Japanese cuisine easily accessible to food lovers in India and popularize Japanese food through retail stores, restaurants and malls.”

“Japanese food represents health, taste as well as versatility. Our chiefs with the students of India’s culinary schools have made vegetarian sushi and other vegetarian delights, which will cater to the taste of people who are vegetarian in India,” Yasuhisa Kawamura, Minister and deputy Chief of Mission said.

Over 200 students from the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) were invited to the Japanese Embassy in Delhi and attended classes on Japanese cuisine from the Chefs of Japan.

“When we went to the Japanese restaurants in Delhi we were awestruck with the variety of vegetarian food which was listed on the menu. We learnt a lot about various vegetarian sushi which were very tasty.  Back home I am going to introduce some in my menu,” says Junichi Asano, Master Instructor at Tokyo Sushi Academy.

The Sushi making project has begun at the Japanese embassy here and hands-on training classes will be given to the students at IHM Mumbai.

Another highlight of the festival is the promotion of Japanese restaurants in India. With approximately 50,000 Indians living in Japan, there are over 50 Indian restaurants there.  As a result the MAFF is now attempting to make Japan’s culinary presence felt in India.

“There are an increasing number of Japanese restaurants across the world. But in India there are only a handful of restaurants which offer authentic Japanese cuisine. We want to help India develop the taste for our cuisine and make it popular,” says Kawamura.

Beginning from October 19 till November 10, four Japanese restaurants in Delhi and six in Mumbai would offer a special Japanese course menu at a special price for three weeks.  Some of the eateries featured are the Megu (The Leela Palace), Izakaya, Guppy by Ai etc in Delhi and SanQi (Four Seasons Hotel), India Jones (the Trident), Kofuku and more in Mumbai.

“I hope this project will increase fans and chefs of Japanese food and more and more people will have the opportunity to enjoy Japanese food in India,” says Takeshi Yagi, Japan’s Ambassador to India.

The MAFF would also sponsor a host of events in Delhi as well as Mumbai from October 17, 2013 to February 2014 that includes cooking workshops, restaurant promotion, food retail promotion and recipe contests.

Organized in association with BBC Good Food magazine the most innovative recipe would win a trip to Japan.

“The contest will be open from October 4 to November 30. The winner of the contest will be announced in Mumbai. The one condition of this contest is the use of one of the mandatory ingredients of a Japanese meal like Miso (a green curry paste), Soya Sauce, Wasabi and Mirin,” says Kawamura.

In January 2014, the festival would incorporate,”Washoku by Oishii Japan”, a showcase of street food from Japan.

Organizers have planned for a big bash both in Mumbai and Delhi when the festival concludes.

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