Food and Drink at Hyper Japan

Japan is a food-tourist’s heaven, and Hyper Japan did a pretty good job of covering the basics. I would have liked to have seen more regional specialities, rather than the same sushi, takoyaki and noodles that are often available at events, though.

Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

The Eat-Japan Sushi Awards 2011: UK Sushi Roll Championships event at Hyper Japan was a real crowd-puller. Throughout the three-day event, the five nominated chefs worked alongside each other, serving a staggering total of 9000 pieces of sushi. After tasting all the entries, ticket holders voted for their favourite. The restaurant and chef who got the most votes received the honour of being crowned UK Sushi of the Year.

Hyper Japan, 24th July 2011

The winner of this year’s award was Asuka Kobayashi of Matsuri St. James’s. Asuka’s winning sushi roll design was called “Precious Memories”, and was inspired by the Italian food her pizza shop-owning mother used to make. I didn’t get a chance to sample the sushi at Hyper Japan, so perhaps I will have to pop down to Matsuri St James’s at some point and see if they’ve added the winning sushi roll to their menu.

Hyper Japan, 24th July 2011

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(Image taken from official press release)

There were a lot of foodie events and talks at Hyper Japan, and one I found particularly interesting was the Japanese food demonstration by Atsuko Ikeda on Saturday 24th July.

Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

Atsuko was also running hands-on sushi classes throughout the event at her stall, and was always happy to talk and answer questions.

Hyper Japan, Friday 22nd July 2011

During the demonstration on stage, Atsuko got members of the audience to make temaki sushi (hand rolled sushi). As they made the rolls, she offered useful advice to sushi novices, such as, “Soggy nori is bad. Nori should be crispy.” It was fun to watch, and hopefully informative to those who have never made temaki sushi before.

Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

Atsuko also demonstrated how to make Japanese curry. I was particularly interested in this, as she mentioned that it is possible to buy vegetarian Japanese curry roux in London (in Japan, I couldn’t eat Japanese curry as it was always made using animal products).

Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

If you’re interested in Japanese cooking, as I am, you might also be interested to know that Atsuko Ikeda runs courses and workshops in Japanese cookery in London. For more information, see: http://www.atsukoskitchen.com. She even teaches how to make some vegetarian dishes! 🙂

A part of Japanese culture that I have never really explored is sake. I’ve drunk sake, of course, but I couldn’t tell a good bottle from a bad bottle. I really enjoyed the “Sake Discovery Afternoon” talk at Hyper Japan because it was both informative and interesting (and we had the chance to sample some sake!). The talk was given by Satomi Okubo, Zuma‘s Head Sake Sommelier.

Hyper Japan, Friday 22nd July 2011

Satomi explained that there are four crucial elements in sake: rice (a special kind called “shuzo koteki mai”), water, koji (a kind of “magic mold”) and kobo (yeast). The sake making process is long and involved, and I won’t go into it here. But, depending on how the sake has been made, it can be classified in various ways. The two main categories, if I understood correctly, are “junmai” and “honjozo”. Within those two categories there are then further classifications such as “premium” or “super premium”. Junmai is usually smoother tasting, and honjozo is more crisp and refreshing. There are 65 different types of sake at Zuma, so if you fancy really becoming an expert that would be a good place to start!

Hyper Japan, Friday 22nd July 2011

One more interesting fact about sake is that it is good for your skin. Apparently the koji enzyme contains a substance that has a whitening effect and prevents dark spots. So that’s why Japanese people have such good skin… 😉

Hyper Japan, Friday 22nd July 2011

Bottoms up!

There were lots of shops and restaurants selling their wares at Hyper Japan. If you’re interested in checking any of them out, click on the website links below.

Cybercandy (featuring the amazing Candy Overlord!)

Hyper Japan, Friday 22nd July 2011

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Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

Website

Yutaka

Hyper Japan, Friday 22nd July 2011

Website

Wagashi

Hyper Japan, 24th July 2011

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Hyper Japan, 24th July 2011

Dorayaki

Website

YO! Sushi

Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

Website

Sushi Plus

Hyper Japan, Friday 22nd July 2011

Wesbite

Minamoto Kitchoan

Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

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Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

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Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

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Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

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Hyper Japan, 24th July 2011

Manju

Website

Japan Centre

Hyper Japan, Friday 22nd July 2011

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Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

Website

Sushi Sushi

Hyper Japan, 24th July 2011

Wesbite

Bento Ramen/Bento Cafe

Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

Bento Ramen Website / Bento Cafe Website

SO Restaurant

Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

Website

Natural Natural

Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

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Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

Onigiri

Website

Manpukutei

Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

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Hyper Japan, 24th July 2011
Website

On Cafe

Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

I tried some delicious yuzu ice cream here – yum! 😀

Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

Website

And my personal favourite…

Cocoro Restaurant

Hyper Japan, Saturday 23rd July 2011

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Hyper Japan, Friday 22nd July 2011

Okonomiyaki

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Hyper Japan, 24th July 2011

Takoyaki

Website

Finally, if you fancy becoming something of a Sushi Pro, then perhaps you need this new app:

(Website)

It’s currently only available on the iPhone, but I was assured that it would be following on Android in no time. As soon as I can get hold of a copy I’ll share some more information about it.

Still hungry after all of that? If I haven’t managed to satisfy your appetite for Japanese food and you’re still feeling peckish, you should nip over to Emily Forrest Photography and check out Emily’s gorgeous Hyper Japan photos. Emily was an official food photographer at the event, so there’s plenty to nibble on over there, or on her other site My Kawaii Space. 🙂

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As well as being part of my “…at Hyper Japan” series, this post is also an entry for the August J-Festa on the theme of “Food in Japan“. Don’t forget to check out the other entries!

2 thoughts on “Food and Drink at Hyper Japan

  1. That was a great post – very comprehensive. I guess it’s always a bit strange seeing these Japanese events outside Japan. From my experience they tend towards the common view of Japan… and like you said, you tend to see the same foods… but then again for people that haven’t perhaps had as much experience with Japanese culture that’s perhaps a good thing.

    Thanks for sharing your experience there… and I’m still kinda jealous… Adelaide (Australia) really has too small a Japanese community to have a big festival. So I definitely enjoyed vicariously.

    Like

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