Hyper Japan 2012 Christmas was almost a month ago, but I’ve finally got around to sorting out all my photos and videos from the three-day event, and now I can share them with you. It was a fun, busy weekend, and I was able to get a different perspective of the event than usual because I worked for Hyper Japan this time. It would be a bit much to try to cram everything I experienced at the event into one post, so I’m going to break things down. Today I’ll start with Food and Drink at Hyper Japan 2012 Christmas.
Food is usually my favourite part of Hyper Japan, and I think the food stalls are popular with most visitors. In London it’s quite easy to get Japanese food, even for a reasonable price, but visitors from outside of London seemed particularly pleased to be able to sample some Japanese classics such as okonomiyaki, takoyaki and Japanese confectionery.
There were a few food-related special events at Hyper Japan this time, including the Sake Experience, sushi making workshops, some cookery demonstrations, and a Tea Bar featuring Christmas-themed Japanese sweets from Brighton-based wagashi experts an-an. Naturally, being the sweet-lover that I am, my first choice was the Tea Bar. The sweets were utterly delicious and ridiculously cute, and I was pleased to find out that they were made with all natural ingredients and were suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Santa was vanilla, Rudolph was cinnamon, the Christmas pudding was a scrumptious chestnut and brandy, and the Christmas tree was a classic matcha flavour. The sweets were sold in sets with a choice of tea – sencha, hojicha, genmaicha and matcha.
I’m not a big drinker, but the Sake Experience also looked interesting and seemed very popular. It was a great opportunity for people to try around 20 different types of sake from all over Japan, and will hopefully help to make sake a more popular drink in the UK, rather than something that people only drink at Japanese restaurants.
I didn’t have the chance to try a sushi making workshop, but did watch a bit over people’s shoulders and think I would like to have a go next time. Making sushi is something I have tried a little bit before but I didn’t find it very easy, and it would be nice to have a go with some expert guidance.
The cooking demonstrations on the main stage were interesting, but I think I would have preferred them in a smaller environment were it was easier to ask questions and sample what was being made. However, I enjoyed William Curley‘s talk in which he explained a bit about how chocolate is made and where it comes from, and was quite inspired by his use of Japanese ingredients in chocolates. William and his wife Suzue make adventurous chocolates with flavours such as apricot and wasabi, green tea, yuzu and Japanese sake.
Another personal favourite of mine is On Cafe (comprising On Patisserie and On Cookery School), who sell beautiful macarons with Japanese flavours. You might remember that I recently went to a macaron making class at On Cookery School, and it was great to see them again at Hyper Japan. For Christmas, On Patisserie have created a gorgeous ’12 Days of Christmas’ collection, which includes 12 stunning macarons based on the English Christmas carol of the same name.
If you’re looking for a last minute Christmas present, you might still be able to pick these up at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbrige or at the Real Food Christmas Market at the Southbank – see On Cafe’s website for more information.
When it came to food at Hyper Japan, I was excited to eat okonomiyaki…
Delighted to eat dorayaki for breakfast!
And tempted by the kakigori…
But the most exciting thing of all was… Kit Kats from sushi noms!
As many of you will know, I’m a big Kit Kat fan and even have a separate blog dedicated to them. I’ve had a bit of Kit Kat withdrawal since coming back from Japan though, as the ones sold in the UK just aren’t exciting enough. Luckily, sushi noms have managed to find a way to import all the weird and wonderful flavours of Kit Kat from Japan to the UK, and they made my Christmas by introducing me to a new flavour – Rum Raisin (ラムレーズン)!
These new Kit Kats are instantly in my top three flavours of all time, along with Ramune (ラムネ) and simple Matcha (抹茶). Unfortunately, being an imported product, I couldn’t afford to purchase as many Kit Kats as I would have liked to, but if I win the lottery I will be visiting sushinoms.com straight away to stock up!
I think it’s safe to say that food is one of the most important parts of Hyper Japan, and someone even said to me over the weekend that they wished there would be an event in the UK dedicated just to Japanese (or perhaps Asian) food. I’d certainly like to attend it if there was!
I’ll be back soon with more news from Hyper Japan, with topics including fashion and music. Watch this space! (*^_^)v