O is for Oishii! Or “Delicious!”
Every year, if there is one event that I always look forward to covering, it will be the annual Oishii Japan food and beverage fair that took place at Suntec Convention Centre from 22 to 24 October this year. Oishii Japan is ASEAN’s largest dedicated showcase on Japanese food and beverage, with an array of authentic Japanese ingredients and food, culinary techniques and equipment, plus demos and classes.
This year, Oishii Japan kept the food street concept from the previous year, where visitors can purchase food from vendors such as Keisuke Ramen and Samurice for their meals, hence giving them absolutely no reason to step out of the hall until the fair is over. The number of vendors at the food street this year is far lesser than the previous year’s though, much to my disappointment. But what made up for it was the increased generosity from the other exhibitors.
Unlike the previous years, where the fair is very much angled as trade fair, targeting mainly at trade visitors rather than the general public, this year’s fair exhibitors have stepped up their game to appeal more to the bigger crowd (though it’s not as if the idea of good food is not appealing enough to Singaporeans.)
Exhibitors offered more samples. For the past few years, Oishii Japan had been a chance for me to sample all the various types of spirits, sake, and shochu on display. This year, there were even more options such as beef, crackers, udon, ramen, miso soup, fruit jam, and even pufferfish! More items are also made available for sale, unlike previous years when the exhibitors do not cater for retail. On top of that, exhibitors also take the chance to do their market research, asking the visitors questions about how they feel about the price, quality and aesthetic appeal of the products they have sampled at the fair. Win-win situation for all!
To be honest, what really stood out for me this year were stalls that not only brought pre-packed food to exhibit, but those that also brought in FRESH VEGETABLES. One of the challenges, I imagine, will be the difficulty to pack, ship, and store these vegetables to preserve its freshness for 3 days’ worth of exhibition. But even on the last day of the fair, the vegetables I sampled were crunchy, juicy, refreshing, and absolutely heavenly to have, even on its own (and all that coming from a self-styled carnivore like me.)
A word of advice to those who are planning to go next year: if you want to try everything there is to sample, it will be a good idea to go early as samples run out fast. If you are a bargain hunter and wants to buy home some of these goodies at a lower price, it will be better to go later as some exhibitors tend to drop their prices at the later part of the day.
But if you are like me who want to sample and then bring home the yummies (like the cup of hot yuzu tea I’m nursing in my freezing cold office right now), just go when the doors open and don’t leave until they start hauling people out.
For more photos from the event, check out our photo gallery: http://on.fb.me/1l0EcmP
Photos by Ken Koh
By Tessie Tan
© POPCulture Online 2015