Writers are generally very simple people. If there was one assignment over at POPCulture Online that I volunteer for one full year in advance, it will be the annual Japanese food and trade fair over at Oishii Japan.
This year marks the third edition of Oishii Japan, organized by Oishii Japan Executive Committee. This is ASEAN’s largest dedicated Japanese F&B showcase. Spread over three days, Oishii Japan 2014 is an all-encompassing showcase of food, drinks and related equipment and machinery from all over Japan.
What this means for most of us non-trade visitors is that we get the chance to sample a lot of wagyu beef, a lot of green tea, a lot of adorably packaged sweets, and most importantly for a lush like me, a lot of liquor.
There has always been a lot of liquor over here at the fair. (Except last year, there was ramen too, and the PCO team got thoroughly distracted by that.) Any member of the public would agree that they had gotten their money’s worth. With a $4 entry ticket, they got to sample different kinds of liquor, from sake to umeshu to shochu. Even the more uniquely flavoured ones such as chocolate liqueur, strawberry liqueur (with great strawberry bits in it!) and yuzu liqueur (this writer’s personal favourite!)
A change from last year would be the increase of stalls featuring wagyuu beef. This writer had spent a good amount of time enjoying the samples of beef from Purple Mountain. According to the salesperson we spoke to, unlike other beef importers, they bring in whole cows instead of specific cuts so that chefs can have their choice of cuts. Not only do they sell to restaurants like Burnt Ends, they also sell directly to consumers over their Facebook page. If you are looking for Grade A, melt-in-your-mouth wagyuu beef, you really should check them out!!
Another thing that is new at this year’s Oishii Japan is the special performance by the lovely people from Ishikawa. The PCO team was at a stall, sampling their sake when the Japanese lady running the stall shepherded us over to the main stage. Very nice of her, indeed! Or we would have missed the geisha performance of song, dance, and shamisen!! (Do you even have any idea how expensive it is to watch an authentic shamisen performance in Japan?)
Our team also attended a sushi workshop conducted by Chef Tadao Fujisaki from Tokyo Sushi Academy. In this workshop, we learn about the different types of rolled sushi. Selected audience members also had the chance to try their hands at creating their own kazarimaki (art roll sushi). Look at what they have created. Isn’t it beautiful?
There were, of course, samplings at this workshop and the others conducted at Oishii Japan. If we have had any complaints about our experience there, it would be the typical lack of grace Singaporeans display when free food is involved (food in Singapore is serious business) and some of the inane questions posed by the emcee (I mean, “Where do you buy a weighing machine?” Seriously?)
Oh yes! We have another complaint! The food ran out too quickly at J-Food Street!! All the onigiri and mangetsu onsen tamago from Samurice, and tasty rolls from Sushi Burrito, the sweetest and most delicate macarons from Annabella Patisserie and also the desserts from Nana’s Green Tea! This food street is open to the public for free, and you only have to pay for your purchases. If we didn’t have an article to write, we would have spent all day over here, instead of crying in despair when the food ran out sometime in the mid afternoon, hours before the event is supposed to end.
I don’t know about the rest of you, my dear readers, but I am definitely volunteering for this assignment again next year. 24 – 25 October, Oishii Japan 2015. See you there!
Do head over to our facebook page for more photos from Oishii Japan 2014.
Photos by Ken Koh
by Tessie Tan
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