Indulge in a Taste of Japan


Ever been to Japan? Or does the long flight and expenses keep you from going? Either way, Japanese cuisine is something everyone needs to get on board with. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan held Taste of Japan in New York: Savor the Culture of Earth & Sea, an event dedicated to educating attendees about the use of Japanese ingredients for personal health and the overall Japanese food culture.

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We were welcomed by Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, Consulate General of Japan in New York, as well as Hiromichi Matsushimi, Vice-Minister for International Affairs at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, who turned over the floor to Professor Ryoji Hamamoto, the team leader of the Japanese Cuisine R&D Department at the renowned Tsuji Culinary Institute in Osaka, Japan. The professor gave an intriguing history of Japanese culture and how it influenced the food and food culture of the country. The food in Japan is about more than just what you’re eating — everything from the plating and presentation to the seasonality and social occasion influence how you experience food. Hamamoto also stressed the importance of using all five senses when indulging (ever wondered why you slurp ramen?), and no detail is spared.


Following Professor Hamamoto’s presentation, Chef David Bouley, Japanese Goodwill Ambassador and owner-chef of Bouley and Brushstroke Restaurants, prepared a cooking demonstration and spoke about the countless benefits of Japanese ingredients. Guests were inspired to learn about the incredible benefits of kuzu (Japanese arrowroot) and how it can be used for basically everything — from a replacement for flour to a versatile thickener, it can be used in just about anything. The chef also spoke about his passion on reintroducing fermented food to America, and plans on taking a sabbatical to further learn about Japanese cuisine. Guests were treated to Chef Bouley’s dashi soup stock made with Hokkaido kelp, and also looked on as he prepared a savory flan called chawan mushi.




The event culminated with an open discussion on Japanese food, culture, and the hopes for the future of Japanese ingredients in the global food market. Afterwards, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on all things Japanese!

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