THE recently-concluded Oishii Japan 2015 attracted its biggest number of participants to date, and 76% of those who attended have said they were keen to take part in next year’s event. Some 87% of participants said they would recommend Oishii Japan to their industry counterparts.
Held from October 22-24 at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, the fourth edition of the Oishii Japan trade show for Japanese food, beverages and technologies saw a record attendance of 10,910 from 26 countries, 9% more than the year before.
More than half of those who attended Oishii Japan were first-timers to the show, including participants from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK, the US and Vietnam.
The organiser, Oishii Japan Executive Committee (of OJ Events Pte Ltd), described it as testimony of the continuous demand for authentic Japanese products and that Oishii Japan has become “an ideal platform for Japanese F&B businesses seeking new contacts and fresh opportunities in ASEAN and beyond”.
Many of the exhibitors launched new products and services. Among them was an Apple iOS app commissioned by the Japanese Ministry of Trade & Industry and introduced by Sakefan World. The app uses recognition techniques to differentiate between labels used by sake breweries, making it easier to extract information on sake varieties.
New business partnerships, such as Ocharaka by Ferrano, also made their debut.
Ferrano, a small home appliance company based in Singapore, partnered with Ocharaka, a leading purveyor of exquisite Japanese teas and flavoured teas. Samples of Ocharaka teas were served in Ferrano double wall glasses that insulated heat and stayed cool to the touch.
With almost 90% of the Japanese prefectures at Oishii Japan showcasing their regional produce this year, it was also an opportunity to introduce Japanese cuisines, delicacies, culture and technologies to the public.
Masanao Nishida, director of Oishii Japan, said that the specialties from each prefecture remain a source of pride and tradition. “What is interesting to note is that out of Japan, this distinction is lost and the food is simply termed as ‘Japanese food’,” he said.
Shochu was one example of the ‘hidden treasures’ that Nishida highlighted at the recent show. Shochu’s domestic consumption is on par with sake but is a lesser-known Japanese alcoholic beverage in this part of the world.
To heighten awareness of shochu, 36 varieties of Honkaku Shochu and Awamori Shochu were displayed.
The Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association also participated for the first time and presented shochu from different distilleries. It was so well received that Satsuma Shuzo, one of the exhibiting companies, sold out all of its single distilled variety at the fair.
At the same time, Oishii Japan provided much insight into how one could be innovative with Japanese food and ingredients too.
Food demonstrations by Lewin Terrace and Wild Rocket showed traditional Japanese ingredients being used to create fusion dishes that would appeal to the region’s increasingly discerning consumers.
Sushi Fight! was another engaging session where volunteers were handpicked from the audience to challenge chefs Takuya Matsumoto and Shuji Sawada from Maguro-Donya Miura-Misaki-Kou Sushi & Dining in a sushi-making competition.
At the workshops, participants learnt how to make maki sushi with ABC Cooking Studio’s Tamaru Reina. A Singaporean delight, the Hainanese chicken rice, was given a new twist when it was transformed into a kawaii chicken bento set by Shirley Wong of Little Miss Bento.
The public also had lots of hands-on experience in the bento-making workshop, and overall visitor satisfaction was high among both the general and trade visitors.
Said one of the visitors, Dinh Vinh Cuong, CEO of Tokyo Mart, Vietnam: “The event was an eye opener. Japanese food is gaining popularity abroad and in Vietnam, so it is important to attend events such as Oishii Japan.”