Taste of Japan, with a touch of Vietnam

By Dang Hanh, Thanh Nien News

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The famous Vietnamese baguette with Japanese amberjack and vegetables. Photo provided by organizers The famous Vietnamese baguette with Japanese amberjack and vegetables. Photo provided by organizers

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Feeling uninspired in the kitchen? Tokyo-based chef Nihonbashi Yukari has a great piece of advice for you: try reinventing popular dishes with whatever ingredients that you love. 
The 44-year-old chef, the winner of Iron Chef Japan 2002 and the owner of a worldwide-known restaurant in Tokyo, visited Ho Chi Minh City earlier this month to run a culinary seminar. 
To the surprise of the guests, he created a mouth-watering menu within a short period of time combining both Japanese and Vietnamese ingredients and cooking styles. 
Yukari encouraged Vietnamese home cooks and chefs to play with what they can find in local markets. 
“I hope that there will be a new trend of localizing Japanese dishes in the city,” he said. “For example, the water spinach, which is popular in Vietnam, can be made into a flavorful Japanese cold soup."
“Try a new ingredient for a traditional recipe, and you will create a Japanese dish of your own.”
He added that Japanese cuisine is known for its simple yet distinct taste and can be adapted very well using local ingredients. 
The event was part of a food promotion campaign sponsored by the Japanese ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. 
 Japanese chef Nihonbashi Yukari shows how to prepare an amberjack. Photos provided by organizers
A dish of seafood prepared at the seminar "Taste of Japan in Ho Chi Minh City"
A dish of steamed amberjack
Vietnamese baguette with Japanese beef 
Amberjack sushi 
 Cold udon soup cooked with Vietnamese water spinach
Two dishes of amberjack, sashimi and steamed amberjack, on display during the seminar 

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