In anticipation of their participation at Gulfood 2017, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) hosted a seminar highlighting the healthy Japanese diet, characteristics of authentic Japanese products and the fusion of these ingredients in World Cuisine. Inaugurated by His Excellency Hisashi Michigami, the Consul General of Japan in Dubai, the event provided a platform to promote traditional Japanese ingredients and better explore trade prospects with guests from the food and hospitality industry. Speakers included Mr. Junji Nakao, Director JETRO Dubai and Mr. Masami Ando, Managing Director JETRO Dubai and MENA, with live cooking demonstrations and an in-depth look at the health benefits of Japanese cuisine by self-taught cook, food-writer and author Mrs. Fiona Uyema and the history of genuine Wagyu beef by specialty beef expert, Mr. Tetushisa Hagiwara.
Awareness of Japan’s high-quality and strict safety standards, understanding the nutritional benefits of the Japanese diet and distinguishing between the true flavors of Japanese ingredients were main topics of the event.
Mr. Nakao pointed out that Japanese cuisine is comprised of the freshest ingredients sourced from Japan’s rich volcanic ecosystem and highlighted the agricultural, fishery and other food products available for export to the UAE, “the Middle East food industry is witnessing a growing import of Japanese food products. Last year (2016), exports to the UAE in Japanese beverages and foodstuff were over US$51 million.”
“The popularity of Japanese cuisine and products is evident in the increasing number of Japanese restaurants in the region; there are 200 in the UAE alone. This is not counting the growing number of other restaurants and cuisines that are using Japanese ingredients in their dishes,” continued Mr. Nakao.
The event allowed industry professionals to discover these products first hand. They also sampled traditional Japanese food and international dishes cooked with authentic Japanese ingredients.
“I have personally experienced international dishes that used Japanese ingredients to enhance the flavors of their sauces. This is one of the reasons for this seminar; it is the perfect event to further expand the market’s knowledge about Japanese food and healthy diet. It also provides opportunities to bolster trade prospects. Our successful participation at Gulfood over the past three years has supported our efforts and we are delighted to be participating again in this year’s edition” added Mr. Ando
The Japanese diet is renowned for being one of the healthiest as it adopts a philosophy of having nutritionally balanced meals high in protein and vegetables. Mrs. Uyema showcased healthy dishes and shared her personal experience with using Japanese ingredients in her cooking. Focusing on the famous produce of Japanese Wagyu beef, Mr. Hagiwara went through the history of Wagyu, the importance of having the origin be Japanese for authenticity of flavors and demonstrated how best to cook Wagyu.
Over 40 leading Japanese food companies will be showcasing their products at Gulfood 2017. Visitors will have the opportunity to see and sample varied types of healthy Japanese foods including beverages, confectionaries, vegetables, seafood, Wagyu beef and condiments.
It is worthy to note that in 2013 The United Nations Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added traditional Japanese food to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list and the World Health Organization in 2015 ranked the Japanese as having the longest life expectancy in the world.