Food lovers in Delhi were treated to a unique Japanese
food fair held at the residence of H.E. Mr. Yasukuni
Enoki, Ambassador of Japan to India, on 31 January
2007. The event, a part of the ‘Japan Year in India’, was
organized by the well-known Umenohana Restaurant
chain that was established in 1976 and has nearly 100
restaurants all over Japan. The restaurant specially flew
down six chefs and seven restaurant waitresses besides
other staff for this culinary extravaganza.
The food festival gave food connoisseurs a rare
opportunity to taste sumptuous Japanese delicacies.
Around 21 vegetarian and 22 non-vegetarian dishes
were served at the dinner in three courses, with the first
course comprising of cold dishes, the second course
having regular-temperature dishes, and the final course
consisting of hot dishes.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassasor Enoki termed food
as an excellent goodwill ambassador and mentioned about the
popularity of Indian food in Japan. Similarly, he said, Japanese
food is also gaining wide acceptability in India with more than
10 Japanese restaurants in Delhi already, with the number
growing day by day.
Talking about Buddhist vegetarian cuisine in Japan, known
as Shojin Ryori, he spoke about the influence of Buddhist culture
and sensibilities on Japanese food habits, which led to the wide
use of soybean products in Japanese vegetarian cuisine.
Restaurant Umenohana specializes in food made from tofu (soybean curd) and yuba (soy milk skin). For the occasion,
Umenohana presented tofu and yuba dishes cooked in different
ways, along with several non-vegetarian dishes, with traditional
tableware and utensils, for the pleasure of the guests.
Umenohana’s philosophy is to serve traditional Japanese cuisine
with constant innovations, and believes that tradition can
continue to survive only by periodically re-interpreting and
enhancing what has been served before.
Guests enjoying the Japanese delicacies prepared by Umenohana
For this food festival, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture
sent some of the freshest Japanese vegetables to promote “Try
Good Japanese Food” campaign, which aims at spreading
Japanese Food of Good Quality around the world.
The wide assortment of dishes served in the vegetarian
selection included “Vegetables, Chikuzen-style”, “Lotus
Roots, Kimpira-style”, “Sweet Potato and Kintoki Bean”,
“Mixed Vegetables wrapped with Fried Tofu” and many
others, while the non-vegetarian buffet had delicacies such as
“Fried Prawn Ball with Yuba”, “Roasted Duck”, “Grilled
Kingfish with Miso”, “Seafood Tempura with Curry Salt”,
and so on.
After the dinner, Japanese tea was served to the guests,
which was followed by an address by Mr. Umeno, owner of the
Umenohana chain, who personally thanked the guests and
introduced his chefs and other staff to the audience. He rounded
off by saying in Hindi, “Main aasha karta hoon ki aap logon
ko hamara bhojan pasand aaya hoga” (I hope you liked the
food served by us to you).
HAM PANCHI EIK DALL KEI
The Indian Council for Japanese Culture (ICJC), headed
by well-known Hindi academician and writer, Dr. Raj
Buddhiraja, is a prominent cultural organization dedicated
to the cause of promoting cultural relations between Japan
Under the auspices of the ‘Japan-India Friendship Year
2007’ being celebrated this year, the ICJC, in collaboration with the Japan Foundation, New Delhi, organized a cultural
event entitled “Ham Panchi Eik Dall Kei” on May 5, 7 and 8,
2007, in the Japan Foundation premises, to commemorate the
Japanese Children’s Day.
It is widely known that the Japanese Children’s Day is
celebrated every year on 5th of May. The traditional name for
this day is Tango no Sekku (a seasonal festival), and in olden-