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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).


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 and India.

    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-