Food and Japan or more precisely food and Tokyo: a perfect
mathematical equation, as one does not exist without the other.
There is not any other country in the world, not even the
"live to eat" Italians, that are so obsessed with food as
is the archipelago of the rising sun.
With more than 200 magazines on the topic and an endless number
of restaurants of any kind, Japan shines under the spotlight
of the food business. There is not a single television program,
prime time or not, that does not have a cooking showcase,
nor an outside reporter storming the restaurants in town in
search of the latest food of the day. Whether it is a television
celebrity, a housewife or a professional chef all are summating
upon the cameras in the name of food, to showcase their skill,
their favorite dishes or simply their newly discovered dining
spot in town.
Japan produces a number of great television-cooking programs
such as the Iron chef - a battle zone for local and expatriate
chefs who compete in western, Japanese or Chinese food. There
are also some more crazy shows like the eating contest, which
are so popular here that they have even managed to put it
on a global scale with international competitors and a world
Publications of every kind storm the massive book and magazine
stores and more than likely any Expatriate Chef working in
one of the big names in town will be found featured. Be prepared
for the photo shoot to become a regular part of your weekly
routine in the kitchen, at least 4-5 photo shoots a month,
either for magazine, TV or other promotional arenas.
Fancy any kind of food? Pick up the phone and a storm of scooters
will deliver anything from sushi to Thai to Italian. No problem!
Fancy a french crepes or a 7-course dinner, they'll be on
your door in 30 minutes in any part of town. Make sure that
your Japanese is up to speed you do not want to order a sushi
set and end up with a Korean kalbi or some Naan and Tikka.
But lets get down to more detail on the "real" catering business.
Lets start from the bottom, the inexpensive so called fast
food, an array of places are to be found in any corner of
the city, subways included, not counting the burger places,
there are revolving sushi bars, ramen shops not bigger than
the average bathroom in Europe, cafes and any kind of food
broken down to a chain of single item restaurant, designed
for lunch in and out in an-average of 10 minutes, many of
them offer only stand up eating capabilities, designed for
the Japanese office worker with limited time.
Middle of the range restaurants and theme restaurants are
extremely popular right now. With the economy a little shaky,
Japan is not anymore the land of the 1000 Dollar bill for
two, more reasonably priced restaurants have opened offering
a great quality price ratio so as to keep everybody happy.
In the same price bracket - the themed-restaurants, which
are marketed to the 20-30 year old age group, ramge from the
gothic style, to the african/arabian experience or the Maya
feast. Since role playing and custom are very dear to the
young these places are proving successful and since their
lifespan is usually short, 2-3 years, there is always something
new coming up.
The big names of hospitality are all in town offering the
very high end product and service that Japanese people love
to have. Each hotel offers a diverse product and normally
carries from 6 to 12 different outlets, the choice is vast
and the prices are what you'll expect and more.
One of the luxuries to be a chef in Japan is the produce that
you get to work with. Every time a supplier arrives it's like
Santa has landed, such high quality and care taken is difficult
to find in other places. When the veggies arrive and they
are all the same exact size mostly individually wrapped, shipped
in from all over the world, the seafood, custom cleaned and
cut as you asked for in a layer of ice protected wood-paper,
you know you could only be in Tokyo. Every kind of seafood
you can imagine lands here. Japan consumes one third of the
worldwide fishing quota so you can image the joy of a 5 o'clock
in the morning trip to Tsukigi (Tokyo's main fish and veggies
market) and if you had any doubt on what to use on your next
a la carte, well you'll exit from here with more ideas than
Of course the expatriate life here is not all roses but you
can take out some amazing experiences to carry with you when
you fly off from the land of the Rising Sun.
And if you feel stressed out and need to let it all out let
me suggest you a couple of places outside from the usual Roppongi
Head Down to The Fiddler in Takadanobaba, for good beers great
live music and a bunch of great people or pop in at Ben's
café for good coffee,wines and more….
Checkout they websites: www.thefiddler.com
these guys make life happier in the big maki wrap that's Tokyo.
That's all for now anything particular you'll want to know
just let me know and I'll be off searching for you.
Check out Andrea's stylish cooking - or plus