This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in the Japanese Food and Restaurant Expo (JFRE) at the Metropolitan Pavilion as a translator for demonstrations by Natsuko Yamawaki of Hakkoan and Junya Miura of Yopparai.
Natsuko Yamawaki of Hakkoan showed everyone how to make shio-koji, an all-natural healthy seasoning and flavor enhancer that is becoming increasingly popular in Japan. Natsuko-san also showed the audience how to use shio-koji along with seasonal ingredients to create a delicious baked salmon and mushroom dish.
The audience looked very surprised by how much flavor and umami the shio-koji added to the dish. You can check out there facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/Hakkoan
Chef Junya Miura from Yopparai restaurant shared his knowledge of the origins of oden as well as techniques and tricks on how to make delicious oden.
He showed the audience how to cut daikon using a knife technique known as “mentori” or rounding the edges. He also showed the audience how to score the konnyaku in order to allow the flavor of the soup to soak in properly. Many people who viewed the demonstration expressed that they had made oden before but did not know the proper techniques that Chef Miura demonstrated. Many people were also not familiar with the amount of time that it takes to simmer oden to get good results (at least 2 days!)
I also had the opportunity to visit Yopparai Restaurant before the Restaurant Show.
Yopparai opened about a half year ago and is located on the Lower East Side in Manhattan.
The oden was really good and the place had a wonderful atmosphere.
Check it out if you get a chance or are in the area! Website: http://yopparainyc.com/home.html