Fun Finds at the Japanese Food Expo

Presented by the Japanese Food Culture Association, the Japanese Food Expo returned to the Universal Hilton Hotel to showcase Japanese food and culture through tastings, demonstrations and workshops.

More than 50 exhibitors were in attendance. From savory to sweet and from sake to beer, the Japanese Food Expo showed that there is more to Japanese food than sushi. I was invited to attend the trade portion of the event, which took place during the day and was able to get around the expo and taste everything and find some favorites. 

Curry – Japanese curry is a very popular dish in Japan. It can be served with rice, udon or bread. The S&B Golden Curry sauce mix is vegan and gluten free and it will cook with any type of meat and vegetables.

Japan House, the restaurant, shop, gallery, event space and more which is located in Hollywood and Highland, was serving Tsukemono (Japanese pickles) and they also sent us home with the recipe.

Tsukemono Recipe

Rub seasonal vegetables with a small amount of salt and transfer to an airtight container or Ziplock bag. Keep in the refrigerator for a few days. The vegetables will release water, don’t strain it off. When ready, make amazu (sweet vinegar) – Mix 1 part water, 1 part rice vinegar, and 1 part sugar in a large bowl. add the vegetables, with their water, to the amazu mixture and set aside for 30 minutes. eat right away or store in an airtight container for up to a month!

The recipe is so simple, I cannot wait to make this at home, and I will serve the vegetables over rice. I will definitely be on the lookout for Tsuyahime rice, a type of rice from the Yamagata Prefecture Association. A specially cultivated premium rice that is large grain and organic and known for its sweetness and texture. This rice even tastes good cold.

I always have miso soup in my kitchen and tend to have the packages where you just add hot water and eat. But, I had not found a brand that I really liked until now. Shinsyu Ichi Miso is a 350-year old company who developed a freeze-dried miso soup with tofu, seaweed, green onion and fried bean curd. Add hot water and the resulting soup is rich and flavorful.

Of course there was sushi at the Japanese Food Expo. The sushi was made by the Sushi Robot from Suzumo International Corp. The robot shapes the rice in the perfect from. The fish is placed on top by a human and then the robot packages it in an easy-to-open package. I like this solution for on-the-go sushi.

I tried Mushroom Crisps for my first time and am hooked. Crunchy and tasty, they are full of flavor and low carb. These are definitely a healthy alternative to potato chips.

While there was a lot of sake and beer to taste, I opted for the green tea. The Ito En Green Tea is an unsweetened green tea brewed with fresh green tea leaves and bottled. The favor is light and fresh and it is high in antioxidants with zero calories. They also had Matcha Milk Tea and Black Tea Milk Tea. Creamier in texture, and sweeter, the black tea and green tea flavors definitely come through.

As I was leaving the Expo, I tried Shirakiku Chocolates and especially loved the Chocolate with Matcha and the Chocolate with Coffee Bean.

I really enjoyed the Japanese Food Expo – trying some familiar foods, as well as some newer products. Luckily, I live near a Japanese market so I will be able to seek out these products now. Hope you have a Japanese market near you to seek these items out as well, and many of them can be found on Amazon as well!