Traditional Japanese shop to showcase flying-fish paste at food expo in Milan

Kyodo

A small shop in western Japan with a history dating back to the 18th century will present a flying-fish paste flavored with local rice wine at Expo Milano 2015, the international culinary fair that opened this month in Italy.

Staffers at Aoyama Shoten in Shimane Prefecture said they are looking forward to seeing how people outside Japan will respond to its Agonoyaki, a chunky char-grilled surimi paste with a savory sake flavor.

Mikiko Aoyama, the 64-year-old wife of the shop owner, said: “We are proud of being given a rare opportunity at an expo. We want to do our best to promote” the paste, which is made from flying fish caught off the Sea of Japan coast.

The shop in the prefectural capital, Matsue, has been producing Agonoyaki since its business started in 1727.

“It’s been very challenging for a small shop to pass on this tradition,” Aoyama said. But its long efforts were recognized by an affiliate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 2012 when the shop was given the honor of being named as one of the 46 most authentic brands in Japan.

Agonoyaki will be showcased from May 12 to 16 at the Japan Pavilion at the Milan expo.

Around 150 countries and international organizations are taking part in the food-themed exhibition, which opened May 1 and runs through October.