Food & Drink | davos special 2019

A taste of Japan's cuisine, buffet style

Staff Report

Japan Night will return to Davos once again to offer participants of the 2019 World Economic Forum meeting the opportunity to savor some of the finest Japanese cuisine.

The annual event, to be held on Jan. 23 at the Central Sporthotel Davos, is among the most popular side events at the international conference, drawing hundreds of attendees. The evening is arranged by The Japan Night Organization Committee, comprised of representatives of 28 major companies and a university, with special support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, as well as the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations.

This year’s buffet features a variety of traditional washoku (Japanese cuisine)dishes such as succulent sushi and crisp vegetable and seafood tempura.

Yutaka Ishizuka, the head chef at Japanese restaurant Bimi in Zurich, for example, is scheduled to prepare several dishes ranging from vegetarian sushi to grilled fish and wagyu items.

At the sushi counter, chefs Masayoshi Kazato and Hirotoshi Ogawa from Japan are slated to prepare delicious morsels of yellowtail, tuna, scallops and salmon.

Additionally, the buffet features chawanmushi (savory egg custard), namafu (soft wheat gluten cake), as well as ohitashi (lightly cooked greens) and chicken fried with shiokōji (a traditional fermented seasoning using salt), according to the committee.

As for dessert, Takanori Murata, a Paris-based wagashi (traditional Japanese confections) master, plans to offer authentic traditional Japanese sweets, including dorayaki (pancakes filled with red-bean paste) and sakura mochi (sticky rice cake).

On the entertainment front, shamisen (a three-stringed banjo-like instrument)player Hibiki Ichikawa is expected to fly from London to perform at the venue. Ichikawa, who started playing the shamisen at the age of 20 and moved to London in April 2010, has performed at numerous venues in Europe.

Last year, some 650 people — government leaders and business executives to academic experts and journalists — attended the event where Japanese chefs from around the world performed cooking demonstrations and offered traditional cuisine, including a shabu-shabu hot pot and grilled wagyu.

The event also featured a bento with delicacies such as rice cooked with various ingredients, wagyu boiled in soy sauce and sugar, as well as a scallop and kelp salad, all served in a specially designed box.

Washoku has been enjoying a global boom in recent years, especially after it was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2013.

According to agriculture ministry data, the number of Japanese restaurants abroad spiked from about 24,000 in 2006 to around 118,000 in 2017. Ministry data also shows exports of agricultural, fishery and forestry products, along with processed food, also reached a record of ¥807 billion in 2017.

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