The thunderous beat of Koshin Taiko’s drums helped steer record numbers of sushi lovers into Los Angeles’s InterContinental’s Wilshire Ballroom on March 2 and 3 for the 2018 Japanese Food Culture Association’s food festival.
L.A. native Greta Detrick frustrations grew waiting in long lines, but the slight buzz she received from samples of exotically brewed Sake helped bolster her spirits.
“Everything is amazing, could be a lot better if there were even more food vendors,” Detrick said
Detrick eyed a shot of warmed up Sake before swallowing it down with lip-smacking sip. She explained her reason for loving and respecting Japanese culture is because they always strive for perfection.
“Japanese food is prepared with so much thought into which ingredients to use and preparation method that the results really speak for themselves,” Detrick said delicately plucking a piece of chop-stick tender pork from her cup of noodles.
One of the highlights of this year’s festival was when Andy Matsuda, Chief instructor of Sushi Chef Institute, expertly carved a fresh Maguro (Tuna) and rolled a record-breaking giant mega sushi roll which served over 200 people.
Matsuda has been involved with the Japanese Food Festival for over 15 years because he said it’s important to promote further discovery and understanding of Japanese food.
“Some people know California roll…some people know Ramen, but we have thousands of other varieties for people to seek out and enjoy,” Matsuda said.
Over 50 vendors at the festival ensured everyone’s palate barely had time to relax before another shot of Sake or one’s attention was pulled towards the excitement of the event.
World champion Kendama master Satoru Akimoto made the popular Japanese kid’s game look so easy that many stopped to give it a try, but for most of us novices, that little ball seemed to go everywhere but in the cup!
Open Blue Sea Farms transported guests via virtual reality into their Panamanian complex giving a not-to-miss insider’s look at the future of open-sea fish farming. Superb audio along with 360-degree viewing angles enriched the cinematic experience. The slight smell of fish at the event added a touch of reality which further enhanced the illusion that we were standing right alongside staff members of Open Blue Sea Farm.
First-time festival goer Devin Hardy was so impressed within the first hour of the event he was already making plans to return next year.
“This is a rare opportunity to try the best of the best,” Hardy said.
It’s just a little sad my brother and his wife are still waiting in line outside. They are missing out on this absolutely amazing hidden gem of Japanese culture Hardy said as he patiently waited his turn for a freshly wrapped piece of sushi.
Ticket price was 50 dollars per person for all the Sake and Sushi one could eat or drink, but they sold out quickly. For more details about the event or for future Japanese happenings visit Japanese Food Culture Association’s website www.japanfoodculture.org/