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NEWS TRENDS

By Hiroshi Kawabata

Wismettac Asian Foods Inc. Premium Sake & Food Exhibition 2019 -Proposing a variety of high-quality Japanese food products-

ウイズメタックアジアンフーズ社  プレミアム・サケ&フードエキシビション2019 開催 ―高品質でバラエティーに富む日本の食品を提案―

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ismettac Asian Foods, Inc. held the “Premium Sake & Food Exhibition 2019” in the Business Expo Center in Anaheim, the suburbs of Los Angeles, Calif., on August 3. This event held for the 12th time in the Los Angeles area was attended by restaurant and grocery industry professionals and distributors totaling 1,200 attendees, the highest number of attendees on record. The venue consisted of four sections – the Alcoholic Beverage Section consisting of Japanese sake, shochu, and Japanese beer, the Food Section, the Japanese Dishware Section, and the Knives Section. The Alcoholic Beverage Section introduced over 70 alcoholic beverages by 25 breweries such as Junmai Daiginjo, Ginjo, Junmai, Barley Shochu, Potato Shochu, Buckwheat Shochu, Awamori, beers, etc., and offered samples. A line of participants formed before the sugar and gluten-free Awamori booth. Approximately 50 Japanese corporations affiliated with the food industry attended the Food Section. The booths were lined with sushi, okonomiyaki, noodle products such as ramen - now a fixture in the U.S. mainstream diet - and udon noodles, Wagyu (Japanese) Beef,

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frozen food products such as gyoza, condiments, Japanese tea and soft drinks, etc. The Shirakiku brand’s booth was lined with tofu donuts and sushi ingredients for vegans such as imitation tuna seasoned with tomato-based soy sauce and mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine), Grilled Eel Kabayaki prepared from eggplant, a salad-like rice dish prepared from quinoa, and various other healthy food products. Masato Kato of Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., described his aspirations, “We strive to offer not only authentic Japanese cuisine, but also food ingredients that compliment the American palate and new products to widen the consumption of Japanese cuisine. In the future, we’re striving to expand our sales for Japanese sake, shochu, and Awamori in U.S. affiliated markets.” A cocktail bar was installed in the center of the venue to serve Japanese sake and shochu-based cocktails to propose new and interesting ways to enjoy sake and shochu. Demi Stevens, a local restaurant owner in Los Angeles, presented a demonstration on “how to prepare special cocktails” using 14 different Japanese food ingredients such as yuzu citrus, togarashi chili peppers, shaved

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Takahisa Suzuki Managing Officer and General Manager Wismettac Asian Foods Inc.

bonito, etc. as he eagerly stated his motivations, “I’m not fastidious about selecting Japanese sake, but rather, I selected sake for its characteristics to create sake cocktails compatible with hamburgers and steaks. I see a lot of potential.” Since “Japanese cuisine” was registered by UNESCO as a world intangible heritage in 2013, interest in Japanese cuisine is soaring in the U.S. and worldwide. Many non Japanese-affiliated restaurant professionals attended this event along with restaurant owners and chefs, who asked questions about the difference in raw materials, differences from other brands, etc. Takahisa Suzuki of Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., stated, “Highquality Japanese food products offering great variety are familiar not only to Japanese-Americans, but also to local American consumers. For this exhibit, we’ve gathered many convenient, hassle-free, high-quality food products consumable as soon as the packaging is opened. Also, in addition to the conventional renowned Japanese sake brands, we’ve also included a new line-up of chocolate-flavored, strawberry-flavored, and yogurt-flavored

sake products. In this exhibit, the Grilled Eel Kabayaki prepared from eggplant seasoned with sweet eel sauce is very popular. Japanese sake is an important product for the Japanese government’s strategy to expand export, with increasing opportunities for Japanese sake brewers to visit the U.S., so we’d love to continue supporting these products in the future,” Suzuki explained. When questioned what products he’d like to distribute in the future, Suzuki answered, “We’re currently distributing our original brand of Shirakiku Rice along with major brands. We’d like to continue distributing high-quality food products at reasonable prices to advance our sales strategy to further expand our market,” Suzuki commented. Company Overview Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. was established in Kobe, Japan in 1912, currently one of the oldest and most experienced importer, wholesaler and distributor of Asian food products in North America. Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. (formerly Nishimoto Trading Co., Ltd.) is a vital part of Nishimoto Wismettac Group with over 1,200 employees across 40 branches.

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