Food: Learn from what we eat programme's 5th session showcased Japanese food and culture
(caption for the above picture) Participants at the Japanese session on April 23. (picture courtesy Manish Pandey)
- to register your interest for June's Nigerian food session, please email Kevin Park at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Canterbury Japanese Society was invited to share the cuisine of Japan at the Health, food and culture session held in late April.
It was a wonderful Sunday Autumn day at the Hagley Community College with 38 attendees looking, listening, learning and asking about the dishes being prepared and questions on other aspects of Japanese food and its history.
Those attending arrived at 11am and listened to an introduction from Kevin Park, Community Liaison for the Canterbury Migrants Centre. Then the volunteers demonstrated the items - Salmon rice ball with a toasted nori sheet, Pan grilled Pork with Ginger, Chicken Teriyaki, Dashimaki Tamago (egg roll), Pickled Daikon (large white radish) and Carrot with Vinegar, Spicy & Mild Miso Soup, Brocolli with ground sesame, along with being shown how to make Japanese steamed rice using either a rice cooker or a pot.
Volunteers from the Canterbury Japanese society that taught the lesson came originally from the Tokyo area and included President Kazzy Matsuzaki, Mrs. Mitsue and daughter Hinata Takei, Kazumi Campbell and husband Aaron Campbell (a kiwi who worked as a chef in Tokyo for several years). They explained that regional differences make for vast variety throughout Japan that spans from tropical climates in the southern island chain which includes Okinawa, then moving through a more temperate area of west Japan including Hiroshima, Kobe towards Tokyo then to the far north and much cooler climate of Hokkaido. Portuguese influence in Nagasaki brought about Tempura cooking and Castella cake and in recent years a strong western/ American influence has led to hamburgers becoming popular along with many other ‘fast foods’.
Japanese show a lot of respect to the seasonal availability of food, this includes both Chefs and homemakers. This carries over into the design of a meal, whether an item might be served hot or chilled, what plates or dishes might be used in the presentation (size, shape and colour are important) and how multiple items could be arranged on a tray for a guest for their enjoyment. Usually all items are brought out together, except dessert. Though you might get offered to start with your miso soup in a Christchurch restaurant, it normally isn’t served as a separate course- the balance of the multiple items will have already been taken into consideration.
Following the demonstration, everyone got to sample the dishes for themselves and enjoy a good chat with the others attending. We finished off with a group photo outside.
Though there won’t be a May session, in June you can register for the Nigerian Food session.