Many of my overseas friends ask me, how safe is it in Japan now? What often weighs heavy on their minds is the fact that back on March 11 2011, a disaster struck and radioactive matters have been creeping into to our daily lives since.
Even locals would ask, "how safe is our domestic (Japanese) food now, especially the ones coming from Fukushima prefecture?".
Last night, was fortunate enough to attend a special dinner organized by the Fukushima Prefectural government held at plate tokyo. It was part of the series of events to promote Fukushima products, and the Executive Chef of plate tokyo, Takayuki Tsuruoka, was the cohost of the dinner. Not long after Mar 11, he along with other chefs all around Japan signed up as a member of the Fukushima Supporting Chef Group. Though the site is only in Japanese, please do visit it: fukushima-kensanpin-ouen.jp
I learnt lots about the history, details, and safety of Fukushima meat and produce, and of course got to enjoy them too! Chef Tsuruoka prepared golden shiitake mushrooms and nashi (Japanese apple pears), both very Asian ingredients in a sophisticated contemporary French style. Attendees were able to savour all the beautiful flavours along with Fukushima sake and even honey wine! Yes, you heard right, wine made from honey!
The mater of fact is that the Japanese government has the strictest of food standards beyond that of the EU or the United States. The meat and produces grown with loving care in Fukushima, are not only safe to eat, but are absolutely delicious!
There are the culinary highlights of the evening:
- Marinated Fukushima golden shiitake with nashi (we had the akizuki variety of nashi, which is in season right now)
- Golden shittake mushroom confit with assorted mushrooms
- Red wine poached nashi with baked custard pudding
- Honey wine produced in Aizu, Fukushima called "Aizu Mead"
So, I now ask not only my overseas friends, but also ones living in Japan, please please go buy and eat Fukushima produce to support the people of Fukushima. The earthquake may have hit 3 years ago, but the road to recovery is far from close. It's a long journey, and what we can do to chip in for this effort is simple and delicious!
I still remember a dear friend of mine who took me to a Fukushima chicken specialty restaurant back in 2011 who said the exact same thing. Honestly, didn't know such a kind of store existed until then. Really, food culture really runs deep for the Japanese people.
A big thank you in advance for your support, and another thank you to the Fukushima government and the staff of plate tokyo for hosting such an impacting event!