Over 30 foreigners from 17 nations (America, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Nepal, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, Uzbekistan, Vietnam) gathered in the City Hall Cafeteria on the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 4 to take part in a special food tasting event. 16 dishes, prepared by a well-known cooking school master using local ingredients, were laid out on tables. Foreign “food tasting monitors” were asked to try all 16 dishes and fill out a survey rating the taste of each dish, taking into consideration how well it might be received in their home countries.
Local companies and members of the Fukuoka Food Business Association provided all ingredients for the night’s menu, seeking the opinions of non-Japanese. These companies are interested in expanding overseas. Information gathered from the event will be used to refine recipes, in order to promote Fukuoka foods overseas in the future. Participating companies included: Ishibashiya (konyaku), Takahashi Shoten (seasonings), Ajino Hyoshiro (dashi/soup stock), Inokuchi Shokuhin (nori/seaweed), Hakata Uchikawa (mentai/spicy cod roe), Tsurumiso Jozo (miso), Aso Japan (ice-cream), Nishifuku Seicha (tea), Hiyoko (sweets), Hayashi Kyuemon Shoten (katsuobushi/tuna flakes) Kyushu Suzo (vinegar), Yamaguchi Aburaya Fukutaro (mentai/spicy cod roe).
From these company’s base ingredients, the head chef prepared a range of dishes to appeal to foreign tastes, such as Agodashi Buffalo Wings, Rice Paper Wraps with Mentaiko, Konjac Sushi, Miso Pizza, Egg Sandwiches with Norikuro Dip, Takana Ajillo and more!
The evening’s event kicked off with a few words from Mr. Sam Takashima, Executive Director of the International Business for Content Industry, Fukuoka City Government. Next, Nick Szasz of Fukuoka Now explained the night’s proceedings and opened the tasting session.
The event was abuzz as the foreign tasting monitors wandered from booth to booth, sampling the dishes and directly communicating their opinions with the company representatives. Companies were interested in how certain Japanese flavors were received by foreign taste buds, and which ways they should market their products. Along the way, tasting monitors filled out a survey sheet about each dish, including comments.
A local TV crew from TNC and reporters from local newspapers attended, taking footage and interviewing both the participating foreigners and company representatives throughout the night.
By 20:30, the tasting session was closed, and foreign tasting monitors were asked to complete their surveys. In all, it was a night of delicious Fukuoka foods and flavors for the participants, and a chance to provide the Fukuoka Food Business Association with some insight into the overseas market.