hyper japan 2011 highlights

POSTED 01 August 2011 IN Spirit Of Japan

There were queues around the block again at Olympia on Sunday the 24th of July – the final day of 2011’s Hyper Japan event. If you didn’t make it, here’s what you missed out on. The venue was packed every day, with many people dressed in beautiful, traditional kimonos or famous manga characters, and for those that didn’t made the effort, there were opportunities to dress up as a geisha or a samurai warrior and have their photo taken. There were also stage performances from comedians, musicians, and kabuki players, stalls selling magazines, books, films and games, and, of course plenty of tastings of sake, yakitori and sushi, which is where Feng Sushi comes in.

Our own Silla, co-founder of Feng Sushi, was one of five sushi-makers in the 2011 Sushi Making Championships, and over the weekend, the sushi chefs served over 1,800 people with the most delicious sushi they’re ever likely to sample. Each taster could vote on their favourite, and choices were counted but the final decision was made by Anton Edelmann – a sushi connoisseur – who had the impossible task of deciding between the finalists.

Competition was fierce, as the five competitors introduced a great deal of originality to create a unique maki roll, and Edelmann acknowledged that the standard was very high indeed:

‘Seafood Garden Roll’ – a sushi roll made up of tuna, salmon, amberjack and crab wrapped in cucumber by the head chef of Chisou

‘Water Please!’ was a fusion of Korean and Japanese, with salmon marinated in kimchi (a spicy pickled vegetable sauce) by Moshi Moshi’s head chef

‘Creamy Roll’ by the head chef of SO restaurant incorporated wild scallops and avocado

‘Summer on a Plate’ was a clever use of different parts of yellowtail to reveal its different textures by Feng Sushi’s Silla who created a crispy tempura and a tartar mixed with yuzu-flavoured tobiko, all courtesy of CleanSea.

In spite of a huge number of votes, Silla didn’t win this year and the award went to Matsuri St James’s chef Asuka Kobayashi:

‘Precious Memories’ fused a childhood steeped in Italian culture (thanks to her mother running a pizza restaurant) with her home prefecture of Nagano, famous for red wine, resulting in a sushi roll of two halves: marinated salmon with sun-dried tomato puree, basil and mascarpone surrounded by sushi-vinegared and red-wine vinegared rice, served with a ginger and sesame crisp cracker.

Despite the intense competition and hard work, all the chefs agreed that the competition was great fun.

The entire event was a resounding success, so much so that, by late Sunday afternoon the Asahi stall had ran out of beer and the ‘learn to make sushi’ classes were fully booked, but those who missed out can console themselves with the knowledge that sushi classes are held at Feng Sushi monthly.

Another piece of good news is that 10% of the net revenue from the event will be donated to the Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund.

We’re looking forward to Hyper Japan 2012 already.