Friday, March 05, 2010
My photos can't really express the initial reaction upon entering the showroom floor at FoodEx 2010. Photography was not allowed, and I actually had to sneak in my giant SLR camera. But this things was... expansive. This industry only food event, the biggest event of it's kind in Asia.
I should explain how I got here. But first more photos of deliciousness.
Unlike the bullshit food event I went to a few months ago, this shit was legit. Actually, it's industry only. So instead of little old ladies pushing you aside to get some free samples, dudes in suits give you plenty of space to meet and talk business. FoodEx serves a very important purpose. Let people in all parts of the food industry meet and network. Find a buyer, find a seller. Oh yeah, and sample the goods.
After snacking on some 5000 yen fatty eel, I set my sights for my purpose here. Ramen.
Although I'm in no position (yet!) to be in business with people here, I wanted to meet everyone I could in the ramen or ramen ingredient industry. This meant noodle people, salt people, miso people, and on and on.
This event took up all of Makuhari Messe. If you've ever been to an event there, like an anime thing or video game thing, you know how massive that is. Over half was devoted to foreign foods, with each country getting a sizable lot to set up shop.
But I was in the Japanese section, talking ramen.
Actually, this event wasn't so rad for ramen makers. Most of the product is packaged. And though modern vacuum packing and quick freeze is great for meats and fish, a bowl of microwave noodles isn't too appetizing.
Manufacturing people were there too, and I was honored to chat with the people at Yamata, who make this behemoth.
The Type 1 M-A, besides being your future overlord when the machines take over the earth, mixes, rolls, and cuts your noodles. Just a gimmick you think? Go try the ramen at Ivan or Ippudo and think again.
They offer full support, including a monthly ramen university program.
150 - 600 servings in an hour. How much ramen do you want to serve today?
After talking to the noodle dudes, I headed out for some serious sampling. By the end of the day, I had eaten every food from everywhere in the world. And booze.
And water with diamonds in it? Designed by... Dice Klay? Oh shit, Andrew Dice Klay is in the overpriced water business? Fresh!
There were a few, as we say in the business, booth babes. But I couldn't be distracted!
From the Mexico section.
With real Mexicans making real Mexican food.
A Japanese take on the tequila shot. Instead of a lime try some ume boshi, pickled plum. God damn I miss Tequila from my life in California.
And dried chiles!
And fresh squeezed carrot juice from the local taqueria. Get me out of this nostalgia.
That's more like it!
Masuichi-Ichimura is my favorite sake brewer in Japan. I haven't sampled a ton of Japan's national drink, but I've had a fair share. The Hekiiken is amazing. I told them my thoughts, and the good stuff started to flow.
Speaking of booze, the Ed Hardy wine people are looking for a buyer in Japan. 2 words... Don Quixote.
Things like Austrian peppers and mushrooms stuffed with cheese are about 5 times the price in Japan. Armed with a toothpick and a stomach full of tequila and sake, I had no problem consuming a day's wage worth.
Followed by a Belgian beer served by a Belgian.
And more sake. This guy was asking white people to choose their favorite design stuff for a bottle. You know that's my green sticker next to the Naruto anime bottle!
Homey got hella mad at me for taking a picture of his magic sugar. In his defense though, if I could make sugar that looks like 24-carat gold, I'd guard that secret.
Canada was, you guessed it, all about the maple syrup.
Have I mentioned it lately? USA IS NUMBER ONE!!!!!! Fuck your Acorn fed Iberico pork or local Japanese swine. America is just... better!
After a long day of eating, drinking, and speaking Japanese, my brain was fried. But I actually considered skipping my High School's graduation ceremony the next day to come back, it was that rad. Life is nice when you have Tuesdays off and a friend in the food industry to hook you up with some passes to something like this. Peep the come up.