Preserving the genuine flavours of Japan

Masami AndoManaging Director of Japan External TradeOrganization (JETRO) Dubai and MENA
Masami AndoManaging Director of Japan External TradeOrganization (JETRO) Dubai and MENA

Fudo Nippon, an initiative by the Japan External Trade Organization, is set to bring authentic Japanese ingredients and variety to the UAE.

By Farhana Chowdhury

Published: Wed 16 Dec 2020, 8:31 AM

Last updated: Wed 16 Dec 2020, 10:49 AM

Japanese cuisine has captured the hearts and palates of people from all over the globe, especially in the UAE and Middle East region. Its distinct flavour profile, use of fresh ingredients and vibrant presentation is unique to its culture.

"One of the first impressions foreigners have of Japanese culture is the food - it is appealing, colourful and delicious. Many people in the region also love the ambience of a typical Japanese restaurant," said Masami Ando, Managing Director of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Dubai and MENA, who added that this further encourages diners to purchase ingredients and recreate dishes at home.

However, this rise in popularity has led to the increase of ingredients that are falsely marketed as "authentic Japanese". One of the most common being Wagyu, which exclusively refers to a cattle breed that is Japanese in origin and produces a unique marbling of fat on the inside of the muscle tissue.

"The wagyu beef we have here in the UAE are mostly Australian. In the coming weeks, we hope to raise awareness and start expansion, so that diners can experience the real Japanese wagyu," said Ando, adding that this will further cover other key ingredients native to Japan.

In this regard, JETRO has undertaken a new campaign called Fudo Nippon, which will run from December 14 this year until January 31, 2021.

Seal of authenticity

Designated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) in Japan and led by JETRO, the Fudo Nippon campaign will support the "Japanese Food and Ingredient Supporter Stores Overseas" certification programme, which was launched earlier this year.

The initiative is meant to give restaurants and retail outlets serving Japanese food and beverages, a seal of authenticity, and reassure consumers access to high quality, genuine products from Japan. Additionally, it aims to strengthen relations between Japan-based producers and their partners in the UAE and region, while supporting the agricultural, forestry, fishery and food sectors in Japan.

New ingredient categories

Japan is now looking to add a boost to the variety of ingredients currently in the UAE's F&B market. This involves raising awareness of the country's 900 registered varieties of rice that far exceed the standard quality, soy sauce, other seasonings, and seafood.

"Japan has a variety of delicious and expensive fish, and we would like to introduce them to the region for all to enjoy," added Ando. Marine products procured from Japan could further contribute to a rich and healthy diet.

Ando shared that residents and visitors in Dubai will be able to experience its significant taste at the Japan Pavilion in Expo 2020, which kicks off on October 1 next year and will run until March 31, 2022.

"We will host a sushi restaurant at a reasonable price, with a completely different type of rotating conveyor belt concept," he added.

Fudo Nippon exclusively at your fingertips

JETRO recently launched a microsite that features details of F&B outlets, speciality chefs, and exclusive dishes that proudly hold the "Japanese Food Supporters" certification. Japanese food lovers can also view recipes and learn more about the history and significance of their favourite dishes.

Visit to know more.

The Japan External Trade Organization is a government-related organisation that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. JETRO Dubai serves as a central base for the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Oman, and other countries in the Middle East region.

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