In an effort to find new and innovative dishes, the Japanese restaurants in Calgary have been bringing their traditional Japanese dishes back into the mainstream.
They are now in the spotlight as part of the first-ever Japanese cuisine tour in the country.
“There’s a lot of food from the past that’s now being brought back to Calgary,” said Shigeo Ishida, co-owner of Sakai Cafe.
“It’s not just Japanese food, it’s more than just Japanese cuisine.
There’s a whole lot of stuff that’s still in Japanese cuisine that has been brought back into our culture.”
The food has been imported from Japan, and is usually served with a small amount of local ingredients such as ginger and tamari.
In addition to the traditional dishes, guests are greeted with a wide selection of Japanese snacks and pastries.
“We want to make sure that the guests have a taste of Japan,” said Ishida.
“That’s what we want to emphasize.
That’s what our food is meant to represent.”
The tour takes place in September, and will take visitors on an adventure through the history of Japanese cuisine in Calgary.
“The Japanese were the first ones who brought Japanese food to Calgary, but it wasn’t the first,” said Matsuhiko Takahashi, chef-owner and owner of Japanese Café.
“I think the Japanese came to Calgary about 500 years ago.”
Sakai Cafe is a fusion restaurant in the heart of Calgary’s Chinatown.
It has been serving traditional Japanese cuisine since 1996.
“They’re coming here because they want to experience Japanese food in a different way than most other restaurants in the city,” said Takahashi.
Takahashi said it’s the combination of the old and the new that makes this new food special.
“When we first opened our restaurant, the idea was to make it feel like you’re in the old days,” said Nakanishi.
“We’ve tried to bring some of the traditions that were brought over here, but at the same time we’ve added modern food and we’ve tried something new that we think will appeal to everyone.”
Takuhashi said he hopes people will be drawn to the new cuisine as a way to remember the past and to celebrate the history.