Hello Japanese Food Expo 2020!

Hello Japanese Food Expo 2020!

This January 25, 2020; a very special event happened Loews Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood, California. Right at the heart of Hollywood; the Japanese Food Expo 2020 took place. Visitors got to experience authentic Japanese food, drinks, performances and cultural experiences.

This event was presented by the Japanese Food Culture Association and there were over 30 boothes showcasing premium tastes from Japan, Tokyo Street Food, Japanese sake and beer and Japan tourism.

The Japanese Food Expo this year had the very popular Sake and Beer Alley.

Showcasing 20+ premium sake brands; one could taste various sake of all kinds of flavors from pineapple to lychee to honey citrus. There was also popular beers from Sapporo, Suntory and Asahi.

The Sake Alley was amazing but not to be outdone was savory foods. The expo had so many savory delights.  There was sushi, chicken karaage, curry, okonomiyaki, noodles and more.

One of our first stops was Cup Curry.

There was rice on the bottom, curry in the middle and cheese on top. It was the cutest curry cup ever and one tasty one too!

Another fun stop was the Karaage Stick booth.

Chicken karaage is definitely one of my favorite Tokyo street foods. Here at the 2020 Japanese Food Expo; the karaage stick had a unique touch. It consisted of two pieces of Japanese fried chicken karaage and one marshmallow all drizzled in sushi sauce. It was different and delicious!

Sushi of course could not be missing at a Japanese Expo.

There was plenty of sushi to go around courtesy of the Suzumo International Corporation. Fresh seafood made for yummy eats.

There was also Chirashi from JFC International Inc.

Chirashi sushi is “scattered” sushi. Here at the Japanese Food Expo the scattered mix was in a bowl of rice with vegetables and lots of fish

Another delightful booth featured okonomiyaki; the traditional Japanese food pancake.

Made from Osaka style Okonomiyaki flavor; this was indeed something food expo visitors were sure to like! (Trivia: the word Okonomiyaki is derived from the two words:  okonomi, meaning “how you like” and yaki meaning “cooked.”

Aside from the savory; there were plenty of sweet treats all round as well.

There was Japanese Style Popcorn that you could make savory or sweet to your liking.

Toppings for customizing your popcorn included curry honey sauce, miso honey, yukari butter and furikake butter.

Dessert delights awaited at the Matcha Soft Serve station.

The Matcha Soft Serve was topped with rice crackers “arare!” Arare is bite-sized Japanese crackers made flavored with soy sauce.

Another favorite Japanese dessert is mochi. At the Japanese expo they were serving some scrumptious strawberry mochi.

The mochi had a giant strawberry in the middle and was topped with read bean paste.

Pear- Yokan by Niigatta was one delightful treat all the way from Japan

Le Lectier Pears are grown on the banks of the Shinano river in Japan. Once they are harvested, Yokan by Niigata adds a sweet bean mixture making for a soft texture and a lovely taste.

One very popular booth was Traditional Japanese Candy Art performed by artist Candy 5.

Candy 5 was making each delicate and unique sculpture by hand and molding them. She was making customized candy art of people’s pets as well as cute character favorites. Hello Kitty love!

Speaking of cute characters; one highlight of the was the event was being a contestant of the onigiri character bento completion.

It was 15 minutes to design your own onigiri characters. My hands were shaking the whole time hehe! I didn’t win but I sure did have a lot of fun. I chose to make Hello Kitty with her boyfriend Dear Daniel.

The Japanese Food Expo was one great event! It was amazing to see and taste so many exquisite Japanese food creations and drinks. Oishi! I can’t wait for next year ;).

Hello Benihana Vegetarian eats!

Hello Benihana Vegetarian eats!

It’s the Lenten season again and for this Hello Kitty Foodie, it means no meat for 40 days. When this time of year comes around, I always wonder what my options are when dining out. This March, I had a Benihana certificate that I needed to use. I was at first a little worried that dining at Benihana would be a challenge for my Lent vegetarian diet. I was however happy to see that it was no challenge at all. There were plenty of meatless items that I could eat!

The vegetable roll is perfect for vegetarians and for the Lent! I am normally not a sushi eater because I’m not a fan of any kind of seafood. This sushi roll however had no crab meat or salmon that I normally see in sushi. It’s all veggies. It has green leaf, avocado, cucumber, tomato, red cabbage and yamagobo. Yay to no seafood! I think I may have found the perfect sushi for me.

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Another great non- meat option was the vegetable tempura. I’ve always been a fan of Benihana’s tempura. The vegetable tempura consisted of fried veggies like zucchini, squash, calliflower and carrots. Fresh and hot, the tempura was delicious.

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Today’s Benihana vegetarian eats is the first of many of my meatless dining adventures during Lent. I was happy to find Benihana’s various vegetarian options. Their non-meat dishes is equally as delicious as my other favorites here. I’m happy to be able to try something beyond my normal order of lunch boats and teppanyaki. Little surprises = a happy little hello kitty foodie.