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Japan Week is an annual promotional tourism event organized by the Japan National Tourism Organization. I’d actually never heard of it, but a friend asked me if I wanted to go and it piqued my interest. It was a 3 day event held at Grand Central Terminal from February 18-20.
The event was set up like a small fair and there were many different events and exhibitions. One half was all cultural and tourism stands and the other side was all food stands that were supposed to resemble a depachika. Depachika are these amazing huge food halls in the basements of department stores that I absolutely love.
I went and picked up lunch the last two days and also went to the sake tasting event at night on the last day. It wasn’t too crowded at lunch, but it was quite busy at night once everyone got off work.
The depachika side featured stalls from Mitsuwa Market, Sun Noodle, Daigaku Imo, Japan Dotonbori Takoyaki, Minamoto Kitchoan and beard papa’s.
Daigaku Imo (Crispy Stick Sweet Potato)
This was a stall selling frozen daigaku imo, which are candied sweet potato. The outside was crispy caramelized sugar and the sweet potato was nicely soft. These were actually quite good and I would not have guessed they were frozen if I didn’t know. 7.75/10
Nishin Fish Roll
This was from Mitsuwa Market. It pickled herring sushi with mushroom and cucumber in the middle. This was good, it tasted fresh and I love pickled herring so I was satisfied with it. 7.75/10
Ikameshi (Sticky Rice Stuffed Squid)
This was from Mitsuwa Market. This is a dish from Hokkaido which was the body of a squid stuffed with sticky rice and cooked in a dashi. I’ve only had this dish a couple of times. It was very mild tasting and I thought was pretty decent although not amazing. 7.5/10
This was from Mitsuwa Market. It’s thinly sliced beef that had been cooked in a sauce made of soy sauce, mirin and sugar. It was served over rice with a side of tamago (egg omelet), kamaboko (fish cake) and vegetables. The guy told me that they traditionally serve this at train stations. I thought it was quite tasty; the type of thing you could eat all the time. 8/10
Hagi No Tsuki
This was from Mitsuwa Market. These were small custard filled sponge cakes. They were delicate and the custard was light and airy. I thought these were absolutely delicious. 8.25/10
Marusei Butter Sandwich
This was from Mitsuwa Market. These were two soft cookies with sweet butter, cream cheese and raisins in the middle. The cream was light with a slight sour taste to it and the raisins gave it sweetness. I thought these were really good as well. 8.25/10
Dan Dan Men
This was from Sun Noodle. It was in this interesting plastic bowl where the ground pork in sauce was separate from the noodle, you dumped the meat and sauce into the noodles then covered it and microwaved it for 2 minutes. If you didn’t know Sun Noodle provides ramen noodles to most major ramen shops, so as to be expected the quality of the noodles was excellent even though they were microwaved. The noodles came out nicely al dente with a nice chewy texture. The sauce was quite creamy because of the sesame and not very spicy. It almost tasted more Italian than Japanese or Chinese. It was pretty good although I wish it had been spicier and less creamy. 7.75/10
This was from Japan Dotobori Takoyaki, which I believe is a shop from Osaka. These were your standard takoyaki, but they were excellent quality maybe the best takoyaki I’ve had in NY. 8/10
Overall, it was a great event and it’s worth checking out next year.