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Japanese Food & Sake Festival date announced

February 4, 2009 | 12:16 pm

Uechi2

Craving authenticity when it comes to Japanese food?  You can be sure that just about everything at the Hyatt Regency Orange County will be straight from Nippon next month at the second annual Japanese Food & Sake festival

The afternoon-long experience, sponsored in part by various Japanese government agencies, will give Japanophile foodies a chance to interface with some of their favorite brands (exhibitors include Sapporo beer, Marukome (miso soup makers) and Sun Noodle). 

And while the event will certainly carry a dry trade-show flavor (the first two hours will be an invitation-only, business-to-business reception), the open-to-the-public portion of the festival provides a fantastic opportunity for SoCal residents to network, learn and, of course, taste the bounty of flavors that the land of the rising sun offers.

Chef Uechi Katsuya will give a cooking and demo session in the afternoon, as will chefs from well-known restaurants such as Sushi Roku. And representatives from South Bay favorites such as Shin Sen Gumi and Musha will also have a presence at the food and sake soiree.

Speaking of sake, several notable brands will offer up samples.  After all, many of the growing number of imported sake companies have a footprint in Torrance, which is increasingly the location of choice for Japanese companies both large and small to base their U.S. operations. 

If you get bored with sipping sake or learning how to make that perfect, tightly rolled tekka maki from chef Katsuya himself, you can always chat with with the consul general of Japan, who will be at the event.  As the Japanese say, itadakimasu.

Japanese Food & Sake Festival: March 5, 5 to 8 p.m., Hyatt Regency Orange County, 11999 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove.  $40 tickets on sale now via this website or at the door (for $10 more).  The price admits one person and is good for free tastings at all booths. For more info call (818) 907-9764.

-- Charlie Amter

Photo: Katsuya Uechi at his latest restaurant, Kiwami. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times. 

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