For the love of Japanese cuisine

An array of Japanese dishes.

The Japanese community in Bengaluru has grown from 600 residents to 1,300 and from 165 companies to 507 in the past five years. So it goes without saying that the number of Japanese restaurants in the city has also grown in a short amount of time.

Matsuri in The Chancery Hotel and Harima on Residency Road are the two restaurants that many immediately think of when you mention the cuisine.

Toru Kimata, the director of Toyota Enterprise India Pvt Ltd, says, “I’ve been here for the last three years and my thoughts about India has changed a lot since then. People are friendly and there is no dearth of Japanese cuisine here.”

He opines that the cuisine has become popular as a large number of professionals have visited the country and have been exposed to it. “Japanese cuisine is considered to be one of the healthiest as you get to taste most of the ingredients in its freshest form. Most of the nutrients are still intact. Thanks to the travels, people want to come back to India and still enjoy our cuisine,” he adds.

Chef Okano from Matsuri says that the most popular dishes include sushi, sashimi, ramen and beef dishes. “It’s very expensive to import the ingredients, so we try to use as many local ingredients as we can. Yes, this does alter the taste but we try to make the best use of what is available here,” he adds. While the salmon is sourced from Norway, tuna is bought from Kerala and local vegetables include sweet potato, eggplant, spring onion, carrot and so on. Ingredients like soya sauce, miso and tofu are also the ones that are available here.

Consul general of Japan Takayuki Kitagawa’s favourite is wagashi from Japan Travel Cafe Azuki on Residency Road.

Wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets which are made with ingredients like bean paste and mochi. It could also include green tea ice cream, shaved ice dessert or a type of pancake.

“This restaurant’s chef is the only one who is making wagashis in all of India, as far as I know.

She was sent to Japan for about three years to learn how to make these,” he states.

In the past few years that he has been in the country, he realised that one doesn’t have to be a trained Japanese chef to run the restaurant. Kitagawa-san adds, “Many of the 
Japanese restaurants (also the ones that one under the Pan-Asian category), the chefs are not Japanese. Everyone understands the importance of the cuisine but adapt it in a way that it suits the Indian palate as well.”

A fan of the cuisine, Preethi Dilip Kumar, has tried Japanese dishes from around the world. “I’ve realised that each place localises the flavours but the authentic one has a subtle taste and you can taste the freshness in flavour. In India, chefs add chilli and other spices to suit our palates.”

Some of the restaurants that serve Japanese dishes
Matsuri, The Chancery Hotel
Harima, Residency Road
Sakae Japanese Restaurant
Yataii, Shangri-La Hotel
1Q1, Queens Road
Edo Restaurant and Bar, ITC Gardenia
Hae Kum Gang, Ashok Nagar
Shiro, UB City, Shantinagar
Shizusan Shophouse and Bar, Whitefield
OKO, The Lalit Ashok Bangalore

Japanese pizza

There will soon be Japanese pizza shops in four locations. including Indiranagar and Koramangala.

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For the love of Japanese cuisine

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