This weekend, the Fancy Food show at the Moscone Center means a lot of international food and wine professionals will be doing business here. For those in the trade, it means the chance to sample and trend watch: green tea powder, flavored chocolates, and salty snacks abound. A new and potentially fun twist is in the works for those outside the trade with the launch of the first ever Japan Food Festival, which includes free garlic edamame with lunch purchases at the JapaCurry food truck for the first 200 customers (612 Mission on Jan. 16; 200 Sansome on Jan. 17) and Onigilly (343 Kearny St.) in downtown San Francisco.
Ten local restaurants are getting in on the action and offering special and creative dishes made with traditional Japanese ingredients Jan. 18 to 26. The same ingredients will be showcased at the Japan MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) booth at the Fancy Food show and range from mirin to sprouted black sesame paste, mulberry tea, sake, yuzu-suko (yuzu hot sauce), mixed grain Konnyaku noodle, sesame oil, and sumo miso.
During the Japan Food Festival itself, Nombe's ramen burger is one of the offerings you can nab and bound to be as popular as ever. There are also goodies at Ame (Shiokoji cured ocean trout with Sanshu Mikawa mirin, sprouted black sesame paste and mulberry tea), Anzu (beets with creamy sesame mayo dressing and green tea; Misoyaki black cod) Brasserie S&P at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Hana green tea mousse with purple yam genoise and candied purple potato), Chotto (vegetable ramen and kinoko mushroom pasta with pure sesame oil and vegetables; beef tongue), Delica (Hiko Mago Junmai Ginjo-shu Japanese sake; bento box and Gen-My brown rice drink), Kyu (beef tataki and seafood salad), Nojo (gyoza with baby broccoli, ginger and chile black sesame sauce; Nojo fries), Onigilly (onigiri) and Roku (isobe fried burdock root with dried bonito flavoring, bamboo shoots and squid with spicy miso and yuzu) -- a pretty good variety of type of places to start. The process for exactly which restaurants made the cut still remains a mystery, but we learned that the local Japanese consulate representatives had input on local faves.