Bring your appetites when you come to the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society’s 18th annual Japanese Cultural Fair Oct. 21 at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre.
A variety of Japanese and Japanese-inspired foods are on the menu for the day to make sure that everyone can have a taste of the rich food culture of Japan and the Japanese community in Greater Victoria.
The homemade bento boxes are sure to fly off the shelves as they are one of the most popular — and delicious — items at the fair. Available with either chicken or in a vegetarian version, they come with rice, and delicious Japanese vegetables. This is the kind of traditional boxed lunch Japanese workers bring from home for their midday meal.
For those looking for a snack rather than the full meal of a bento box, there will be delicious homemade onigiri — rice balls. One of the most popular snack foods in Japan, the onigiri at the fair have either salmon or umeboshi (traditional Japanese sour plum) wrapped in rice and held together with a large piece of nori — the dried seaweed sheets used to make sushi rolls.
Another handmade and homemade treat is the ever popular manju. These traditional Japanese desserts have a flour and rice powder pastry-type shell wrapped around a sweet red bean filling. They are a true taste of Japan — and you’ll want more than one.
There will also be a wide variety the Japanese food that has become a staple in every corner of the world – sushi. Sushi’s origins are as a street food — something you picked up and ate at a small stand in the middle of a market. So the experience at the cultural fair is like a time travel trip to old Edo (the name of Tokyo before it became the capital in 1868).
Some folks wait the entire year for the cultural fair for the once-a-year and only-in-Victoria Japanese style treat — the YYJ dog. It may look like a hot dog. It may come in a bun. But the magical blend of special Japanese toppings make this a mouthwatering treat worth waiting for!
Admission to the fair is free — so mark your calendar and come hungry to enjoy a taste of Japan!