The 68th Japanese Food & Culture Bazaar is exactly as it sounds: a celebration of culinary excellence and love for tradition that makes all things Japanese stand out in cosmopolitan California. A Sacramento Bee feature details preparations that transpired at the event, particularly the significant contributions made by the Sacramento Buddhist Church. In the spirit of the Bazaar, it’s not just the young ones who shouldered most of the work:
Tradition has driven the bazaar since its inception, of course. The dishes are prepared from family recipes handed down through generations, and the arts reflect a millennia-old culture. Many of the church member volunteers have been its lifeblood for decades, including some who were there at the start, such as Mitzie Muramoto, 89, and Molly Kimura, 90.
The experience can be roughly summed up as a mix of old and new, which is another thing that has allowed Japanese cuisine to remain fresh and contemporary while retaining its original identity. While ordinary people can create their own sushi and teriyaki recipes, these pale in comparison to the originals made with the knowledge passed down from multiple generations.
For instance, Mikuni Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar, one of the best restaurants in Sacramento, CA, follows suit by providing both traditional and modern incarnations of renowned Japanese dishes (like hamishi and gluten-free teriyaki). The chefs behind such creations know that Japanese cuisine is more intertwined with the culture that created it than most people think.
Traditionally, the Japanese prepared food according to the season. In spring, for example, most of dishes would incorporate bamboo shoots rather than chestnuts, which are abundant during fall. Fish and soy sauce are staples throughout the seasons, though, since the Japanese typically lack meat and dairy in their diet. As demonstrated in the Japanese Food & Culture Bazaar, recipes typically differ from one family to another.
Teriyaki is perhaps the best example because its taste largely hinges on the ingredients that go into the making of the sauce. Teriyaki sauce is typically made from soy sauce, sake, ginger, and sugar. Other variants make use of garlic, honey, and sesame oil. As such, teriyaki dishes served in the best Japanese midtown Sacramento restaurants are bound to have rather unique and tangy flavors. This only goes to show just how Japanese cuisine changes constantly while keeping certain things the same.
(Source: Japanese Bazaar is much more than food and arts, The Sacramento Bee, August 3, 2014)