Japanese Food Culture: An Introduction with Mandy Bartok
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In 2013, UNESCO registered washoku, or traditional Japanese cuisine, as an intangible cultural heritage, creating a renewed interest in Japanese food across the globe. In this lecture, we’ll delve into the origins and some of the guiding principles of washoku. We’ll explore how seasonality and regionality influence the typical washoku diet, while learning how color, taste and cooking style feature into the overall presentation.
We’ll also discover the origins of popular Japanese dishes, from soba (buckwheat noodles), to sushi, to yoshoku (“western food”). Finally, we’ll take a spin through two different regions of Japan – Kyoto and Okinawa – to see how climate and culture have shaped their food traditions over the centuries. Join Mandy Bartok, a Tokyo-based travel expert for this tasty whirlwind through the wonders of washoku. Gain a better understanding of the culinary offerings for your trip to Japan, and come away with a new appreciation for what appears on one’s plate there and why.
Mandy Bartok originally hails from the US, but has lived in Japan since 2008. She has written for the travel section of the Japan Times, the nation's leading English language newspaper, and various other print and online publications. She has also worked as a travel consultant for several of Japan's regional governments and travel bureaus. Her true passion, however, is leading tours to Tokyo's undiscovered neighborhoods and teasing out the stories of the dynamic and captivating city she is fortunate to call home.