About Time Japanese Street Food Gets The Recognition It Deserves Chef Asami Indo

With an aim to offer more than just sushi when it comes to Japanese cuisine, Asami Indo, Harajuku Tokyo Cafe's Partner Chef, is working hard to cater to the Indian palate
 Harajuku Tokyo Cafe, situated in Delhi's Saket area, is a hit among its customers. Credit Harajuku Tokyo Cafe
Harajuku Tokyo Cafe, situated in Delhi's Saket area, is a hit among its customers. Credit Harajuku Tokyo Cafe

If you are a fan of gorging on colourful Japanese-style snacks and desserts while sitting in fanciful surroundings, then you are in for a treat. The Harajuku Tokyo Cafe, situated in Delhi's Saket area, is a hit among its customers. With its cute and easy-on-the-eyes design and interiors, the cafe serves a range of Japanese dishes that will satisfy your taste for sure.

The cafe, which caters to people from all over Delhi-NCR, offers a variety of Japanese culinary delights, including boba tea, freshly baked Japanese jiggly cheesecake, specially crafted Japanese desserts and bread, and made-to-order street food like takoyaki, chicken karaage, and the twelve-inch-long Japanese fries. It also offers fun desserts, the well-known Harajuku crepes, ramen, and sushi, amongst other lip-smacking dishes.

OT visited the Harajuku Tokyo Cafe to get a sense of its much-talked-about food and to chat with Tokyo-based Asami Indo, its partner chef, who was visiting India.

According to you, how is Japanese food culture influencing and changing the Indian taste bud
People, especially millennials, love experimenting with new cuisines. The Indian audience was sceptical about trying authentic Japanese cuisine, primarily since sushi has been associated mainly with raw fish and was not so palatable or accessible to Indians, being mostly served in expensive five-star hotels. However, the perception, in general, has started to change with the rise in popularity of modern Japanese cuisine and the introduction of different ingredients in sushi, especially vegetarian ones. The interest in this Japanese dish amongst Indians has been quite phenomenal. Not only sushi, but people also love all the new dishes we have introduced at Harajuku.

Harajuku Tokyo Cafe's desserts are much liked among the customers. What is the secret behind making a perfect Japanese dessert
Japanese pastries and desserts are light as air and are a little less sweet. Timing, temperature and the method of folding the batter are crucial for making light and fluffy cakes, pancakes etc.

What are some of the qualities of Japanese cuisine that make it stand out in India
Japanese food is generally perceived as nutritious because we use minimal oil or added sugars, don't use too many intensely flavoured sauces and have minimum cooking time to preserve the nutrients. I think people are more health conscious, and Japanese cuisine has become hugely popular in India. Besides, people, especially millennials, love experimenting with new cuisines, and I feel it's about time that Japanese street food and bakery get the recognition and popularity they deserve.

What are the similarities between Indian and Japanese food cultures
Japanese cuisine does have some synergies with the Indian palate. The curries taste similar to Indian curry, although the Japanese curry is milder and has a bit of western influence. Some spices used in Japanese cuisines, like Shichimi (red chilli powder), also appeal to the Indian palate. Also, we are using lots of fresh vegetables, which Indians love. Rice and curry, of course, are the most common ingredients/food staples in both cuisines.

What are some of your favourite Indian ingredients that you like to experiment with and incorporate into your recipes
I enjoy spices in Indian food, like red chilli powder, curry powder, black pepper, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, and cumin.

What is beyond sushi and sashimi that one should look for in a Japanese menu
While there have been many Pan Asian restaurants that have come up, the Japanese bakery and street food culture is still a very new concept for Indians. We have brought authentic dishes like fluffy, freshly baked cotton cheesecake, jiggly Japanese souffle pancakes, curry pans (fried bread stuffed with a curry-based filling), Parfaits (a trendy Japanese dessert like an ice cream sundae with fresh fruit and jellies), the Taiyaki, Dorayaki (pancakes sandwiched with Nutella), Katsu curry, Crispy Karaage, Japanese long fries, the light as air Japanese bread and cakes.

Location Select City Walk Mall, Saket District Centre 1st Floor, New Delhi

Phone 011 4510 2253

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