[FONT=Century Gothic]I always get so grumpy about ethnic foods when they aren't authentic. I especially get cranky about fakey Japanese food. Most of the stuff in the Western world that passes as Japanese isn't very Japanese. Well, my boss sent me this article and I burst out laughing. It's obvious that it's just something in my blood as a part-Japanese person!!
[/FONT]Japan to certify 'real' sushi
Fri Mar 16, 10:29 AM ET
TOKYO (AFP) - Japan on Friday approved a campaign to certify "real" Japanese food overseas, worried that a global sushi craze will bastardise its national cuisine.
The campaign comes despite international derision after a panel first made the recommendations last year, with some US restaurant owners and press reports mocking the creation of a "sushi police."
Agriculture Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka gave the go-ahead Friday on the panel's recommendations, which include creating a label for "authentic" Japanese restaurants overseas, a ministry official said.
The label will show that a restaurant or product is "real," taking into consideration factors such as ingredients and atmosphere.
Japan estimates the world will have some 50,000 restaurants purporting to serve Japanese food three years from now, double the current number, amid perceptions that the cuisine is healthy.
But culinary purists -- and some government officials -- have expressed horror at what can pass for Japanese food overseas.
"Japanese restaurants are sharply increasing throughout the world despite insufficient information on Japanese food and the ingredients characteristic of Japanese cuisine," said the report approved Friday.
"As a result, there is concern that the image and brand of Japanese cuisine is being damaged," it added.
In light of last year's criticism, the government said that it will have minimal involvement in the process. It said local groups will issue the labels, the exact shape of which is yet to be decided.
"The government will help finance the launching of this project and the fundamentals of this system, but the rest will be overseen by the private sector," said the agricultural ministry official.
"The local bodies will include food professionals, companies and even individuals. We want them to be as wide open to anyone as possible," the official said.