Review: WABI - A Taste Of Japan

Words and images by Akai Tsuioku

On 7th - 8th July WABI: A Taste of Japan - a brand new Japanese food and drink event, arrived at Lindley Hall in London.  Well-known brands such as Japan Centre, Yutaka, and Clearspring exhibited at the event, alongside an array of sake companies, with attendees getting the opportunity to sample a large selection of Japanese food and drink.

At the opening of each of the four sessions, a barrel of sake was opened in a traditional ‘kagami biraki’ ceremony, which was a lovely nod to Japanese tradition.  On arrival visitors could collect their free WABI tasting glass - which they could then take home as a souvenir (with a WABI bag for easily carrying)!  

If unsure what type of sake to try, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) offered a quiz to find your sake style.  Visitors could then sample from a large selection, looking out for bottles marked with a sticker that matched their own personal style.  For those that prefer soft drinks, Mangajo had a selection of refreshing ice tea drinks which were perfect for a hot July day!  

Yutaka were serving up wasabi peas, curry, and pickles to tickle your taste buds, and for those that liked their food a little milder, Clearspring were offering samples of soba noodles, sea vegetable salad, and tofu.  The Zen Catering stall gave visitors the opportunity to marvel at sushi chef Asuka Tsuji creating beautiful and delicious dishes, and sample some unique flavours including lotus root chips, and ice cream in 3 flavours - yuzu, matcha, and black sesame.

Entertainment wise, guests were able to have some fun in the WABI photo booth, taking photos with props and Japanese themed backgrounds - a great souvenir of the day! Tying in with the Japanese celebration of Tanabata, WABI also offered a Tanabata tree, for people to hang their wishes on.  

A selection of demonstrations and workshops were on during the event - including how to make uramaki roll sushi, cooking with sake, and sake cocktail making.  WABI’s launch partner Japan Airlines held a competition for two return tickets to Japan, and at JAL’s stall visitors could try out their business class seating.  One can dream!   

We really enjoyed WABI, and after a successful and fun first event, we look forward to seeing what they have in store for us next year!