American Sushi Rice Gets Great Reviews in Japan
TOKYO, JAPAN — At FOODEX Japan last week, USA Rice hosted a taste-testing demonstration featuring a new style of sushi called Inari where the rice is wrapped in fried bean curd. The Inari sushi was made with American medium grain rice, flavored and colored with purple yam, vinegar, and beets.
More than three hundred seventy people visited the USA Agricultural Trade Office booth for a taste test and when asked for feedback on the new style sushi, more than 75 percent of those who responded said the Inari was good and presented many potential use opportunities for medium grain rice from the USA.
After garnering positive results at the FOODEX taste test, USA Rice plans to get input on additional sushi menu ideas from recipe consultants and sushi chefs, and promote those new recipes at FABEX, another major trade exhibition here in mid-April targeting the food service industry.
“Up to now we had promoted U.S. medium grain in salads, soups, risotto, and other non-traditional uses of rice,” said Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president international. “However, due to a recent Japanese government policy incentivizing the production of rice for feed use, there is a shortage of reasonably priced local rice available to the foodservice industry. The fact that U.S. medium grain is highly prized among Japanese consumers, coupled with research by the Japan Cooked Rice Association saying U.S. medium grain rice is perfectly acceptable in the production of sushi, gives us the green light to promote U.S. rice in that cuisine.”
Last year was the first time in several years the entire 100,000 MT of Simultaneous-Buy-Sell (SBS) quota of rice was purchased. Due to the strong demand for high quality imported rice, the U.S. sold 58,782 MT for a 59 percent market share and that demand has continued into 2018.