By Marisa Takahashi and Hidenori NakamuraThe Japanese chef behind one of the world’s most popular Japanese food items is using kitchenware created from Japanese food, including sushi rice.
Kawaii Kitchenware, based in Tokyo, is one of several Japanese food restaurants to sell a range of high-end kitchenware from Kawaii, the name of the popular dish of rice cakes made with seaweed, seaweed oil, and a variety of other ingredients.
The Kawaii Kitchen, which opened in February, has become an institution in Japan, said Kawaii chef Akihiro Uchida, who runs the shop with his wife, Tetsuya.
“I thought I’d try to make it more of a regular Japanese restaurant,” he said.
“The food is not the main reason for our existence.
We don’t eat rice cakes but we like to make them for our guests.”
The Japanese rice cakes, called ikura-ryoku (or ikira), are a staple of the region’s sushi culture.
They are made with fish, squid, and other ingredients and are typically served with a side of soy sauce.
Uchida said the new wares, which are priced at up to 300,000 yen ($32) each, are meant to give the restaurant a “fancy Japanese taste”.
The ikuras come in a range from “traditional” to high-class, and come in various styles.
Uchide said he has a collection of ikuria, a collection that includes a Japanese-style kawaii kimono and other items.
He said he wanted to show the Japanese people, especially young people, that the Kawaii kitchen was still special.
“We wanted to make this restaurant as good as the original,” he added.