When Japanese food comes to mind, ideas immediately form. Sushi, ramen, katsu curry, yakitori. Meals that have taken the world by storm and can be found in some form or another just about anywhere these days. Yet there is so much more to explore and the depth to be found in Japanese food is truly extraordinary.
If you have a hunger to learn more about the beauty, history and flavours of Japanese food, then it’s time to add a new podcast to your list. Japan Eats!, hosted by Akiko Katayama, dives deep into the exciting world of Japanese cuisine.
Hosted by an expert
Katayama is the ideal host to tackle a subject as large and diverse as Japanese food. She’s a prolific food writer, the director of The New York Japanese Culinary Academy and the author of A Complete Guide to Japanese Cuisine. She’s also worked as a culinary advisor to the Japanese government and appeared as a judge on several high-profile cooking shows such as Iron Chef and Netflix’s The Final Table.
On Japan Eats!, she channels all of her culinary knowledge into interviewing other experts in the Japanese food and drink industry to bring more awareness to dishes, brands and initiatives.
For example, she’s interviewed Gaston Becherano, a maker of the traditional Japanese dessert kakigori and got to the bottom of what makes the dessert unique. Another foodie episode involved her speaking with Machiko Chiba, a famed Japanese chef responsible for creating the Cook-Zen microwave pot.
Japan Eats! also digs into Japanese drinks, with regular episodes on sake, shochu and whisky. One of the most interesting episodes in this section involves Katayama chatting with Sylvian Huet, the world’s first French sake samurai and the organiser of Sake Dul Salon.
Sharing the story of Japanese culture
Another great aspect of the podcast is that it isn’t only focused on Japanese food and drink. Katayama wants to share the full story of Japan through various mediums such as comedy and manga.
An example of this kind of episode is an interview with Kanariya Eiraku, a practitioner of Rakugo. This form of comedic storytelling was popular in 17th century Japan. A Rakugo storyteller sits on stage with a folding fan and hand towel, using only these props to craft a compelling narrative.
Japan Eats! has an incredible amount of content to listen to and be entertained by. Katayama gives all of her guests plenty of time to tell their own stories and share what makes the Japanese culinary scene so damn special. You can listen to the podcast on several major sites like Spotify, Heritage Radio Network and more.