Be it fish, seafood, vegetables or meat, Japanese chefs are famously protective of the “fruits” of the Japanese terroir, preferring to import produce from the Land Of the Rising Sun rather than to source locally.
However, a Japanese chef in Taipei has dared to be different. Ryohei Hieda is the head chef of Shoun Ryugin, an offshoot of the renowned Ryugin in Tokyo. Before he opened Shoun Ryugin, Hieda-san combed the bountiful local markets and farms for produce like sweet ayu, bluefin tuna, bonito, amadai, abalone as well as vegetables such as edamane and meats like forest pigeon. After an intensive period of local sourcing, which included working with local farmers to improve the quality of ingredients to be used in his restaurant, the chef now souces almost all his ingredients from within Taiwan.
In this short film, Hieda-san brings us to the Keelung Fish Market where he buys bonito fish and shows us how he incorporates the ingredients to prepare a secret dish in his restaurant.
Staff shortages are hitting the hospitality sector hard, prompting some restaurants to look outside the industry to train those without restaurant experience for life in the kitchen. Andrew Friedman finds out more.