Japanese culture is often imitated, yet never duplicated. Get a taste at the depachika (an elaborate food court found inside Japanese department stores) opening today in Grand Central Terminal, showcasing regional sweets and eats from across the country as part of the fourth annual Japan Week.
Vendors will offer bento boxes, ramen (ready made and kits to try at home), mazemen , green tea treats from ice cream to cake, hummus made from tofu and more. Street food masters from Osaka will be making their takoyaki (fried balls of octopus and dough) fresh all day. Round out your meal with one of the too-cute-to-eat desserts ( wagashi ) at Minamoto Kitchoan and a sake bar (after 4 p.m.) or the Beer Table Pantry, which will turn over its taps to Japanese brews from Kiuchi , Baird and Yo-Ho (noon-3:30 p.m.)
Local celebrity chefs Shigetoshi Nakamura (Ramen Lab) and Ivan Orkin (Ivan Ramen) will put in an appearance (Feb. 20, 10:30 a.m.) to chat about regional ramen styles in Japan that haven’t crossed the pond yet. Bet they don't agree that ramen is over.
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Japan Week depachika
Feb. 18-20, 11 a.m.
Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall