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Culinary Tasting of Japanese Wagyu Beef and Polished Rice in Manaus City

February 10, 2023

On January 26, in Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas in northwestern Brazil, JETRO, in cooperation with the Consulate General of Japan in Manaus, held a tasting event for leading local buyers to explore the acceptability of both Japanese beef and polished rice products.

Manaus has a population of over 2.2 million. Japanese immigration to the city has a long history, dating back more than 90 years, and there are an estimated 30,000 Japanese Americans living in the city. There is a free zone in the city and many Japanese companies have established themselves in the city, so there are a small number of Japanese restaurants with a long history. On the other hand, the city is about 2,700 km away from São Paulo, where Japanese food has already penetrated, and the physical distance is considered to be a logistics cost problem related to food transportation, and awareness of Japanese food in Manaus is low and knowledge of the same is not well spread. Since there is no local market for Japanese wagyu beef and few people have had experience with Japanese polished rice, awareness of each product is low among consumers as well as restaurants and retailers. Therefore, JETRO aims to arouse the interest of more businesses and consumers, expand the market, and increase exports from Japan by holding a food tasting event using both products and exploring their acceptability.

The tasting was held at the official residence of the Consul General in Manaus, inviting the President of the Amazonas State Branch of the Restaurant Association, the President of the Chamber of Retail Business Owners of Manaus, Japanese restaurant owners, and journalists from local newspapers. JETRO staff explained the differences between Japanese and foreign Wagyu beef and provided information on the background of the high price of Japanese beef.

In the culinary presentation, a chef from the official residence served an elaborate menu, including Wagyu beef shabu-shabu, to raise interest in the foodstuff. Wagyu nigirizushi was a favorite among the participants. Other items served included wagyu cutlet sandwiches, hot spring beef salad, bowls of wagyu beef someni, and rice with bamboo shoots. Participants were impressed with the variety of dishes presented from the two ingredients and the way all the ingredients were utilized.

The taste was also highly evaluated, with one participant commenting, "If Manaus is to attract high-income tourists in the future, it will be necessary to have a lineup of rare wagyu beef. I would like to consider purchasing it. Where can I buy it? On the other hand, "Manaus is far away, and we need to consider the balance between cost and profit due to logistics," and "In order to make the most of the ingredients, we need to know how to handle and serve the ingredients through knowledge enlightenment of the ingredients. Based on this, planning to secure and expand sales channels in Manaus is important.


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