Friday, July 02, 2004

Food Museums


I admit it. I am one of those people who believes that many trends begin in Japan and then make their way here to the US. So it is with a balance of trepidation and excitement that I share with you the latest culinary trend in Japan--food theme parks.

The food theme park that sparked my interest in the concept is one featuring ice cream. The wackier world or Japanese ice cream to be precise. Apparently the Japanese have taken to ice cream and developed flavors that no one else had considered, such as oyster, seaweed, spinach, garlic, miso, and of course, chicken.

Ice Cream City, a new attraction at the theme park Nanja Town follows the success of two other food theme parks that opened in 2002--the Ikebukuru Gyoza Stadium where up to 23 restaurants serve different styles of the Japanese dumpling (similar to a Chinese pot sticker--see the photo above) and Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho which recreates an entire "gastronomic alley" that typifies Osaka dining.

If a trip to Japan isn't in the cards for you, while you wait for the fad to hit our shores, be sure to check out the web site of the first food theme park in Japan the Raumen Museum in Yokohama which opened in 1994. A Chinese noodle soup that was adapted to suit the Japanese palate, ramen is a favorite dish of mine and the site is so good, you could develop an appetite just surfing, unlike further explorations into Japanese ice cream...