Cross-Cultural Culinary Fusion: Integrating Japanese Umami into Saudi Arabian Cuisine (81093)

Session Information: Food and Culture
Session Chair: Supathida Kulpavaropas

Sunday, 26 May 2024 15:40
Session: Session 4
Room: Room 701
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

Cultural Studies explores how culture influences individual experiences and social dynamics. A key example is food culture, which impacts personal experiences. The purpose of this study is to explore ways to connect Japanese and Saudi Arabian food cultures through the Japanese food element, especially umami, one of the five basic tastes, to incorporate it into Saudi Arabian cuisine. The objective was to deepen Saudi Arabians' understanding of umami in their cuisine and to revive their traditional food tastes, which are diminishing due to contemporary food trends. The method included a workshop, interviews, and a questionnaire. Firstly, as a the sole Japanese government-appointed food ambassador to Saudi Arabia, I conducted a workshop in Jeddah to educate Saudis about umami. Then I interviewed approximately 20 Saudi nationals and administered a questionnaire to 44 people living in Riyadh. Two significant findings emerged: firstly, two Saudi chefs successfully incorporated umami into their traditional recipes; secondly, some participants, including female chefs, found Japanese ingredients evoked their mothers’ cooking. This suggests the possibilities of umami receiving global recognition and transcending cultural boundaries. Moreover, chefs can leverage umami to evoke cultural memories, while food companies can enhance their local and global food culture through products incorporating umami. In conclusion, this study on the blending of Japanese and Saudi Arabian food cultures highlights the potential of umami as a unifying culinary element across diverse cultures, and also emphasizes the importance of food education in the context of cultural exchange.

Taki Sato, Ritsumeikan University, Japan

About the Presenter(s)
Mr Taki Sato is a University Postgraduate Student at Ritsumeikan University in Japan

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00