Hobby Cooking Fair 2015 – April 23rd-25th, Tokyo Big Sight

Hobby Fair - purchases and samples
Hobby Fair – purchases and samples

I have a friend who works in the food industry. He gets lots of free samples of many delicious things and he always knows when their is something food-related going on. I tell him that that is the only reason we’re friends.

This week was the Japan Hobby Show, which involves an amazing array of crafts. I wish I’d had time to look around because there was everything from knitting, jewellery-making, art… and many kinds of creativity that I simply don’t know the name of! However, I’m not creative in that way. I’m only creative when it comes to finding different ways of filling my stomach with delicious things and sharing that deliciousness with all of you. 

So I hung out in the food corner – the Hobby Cooking Show. There were many kinds of demonstrations and workshops going on, including what looked like a really informative (read: yummy) bread talk with a whole plate of tasters. But unfortunately, I arrived too late to take the time to participate. I was keen to know about all the products! I was impressed with how willing people were to talk about and show off their products, even when it became clear that I might be able to ask questions… but was completely unable to understand the answers.

Yet food is a language all of its own and it did some talking to my tastebuds. So without further ado, let me introduce my haul:

Peanuts in sweet miso - OMG!
Peanuts in sweet miso – OMG!

Peanuts Company

Peanut butter. Peanut butter. Addictive stuff. This company was selling two kinds – with sugar and no sugar. And the no-sugar sold-out before I could go back and buy it! I’ve contented myself with this gooey pot of peanuts in sweet miso (550円). And I may be calling this number – 0297-64-0880 – as apparently, they have no website and no shop. How they normally sell their produce I never discovered…

Who knew mushrooms could bring this much tastebud happiness?!
Who knew mushrooms could bring this much tastebud happiness?!

Hokto Oyster Mushrooms / ホクト霜降りひらたけ

Words cannot describe how good these taste. And they were selling packs for 150円. Which come with a little pack of Kikkoman soy sauce for flavouring.

Nori seaweed from Saga prefecture
Nori seaweed from Saga prefecture

Temakigohan / 手まきごはん – Nori (seaweed)

Temakigohan has one of the funnest displays at the show. First of all, I got to sample nori from three different prefectures, including Saga and Chiba.

I was then given a larger sheet and allowed to choose a filling (spicy chicken) and a topping (mayonnaise) to make my own open riceball creation. Plus it was delicious.

20150423_155357 20150423_155523

After this, I received a freebie pack of Saga nori, which I genuinely think has a lovely light and warm flavour. I’m new to eating nori so these are high words of praise! In fact, I’m looking forward to making a few rice creations soon.

Q- chan cucumber pickles
Q- chan cucumber pickles

Q-Chan Cucumber Pickles 

Yes, pickles are worth getting excited about. These cucumber pickles are flavoured with ginger, sesame and soy, among other things, and they rock. Almost as much as little green baseball cap-wearing Q-Chan, which inhabits and entire little website village to sell you his awesome pickles.

He also made an appearance at the show, dancing around and posing, like all good boisterous kids.

Hey Q-Chan!
Hey Q-Chan!
Yuzu pepper
Yuzu pepper

Shoda’s Yuzu Pepper / 正田の柚子こしょう

Having tasted this amazing punchy sauce, I found it had just sold out! I bemoaned my bad luck to the staff when a woman gave me hers! She had yet to pay for it, and she was going back to the fair the next day – or so she told me despite my protests. That’s kindness.

This sauce is part of the ‘Soy Beauty’ collection (don’t ask). It’s a soy sauce flavoured with yuzu (a strong citrus) and chilli. And I cannot wait to coat some meat in it! Apparently, this is a new half-calorie version. I want to try the full calorie version as I bet it’s even tastier, as tends to be the way…

Banana pork!
Banana pork!

Banana pork!

According to this website (in Japanese), banana pork is from pigs reared on a bananas mixed into their normal feed. The meat tasted nothing like bananas but was soooo tasty and a reasonable price that I bought a pack.


Rakukeisya – Cheese from Shiranuka, Hokkaido

I’ve yet to try these cheeses (bought together for 1000円 – yes, cheese is painful expensive in Japan) so expect an update soon!


淡路島ポーク / Awajishima pork (island near Kobe)

Me: Hello! Are you selling your bacon half-price – 600円 a pack? Yes? Well I’m English! I have to have bacon! Give me TWO packs!

Again, tasting to be done soon…

Honourable mentions go to…

2015-04-25 13.55.39

`Sagamiya / 相模屋 – tofu pots 

Tofu is divisive. People say “Oh, it tastes of nothing. What’s the point?!” And until I went to Asia that’s what I thought. But I’ve come to appreciate that it has a mild taste of its own and works brilliant as a base for supporting other flavours. I love seseme dressing, for example, but I’ve discovered that drinking it from the bottle isn’t a brilliant idea (yes, I was stupid enough to try it). It NEEDS tofu.

Sagamiya have a great selection of creamy tofu pots with different flavours. I tried a soy-sauce cold one at the fair and was tempted to buy a selection for tofu meals on the go. You can see their full range here.

2015-04-25 13.55.16

有限会社イビ ?? Aged black garlic from Hokkaido

So sweet and bursting with flavour! It’s supposed to be eaten just as it is. I would have bought some except I wasn’t sure how often I would snack on a big bag…

Contact them at the following address/number if you want some!

〒063-0801 北海道札幌市西区二十四軒1条1丁目3番1号
TEL: 011-622-0777

2015-04-25 13.54.04

Meiji’s Creamy Smooth – 明治のクリーミースマース

I’m a little bit ashamed but this processed dairy whipped margarine-like product was actually pretty tasty. It’s made to go on pancakes and bread – basically any kind of doughy, sweet creation. I was going to look up what it actually is, but then I realised I don’t want to know. You can explore for yourself here.


Maruya Hatcho Miso / まるや八丁味噌

Originating from Hatcho, a village in Aichi prefecture, this company makes delicious miso by fermenting the ingredients in wooden barrels for two summers and two winters. Not only does their miso taste amazing, but they were also promoting some rather good tea – Daizukoujicha / 大豆麹茶 – made from soy beans, rice, and pearl barley. I’m not a tea-drinker but I cannot wait to boil up a litre of this, stick it in my fridge and spend a hot day glugging through it. It’s so refreshing.

Visit their website or give them a call on 0564-22-0222 to order!

Author: Phoebe Amoroso

Phoebe Amoroso is a Tokyo-based reporter, multimedia journalist and storyteller. Hailing from the UK, she moved to Japan in 2014 and has since been shouting about the country to all who will listen. She divides her time between covering breaking news and producing feature stories for TV; writing about everything from business and tech to food and travel; and guiding hungry visitors who want to sample the best of Japanese cuisine. When not working and/or eating, she can often be found running up a mountain or cycling by the sea.

5 thoughts on “Hobby Cooking Fair 2015 – April 23rd-25th, Tokyo Big Sight”

      1. Hahaha so cuteee *.* (and creepy).
        The mascot of Japan for Milan EXPO is Hello kitty xD and they chose Pikachu for the football world cup…aah u.u

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