The Dish of the Year Handing Japanese food culture
down through the generations
2014 Selection: Gibier (Wild Game) Cuisine!
Gurunavi Research Institute (GRI; Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Hisao Taki, president and representative director), which conducts a variety of surveys and research efforts primarily on food-related themes, on December 4th announced its the "Dish of the Year" for 2014. Selected as an item of cuisine reflecting the year in contemporary Japanese society, this annual selection will memorialize and preserve the common human heritage represented in the finest of Japanese food culture.
In addition to the year’s trends and topics, the Dish of the Year selection for 2014 is also deeply relevant to societal developments of 2014. As a mirror on contemporary society, it has even greater value as a memorial to food culture that can be handed down through the generations, and was selected on that basis. The selection was made by first identifying the most noteworthy foods of the year among the 42 million unique users that visit the Gurunavi website operated by Gurunavi Inc., as well as the results of a survey of the 12.47 million Gurunavi members (producing 12,000 valid responses). The final decision was then made by GRI after further review by a jury of members of the media.*
The three selections were made on the basis of long familiarity among the Japanese people, being essential to Japanese food culture, and earning strong support from consumers for having changed in keeping with the broader trends in which 2014 was a turning point.
Dish of the Year
Food worthy of remembrance as an outstanding example of Japanese cuisine reflecting the societal trends of 2014
Gibier (game) cuisine
Reason for selection
1.As part of its promotion of its "sixth-sector" industry classification, Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is undertaking efforts for the use of domestically produced gibier meats (venison, wild boar, fowl and other game) and effective use of related resources. This year, the supply of game for gibier cuisine got fully under way in Japan as the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare formulated its "Guidelines for Hygiene Control Concerning Wild Game and Fowl" in order to maintain safety throughout all processes from hunting game to serving it to the consumer.
2.With venison and other game meats in use as ingredients in convenience store and fast-food dishes, and through other major distribution channels, the rapid spread of game meats among general consumers made this "Year One" for gibier cuisine. It was chosen as a new aspect of Japanese food culture, given expectations that its popularity will become even more widespread in the future.
Food Trend of the Year
A representative dish of major popular significance in 2014
Gourmet Shaved Ice
Reason for selection
1.In December of last year, Japanese cuisine was designated by UNESCO as an intangible cultural asset. The general reconsideration of the wonders of Japanese food culture has included the creativity and originality of thought that goes into shaved ice treats, a seasonal tradition that helps relieve the heat of summer. The use of fresh fruits, syrups made from natural ingredients, and even liqueurs and the incorporation of western-style confections, has resulted in a dish that is conspicuously rich in gourmet qualities and variations.
2.With the economy in a recovery mode, consumers have generally come to seek quality over quantity. Interest in highly sophisticated cuisine has grown, and given an actively tested societal milieu, even shaved ice dishes costing ¥1,000 or more per serving drew long lines.
3.This selection was based on the great interest attracted by shaved ice dishes using naturally occurring ice, as well as the major significance of spreading knowledge of the professional techniques and culture handed down from old times.
Ingredient of the Year
An ingredient that drew intense interest in 2014, providing opportunities for the emergence of new values in food culture
Reason for selection
1.The Japanese eel has become somewhat difficult for ordinary consumers to obtain for a variety of reasons including the overfishing of young eels resulting in poor catches. But this scarcity has had the reverse effect of providing an opportunity for a reconsideration of this wonderful aspect of food culture.
2."Sustainable growth" has become a key concept worldwide, and this was a pivotal year in which the Japanese eel was designated as an endangered species, so that indiscriminate harvesting of this scarce resource was halted. We selected it with the intent of preserving and developing for future generations this wonderful aspect of food culture, given its association with the gratitude we feel for those special celebratory days on which it is enjoyed.
At Gurunavi Inc., our aim is to further the development of food culture through the application of Big Data and food research and education. Through GRI, we hope to contribute to even greater development of superb Japanese food culture through public education on the Dish of the Year and its prominent positioning, making it known not just in Japan but worldwide.
Gurunavi Research Institute operates Japan's largest online search site for eating and drinking establishments, and is a subsidiary of Gurunavi Inc., a company listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Gurunavi Research Institute was established in 2010 in order to conduct surveys and research on food-related themes from a range of perspectives and to publicize the results and recommendations. It launched and operates the Inbound Research Committee to promote the tourism and hospitality industries in Japan among overseas visitors, and hosts symposiums such as the "National and Regional Branding Strategies to Promote Inbound Tourism."