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17132 Pullman St., Irvine, CA 92614-5524
No.1007, Hanshin Intervalley East Wing, 707-34, Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Crown House 72 Hammersmith Road, London, W14 8TH United Kingdom
18/8 Fico Place Bldg. 6th Fl., Room 603, Sukhumvit21(Asoke)Rd., Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110 Thailand
UK is known as the most obese country in Europe with an obesity rate of 37%. Under such an environment where one third of adults are obese, interest in food is gradually increasing in the UK. The people of England set a high value on three elements in food, namely, "Health and wellness", "Convenience", and "Affordable luxuries". Japanese food covers all the three elements and is widely adopted in the UK, mainly in the metropolis London, ranging from casual takeout shops to high-class restaurants. In various stores and restaurants Marukome's miso is used for miso soup, Saikyo-yaki, and so on.
Since ancient times, Chinese people have consumed food called Jiang which is the forefather of miso. As cultural exchange with Japan became active, Japanese food including miso has become widely known in China. Chinese people have high health awareness and have a strong image for Japanese food that it is good for health. Especially in urban areas, various Japanese restaurants such as ramen noodle shops, izakayas (Japanese-style bars) and sushi restaurants are available and widely appreciated by men and women of all ages.
Miso soups, miso-flavored ramen noodles, and bluefish Saikyo-yaki (grilled after marinating in Saikyo miso) are popular in China among the Japanese dishes that use Japanese miso.
South Korea's food culture has many similarities with Japanese food culture, including rice being the staple food and fermented food such as miso and soy sauce having been consumed for ages. There is Doenjang in Korea, which is similar to Japanese miso, frequently consumed in pot cooking and soups just like how miso is consumed in Japan.
Japanese foods that are popular in Japan are also popular in South Korea. Some examples are sushi, tonkatsu (pork cutlets), and ramen noodles. Sushi is especially popular in South Korea; lines of waiting people can often be seen in front of conveyor belt sushi bars in Seoul. Supermarkets have sections for sashimi and sushi, and some street-corner stalls sell oden (Japanese style pot dish where various ingredients are stewed in a thin soy soup). Japanese food has already become a part of Korean diet.
Taiwan was ruled by Japan after the Sino-Japanese War. As a result, Taiwan was strongly influenced by Japanese cultures and is friendly towards Japan. Japanese restaurants can be seen everywhere in the city. Additionally, street-corner stalls sell tempura and miso soups, and some convenience stores sell oden.
Although Taiwan also has its own miso, Taiwanese people purchase Japanese miso from supermarkets and prepare miso soup at common households. As can be seen by this example, Taiwanese are very familiar with Japanese cuisine.
Due to its unique historical background and location, Hong Kong's economy has developed extensively and various cultures and cuisines can be seen in Hong Kong. Many residents habitually dine out, and there are numerous restaurants and street stalls available. Among them, Japanese cuisine is one of the popular choices. Some Japanese restaurants are owned by local residents, indicating that Japanese cuisine is attractive not only for eating but also as a business opportunity.
The popularity of ramen noodles is especially soaring in Hong Kong. Waiting in a line for several hours has become commonplace when a Japanese ramen noodle franchise opens a store.
While its territorial area is very small, Singapore leads Southeast Asia economically. In Singapore dine-out culture has developed with various restaurants and stalls available throughout.
People are generally wealthy, and they enjoy eating at food courts in large shopping malls.
Every food court in shopping malls has Japanese food stores, and Singaporeans are familiar with Japanese food. Ramen noodles are very popular in Singapore as well. The popularity is so high that Japanese ramen noodle shops compete with each other, and people vote for ramen noodles popularity contests held now and then.
Indonesia's population is over 200 million, which is the fourth largest in the world, and its economy is growing rapidly. For that, Indonesia is attracting attention from the world as a giant consumption country.
Various food cultures are flowing into Indonesia, especially into its capital Jakarta. Accordingly, the number of Japanese food stores such as conveyor belt sushi bars is increasing.
Large shopping malls are built one after another, where Japanese restaurants and ramen noodle shops are often seen among the tenants. There also are local bento box franchises with delivery services, whose business is doing very well.
Many Thai people feel close to Japan due to religious and cultural reasons, and various Japanese companies are doing business in Thailand. As a result Japanese cuisine is very popular in Thailand, and there are many Japanese restaurants such as family restaurants and all-you-can-eat yakiniku (grilled meat and vegetables) and shabushabu (thinly sliced meat lightly cooked in broth) restaurants available. Lately fresh fish and vegetables are transported by air from Japan every day, and the number of restaurants that serve authentic Japanese cuisine is increasing. It is said that there are more than 1700 Japanese restaurants open in Thailand, and miso soup is widely recognized as an essential part of set menus.
The shaven-headed Marukome-kun is also popular in Thailand, well known as "Ikkyu-san" from a cartoon animation broadcasted through the ages. Marukome's products are widely available in large supermarkets.
Japanese food is also popular in Malaysia. However, a majority of Malaysians are Muslims, and the food certificate system Halal has major effects in Malaysia. Especially, alcohol and pork are banned from consumption. Many Marukome products contain alcohol for preservation purposes, and are sold mainly for non-Muslim Chinese merchants. Miso is ranked within the 5 most popular Japanese food ingredients by Chinese merchants who have high health awareness.
Vietnam is in the process of economic growth and Japanese cuisine is still categorized as high-class. As a result, there are not many casual Japanese restaurants in Vietnam, unlike in Thailand, and the number of restaurants is still small. There are just over 200 Japanese restaurants in Vietnam as of 2013. However, the number is gradually increasing. Additionally, large-scale Japanese retailers and giant restaurant franchise are extending their business into Vietnam. It is anticipated that Japanese food and culture will rapidly spread over Vietnam in the future.
Miso soup is appreciated by many people in Australia and New Zealand as well. Takeout sushi roll stores in the city often make set menus accompanied by miso soup, which is widely accepted by local residents. Many Japanese restaurants in these countries provide dishes that emphasize appreciation of the rich taste of miso, such as Saikyo-yaki and Dengaku miso dishes. Recently ramen noodle shops have become very popular, where miso is one of the most popular flavors.
Marukome is putting forth effort in the diffusion of miso soup serving machines to the Oceania area. The number of the machines introduced to Australia and New Zealand is expected to exceed 60 units in 2014.
Supported by increasing interest in a healthy diet, the Japanese food boom is expanding more than ever in the US with numerous stores that sell authentic sushi and ramen noodles opening all over the country. Especially at urban areas supermarkets, takeout sushi including California Rolls are sold, and the number of street-corner shops that specialize in selling takeout bento boxes (lunch boxes) is increasing. Along with this trend, the use of miso is gradually spreading not only for miso soups but also as a secret ingredient in various cooking not limited to Japanese cooking.
Marukome built a factory on the west coast of the US, to the south of Los Angeles. The factory carries out various activities that may contribute to diffusion of miso in the US, including development and sales of products that meet the needs of local residents.
Marukome exports miso to South America, mainly to Brazil. Brazil is the country with the most Japanese immigrants in the world, where about 1.5 million Japanese descendents are estimated to reside. As a result, Brazilians are very familiar with Japanese cuisine. Brazil has local miso manufacturers and miso soup is commonly consumed in general households. In recent years economic growth resulted in an increase in the number of wealthy people who appreciate authentic food, and authentic Japanese miso soup has become widely popular. Accordingly, export of Marukome's miso products to Brazil has increased. Pale light-brown miso is preferred in Brazil, and various miso products especially ready-to-serve type products are available at Japanese supermarkets.