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Menu Spotlight - Allergens

Eating healthily is clearly something we dwell on at this time of year; Moshi Moshi has consistently seen an increase in sushi and sashimi sales in January, and I'm sure this is a pledge to ourselves to eat less or more healthily after an over-indulgent Christmas. New allergen legislation came into effect in December, and while it's probably passed you by, it has caused interesting discussion here. We featured our delicious pork katsu in last month's email, with a heavy focus on the provenance of the pork. Taking so much time to source our pork only to match it with the product that fared least well in our allergen declarations seems rather a contradiction. I was in two minds whether or not to raise the slippery topic of our curry sauce, but a customer's comment recently compelled me to speak out! She asked about our chicken oyako, which I explained was a hearty chicken omelette, made with good eggs and chicken, leeks and soy on a bed of brown rice if she liked. She responded saying she wanted something ' fresher' and opted for the pork katsu curry.

I was speechless! Maybe there are simply too many ways to define ' fresh' but a curry sauce that comes in a block from a large Japanese food processing company that gets literally 'melted down' didn't strike me as one that met freshness criteria - however loosely defined (and that's before you even start on the deep-fried pork versus pan-fried omeltte). The curry has no fewer than 7 of the allergens in the required new legislation, but aside from that, in my opinion, it has close to zero nutritional value as it is so heavily processed and full of additives and flavourings in addition to all the 'allergens'. There are plenty of studies to show that the huge increase in allergies in fact result from our overly processed food rather than from the ingredients themselves.

In the past our menus noted under our curry rice ' this dish certainly doesn't meet our additive-free policy! ' but I was encouraged to take it off as it was deemed bad marketing. I am pleased therefore that legislation has to some extent moved that discussion forward.

Click here to hear why Joe Wood decided to 'go natural'

The history of curry in Japan

Tonkatsu was developed in Japan in the late 19th century as they were experimenting with Western cuisine. A pork fillet or loin is coated with egg and flour and then dipped in panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried. It is served with shredded cabbage and Tonkatsu brown sauce – similar to Worcestershire sauce. More recently it has become the base accompaniment to curry rice, a dish that came to Japan via England. The first curry-coffee house opened in Canning Town in 1747.

The recipe for English curry –sweeter than those of India with the addition of sugar from the Caribbean colonies, became codified about this time. English returning from the Raj helped popularise this food and British seamen were active disseminators of it. Curry powder, a British invention, standardised the taste, and it was this that arrived in Japan and became 'Japanese'. …So we have only ourselves to blame!

Eating less and eating well might serve us well in the Year of the Sheep.

So what does 2015 have in store for you?

' The Sheep is a symbol of peace, balance, harmony and calmness. This will be reflected in The Year of the Sheep 2015 where we need to use our minds more than being physically active to solve any problem that might arise. In the first half of 2015 the processes that have been in place for the past years will make way in the second half for both political and economic situations in the world to be void of turmoil and conflict. Closer to the summer months, when positive events will start overshadowing negatives ones, people of many countries will finally be able to sigh with relief and restore their faith in the future.

It is hard to report on 2015 in detail, but one thing is for sure: the events that 2015 has in store will prove unforgettable! Unbelievable striking events are ahead – we just need to be patient enough to wait for them to happen...'

So there you have it, your annual horoscope from Japan!

That's all from me, but I'd love to hear from you if you have any comments on the menu or a recent experience.

Caroline Bennett
Founder & owner

Great Deals with a Moshi Membership

As a Member Moshi card-holder, you will be entitled to a range of monthly offers communicated to you via email which may include complimentary tasters of our seasonal menus or our popular £2.50 plate offer. New Members are also entitled to a monthly draw for a dinner for two worth £50. At the beginning of the month of your birthday, we will send you an email inviting you to choose your birthday gift.

Click here to sign up!


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