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Try This Tasty Tradition

A La Carte

October 22, 2017

Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: Sakura Terrace Japanese Cafe

Osechi takeout set ($320)

Sakura Terrace Japanese Cafe brings back its popular Osechi Ryori (good fortune food) sets for the new year, available for pre-order now through Dec. 15 and pickup Dec. 31.

“Traditionally, Japanese eat osechi on New Year’s morning,” explains manager and head chef Daisuke Arai. “They wake up early in the morning, cheers with sake and eat osechi.”

The takeout Osechi set ($320) features more than 30 items, serves four people and is limited to 100 orders. Reserve your Osechi by Oct. 31 and receive a 10 percent discount, or order by Nov. 27 and receive a 5 percent discount. In-store pickup Dec. 31 will be from 2 to 6 p.m.

The restaurant also is offering an Osechi pre-fixe menu ($60.20 per person, reservations required at least two days prior to desired dine-in date), available Jan. 1 (Osechi pre-fixe menu only) and Jan. 2-3 (Osechi pre-fixe menu and full menu available).

“(Culturally) on Dec. 31, as close to midnight as possible, (Japanese people) eat plain noodles as their last meal of the year and they go to the temple and ring the bell,” adds Arai. “Then, the next three days, businesses are closed and people go to visit family and friends. And at each home, the host will serve osechi to their guests.”

Osechi traditionally is served as a three-tiered box, but according to Arai, as time went on, it has been reduced to a two-tier box. It also has become a huge industry, with many people ordering it to go rather than cooking it themselves at home.

The top box is usually the fanciest with high-quality foods, such as fish and lobster. The second level is typically vegetables and roots to keep you “grounded.” The last tier is often empty or filled with rice to symbolize your thoughts and wishes.

Sakura Terrace, located in the heart of Honolulu, is known for its authentic Japanese cuisine, including sashimi, tempura, donburi, unagi and wagyu beef, plus its newly opened sushi bar.

MADE WITH CARE FOR DINERS

This year, Sakura Terrace Japanese Cafe’s takeout Osechi for the new year is a two-tiered bento set that comes wrapped in a special cloth. It also includes a bowl of chirashi rice.

“Our Osechi has been carefully selected and prepared with gratitude toward all of our customers and their patronage this year,” says Daisuke Arai, the establishment’s manager and head chef. “The owner of Sakura Terrace has relatives at Tsukiji (Market in Japan), so we’ve taken advantage of our connections by incorporating Tsukiji-quality ingredients along with local produce for a vibrant and beautiful presentation.”

Some of Sakura Terrace’s Osechi highlights include Kona Abalone Steak, Tsukiji Tazukuri (candied sardines from Tsukiji), Yawata Gobo (burdock root) and so much more.

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