Fukushima dumplings the surprise hit of gyoza festival

October 24, 2011

TSU--Unlike most produce from Fukushima Prefecture that consumers tend to shy away from, the gyoza dumplings from Fukushima at a national festival here on Oct. 22 were so popular, they sold out within hours of going on sale.

The two-day gyoza festival brought together associations from 11 localities that used the dumplings as a tasty way of revitalizing their respective local communities.

The booth set up by the association from Fukushima Prefecture had a long line from even before the start of sales, and all 800 servings that were prepared were sold out before 1 p.m.

That delighted the head of the Fukushima association, Yutaka Takahashi, 58. "We thought we would have to do this again tomorrow if we had any leftovers," he said.

Takahashi said association members were prepared before the event to endure negative publicity like that which has hurt other Fukushima produce due to the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

He said other groups from Fukushima Prefecture had mentioned the bad rumors they had to endure when they participated in similar events around Japan.

Organizers of the festival also said that Fukushima association members likely were very worried about the response before they showed up for the event.

Organizations from 11 regions participated in this year's festival, and about 20 booths were set up to sell gyoza to the 30,000 to 40,000 visitors expected over the two days.

Part of the proceeds will be donated to Fukushima city to assist in the rebuilding effort. A decision has also been made to hold next year's festival in Fukushima, a sign that rebuilding after the Great East Japan Earthquake was a topic facing the entire gyoza industry.

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Cooks prepare gyoza in a large pan measuring 1.2 meters in diameter at the Fukushima booth at the national gyoza festival held in Tsu, Mie Prefecture. (Yuta Takahashi)

Cooks prepare gyoza in a large pan measuring 1.2 meters in diameter at the Fukushima booth at the national gyoza festival held in Tsu, Mie Prefecture. (Yuta Takahashi)

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  • Cooks prepare gyoza in a large pan measuring 1.2 meters in diameter at the Fukushima booth at the national gyoza festival held in Tsu, Mie Prefecture. (Yuta Takahashi)

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