Food from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

    Finally taking place during the summer of 2021, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, or 2020年夏季オリンピック, has received continuous press, attention, and positive reception from millions of global spectators. This major sports event had been highly anticipated. The Olympics once again allowed athletes from around the world to travel to Japan. Olympians were able to enjoy Japanese language, culture, and food. Although the primary focus of the games was sports, the food this Olympic season deserves equal attention. Tokyo boasts countless cafes, street vendors, stores, and popular restaurants. These are a handful of the foods enjoyed and cherished by many attendees of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

close up of sushi set with chopsticks and soy on black background

Image Courtesy of CNN.

Sushi grade fish, sushi making tools, and sushi ingredients sold at Asahi Imports.

Sushi

Sushi was undoubtedly one of the most frequently eaten meals during the Olympics. After visiting Japan, Olympians shared that they preferred their sushi with raw fish or roe. Sushi is made from locally sourced fish and cooked ingredients. The fish is thinly sliced and placed on marinated white rice. Sushi rolls involve using a sheet of seaweed, rolling the rice and ingredients in the seaweed, then slicing and serving the roll. Not all sushi is exclusively seafood. Tamago (egg) sushi and vegetarian options exist to highlight each ingredient’s unique flavors! Some popular flavors enjoyed by Olympians were salmon, unagi, and spicy tuna. 

A couple of water bottles on a skateboard

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Image Courtesy of the Asahi Imports Instagram.

Aquarius and Pocari Sweat available for purchase at Asahi Imports. 

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Aquarius and Pocari Sweat

Aquarius, one of the official Olympic Games drink sponsors, is a local favorite. This clear sports drink can be found in vending machines and stores across Tokyo. Like Gatorade, Aquarius is Japan’s sports drink equivalent. Containing plenty of electrolytes and vitamins, Aquarius is designed to hydrate athletes. It has a milder flavor than most sport drinks. The drink’s refreshing quality makes it a perfect component to an athlete’s health. Pocari Sweat is similar in design, taste, and function to Aquarius. Pocari Sweat’s subtle flavor and water-like consistency makes it a fan favorite amongst sports players.

A picture containing food, plastic, container, lunch

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Image Courtesy of the Asahi Imports Instagram.

Freshly made in-house bentos available every Wednesday-Saturday at Asahi Imports.

Bentos

Bentos can be found across Japan. Found in locations like convenient stores and train stations, bentos are pre-prepared meals in portable lunch boxes. Though the contents of every bento vary, their shared characteristics are the attentiveness to flavor and presentation. For the Tokyo Olympics, special arrangements were made for the Olympic Village dining hall. Representatives from across over forty prefectures sourced local ingredients to create the tens of thousands of bento boxes served to hungry Olympians. The bentos prepared for the Olympic Village were created in advance and served daily to staff, volunteers, and athletes. 

A bowl of soup with oranges and broccoli

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Image Courtesy of Food52.

Make your own ramen at home with ingredients sold at Asahi Imports.

Ramen

It is no surprise that ramen would be on this list. After all, ramen is one of Japan’s most famous foods and loved internationally. Japanese ramen can be divided into four major flavor profiles. Those flavors are tonkotsu (pork bone broth), shoyu (soy sauce), miso (fermented soybean), and shio (salt). Ramen found in Japan is served with thin, al-dente noodles in a hearty broth with plenty of toppings. Olympians loved all the diverse flavors of ramen in Japan, but many decided that spicy miso was a top favorite! Recently, Tokyo’s ramen scene has rapidly evolved. New flavors, such as yuzu and vegetable broth, have begun to appear on menus across Tokyo. When it comes to ramen, Tokyo never disappoints.

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Image Courtesy of The Candy Encyclopedia.

Kitkats available seasonally or through customer order at Asahi Imports.

Japanese Snacks

Lastly, Japan’s unique assortment of snacks were some of the first foods many Olympians tried upon arriving. Japan’s creativity flourishes and thrives in the snack industry. No matter if it is savory or sweet, Japanese snacks are designed for all ages. One of the most sought-after Japanese snacks this game season, inside and outside of Japan, were Kitkats. For those who did not know, Kitkats originated in Japan. In Japanese, there is a phrase that Kitkat adopted called, “きっと勝つ (kitto katsu).” In English, it means, “Surely, [we will] win,” but the phrase shares the pronunciation of Kitkat, the brand name. A perfect motto for athletes to remember while they enjoy the many flavors Kitkat has to offer. There are over 200 flavors of Kitkats to try in Japan, and some are seasonally exclusive! 

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics was an incredible event. Many world records were set by Japan and other countries. New sports events were introduced to the Olympics. Japan briefly opened their borders to celebrate human strength and comradery. Most importantly, athletes across the world were able to immerse themselves in Japanese food and culture. Although flight restrictions limited who could go to the event, Asahi Imports carries all the food and drinks mentioned. In Austin, TX, Asahi Imports is one of the only places that offers a wide variety of freshly prepared Japanese foods. Also, Asahi Imports has an incredible selection of Japanese groceries and snacks that will surely enhance anyone’s Olympic watch party. Everyone can enjoy a taste of Tokyo right from the heart of Texas. Stop by Asahi Imports soon and feast like an Olympian!

Sources

Akinkuotu, Folu. “All The Best Japanese Snacks To Eat While Watching the Olympics.” Eater.     Eater, July 27, 2021. https://www.eater.com/22596279/tokyo-olympics-2020-best-    japanese-snacks-sports-pairings.

Castrodale, Jelisa. “Here’s What Athletes Are Eating at the Olympic Village in Tokyo.” Food     & Wine, July 2021. https://www.foodandwine.com/news/tokyo-olympics-village-    dining-    hall-food.

NBC New York. “This Is The Best Food We’ve Seen From the Tokyo Olympics.” NBC New     York. NBC New York, August 4, 2021.     https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/sports/tokyo-summer-olympics/this-is-the-best-food-    weve-seen-from-the-tokyo-olympics/3195039/.

Image Links

Figure 1. https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/how-to-eat-sushi-tokyo-local-cmd/index.html

Figure 2. https://www.instagram.com/p/CSHyEyDFnSi/

Figure 3. https://www.instagram.com/p/CLhSArnlSDO/

Figure 4. https://food52.com/recipes/25702-spicy-miso-ramen-express

Figure 5. https://the-candy-encyclopedia.fandom.com/wiki/Kit_Kat_(Japan)

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