Sushi bars in Paris adjust to life after Fukushima

Sushi lovers in Paris, and they are many, are questioning the origin of the salmon at the end of their chopsticks since the Fukushima nuclear disaster unfolded.

And Asian restauranteurs in the French capital are striving to reassure them that, even if the cuisine is Japanese, the ingredients are most probably not.

In the narrow sidestreets between Opera and the Palais Royal, ground zero for all things Japanese in Paris, sushi bars have been hardest hit in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

"We have lost a third of our clientele," said chef Eric Lin at Chez Kyotori, even though his restaurant uses salmon from Norway, sea bream from Greece, tuna from the Indian Ocean and mackerel from the North Atlantic Ocean.

"The other products, like sauces and beers, come from plants in Europe - Germany, England, the Netherlands, Czech Republic..."

To reassure the customers it still has, Chez Kyotori has taken to adding an unusual footnote to its checks: "The products billed above do not originate from Japan."

Jitters over Japanese food are "purely psychological," added Zuxii Lin, manager of Saveurs Zen (Zen Flavours), where business fell "20 to 25 percent in the week after the March 11 earthquake" before recovering.

"Only the seaweed comes from Japan, but we have a lot in stock and we can always find more elsewhere, in China or in South Korea," she said.

Over at Hello Sushi, which until recently made good use of sauces imported from Japan, manager Charlie Yang has put out the order for all ingredients to come from elsewhere.

"I called my suppliers and I told them that I do not want Japanese products," he said.

Japanese grocers in Paris have meanwhile found themselves at the receiving end of pointed questions from worried customers.

"Anxiety is growing," said Eunsun Park at Ace Mart, which stocks a wide range of Oriental foods. "They want to know if products were made before the incident, what's going to happen next and if there is sufficient inspections."

Park is awaiting a delivery at the end of this month, but due to extra cargo inspections, the ship carrying it has been delayed, and the additional expense will mean higher prices when the goods finally get onto the shelves.

"It is going to be harder than before and I am worried about what is coming next," Park added. "In case of problems, we will have to turn to Japanese products made in the United States or to Korean food."

The mood is less anxious at ramen noodle shops.

"Some of my friends who run sushi and sashimi restaurants have fewer customers, due to the fish, but here it is special," said Peng Chen, who oversees the Sapporo noodle bar.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the proprietor stocked up on ingredients and changed suppliers, but "all our fresh products come from France, especially vegetables and flour, because it is cheaper," he said.

Noodle shop customers seem less worried as well.

"I come here as often as before, three noon-hours in five," said Anne-Marie Fery, 51, a regular at the Higuma ramen outlet.

A few steps away, Annie Le Moigne, 55, was equally confident. "I am not worried," she said. "I assume that the produce comes from there and that the state is doing what is necessary."

The potential outcome of the Fukushima accident raised no alarm bells for Damien Ormancey, 34, who put matters into perspective.

"We can do nothing," he said. "It is enough to watch a television show about Chinese dumplings to no longer want to eat."

str/bp/rom/bm

 

 

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

    £27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

    Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

    £17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'