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Authentic Japanese Ingredients Make Bento Bowl a Hit

August 19th, 2014

Authentic Japanese Ingredients Make Bento Bowl a Hit

NZ’s favourite sushi chain has once again found success in bringing traditional Japanese cuisine to kiwis with Bento Bowl, a McCafe style add-on to selected St Pierre’s sushi outlets, that’s been so successful there are now nine Bento Bowls with a tenth in planning stages.

Bento Bowl offers delicious noodle and rice based dishes served up within a few minutes using authentic Japanese ingredients sourced directly from Japan. It’s these special ingredients that St Pierre’s director Nick Katsoulis says make all the difference and are the secret to the success of Bento Bowl, which is the latest offering from the company that introduced kiwis to sushi 30 years ago.

“We are absolutely passionate about bringing genuine Japanese flavours to New Zealanders,” says Nick, who has made many trips to Japan to meet suppliers over the last twenty years. “All of our signature ingredients have a story behind them – for example the soup stocks that form the basis of many of our Bento Bowl dishes are sourced directly from Shodoshima in Japan. This is a small island off Shikoku Island (which is like Waiheke Island) that is renowned for its soya sauce and stocks.”

The secret to the amazing flavor and texture of the noodles Bento Bowl uses is that they are par-cooked in Kagawa, the home of udon noodles in Japan, then frozen and sent to St Pierre’s where the cooking process is finished off, allowing them to retain their distinctive chewy texture. “A lot of Asian food outlets sell bento and sushi using ingredients sourced from China, and you can really tell the difference – they just don’t taste as good and I don’t believe you’re getting the same high standard that you get from Japanese ingredients,” Nick says.

Another popular ingredient that keeps customers coming back is the Japanese mayonnaise. “People go mad for our mayonnaise – we bring it in from Japan then blend it with Japanese pickles, New Zealand onions and spring onions, and this flavour fusion is a big hit.”

Bento Bowl’s summer menu will also see more exciting fusion flavours – watch this space for tempura avocado and panko-crumbed avocado, says Nick. Bento Bowl offers a range of donburi, soba and udon noodle, and bento dishes with fresh vegetables, seafood, katsu and teriyaki chicken, beef and tempura options.

The latest Bento Bowl was opened at the Glen Innes venue, which was purpose-built as a standalone sushi and bento outlet, along the lines of other fast food outlets like McDonalds and KFC. “We took a bit of a risk in creating a standalone store that people would need to go out of their way to come to, but it paid off,” Nick says. “It turns out people are willing to go the extra mile to get their sushi and bento fix, and we feel we give our customers an even more enjoyable experience in a purpose-built venue.”

Bento Bowl is available at the following St Pierre’s Sushi outlets: Newmarket (Akl), Glen Innes (Akl), Pakuranga (Akl), Manukau (Akl), Lambton Square (Wgtn), Lambton Quay (Wgtn), Queensgate (Wgtn) South City (ChCh), Northlands (ChCh).


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