So much so they’re considered inspirational.
In fact, in Japan, there’s something called hanami, which literally means “flower viewing.” This is a custom where people spread out mats or open up chairs to literally sit and watch the beauty of these flowers. It often turns into a full-on party at some parks.
So it’s no surprise that these delicate, fragile sakura blossoms would inspire a menu, too.
Renowned Grand Chef Kenichiro Tanaka of the Imperial Hotel Tokyo will be presenting a one-night, sakura-themed dinner at La Mer at the posh Halekulani on Friday. The menu features a seven-course meal — plus canapes — that include dishes like paupiette of lobster mousse wrapped in cabbage, roast veal with honey and shoyu and a cherry flower sherbet on rice wine daiginjou granita. Tanaka will be using special ingredients imported from Japan, including cherry blossom paste and salt-cured cherry blossoms.
“When I left Japan, cherry blossoms were in full bloom,” Tanaka said through Mayumi Miyahara, a translator. “This season Japanese enjoy cherry blossoms. So I decided to offer it as part of the Halekulani dinner.”
He said his likes to create menus based on the seasons: “The seasons are very important and we should use fresh foods. We also have to consider what our guests want.”
And he knows people want locally sourced, seasonal food. Because he does, too.
“(While in Hawaii) I like to eat ahi poke and loco moco,” he said, listing his favorite restaurants as Side Street Inn and Nobu. “I went there yesterday.”
“A Taste of Imperial,” 6:30 p.m. Friday, La Mer at the Halekulani. Cost is $295 per person. (808) 923-2311.
Photo and video of Tanaka by Sisto Domingo.