Rice tasting and onigiri making contest at JANM on Jan. 6


Common Grains, a Japanese food and culture project founded by writer, artisan soba maker and Japanese food expert Sonoko Sakai, is celebrating the new year with a rice tasting and onigiri-making contest at the Japanese American National Museum’s annual Oshogatsu family festival on Sunday, Jan. 6.

Attendees can watch Sakai, along with Naoko Moore of Toiro Kitchen, prepare Japanese rice two ways and learn about the history and tradition of Japanese rice, including the ways in which Japanese rice differs from American-Japanese rice. An onigiri rice ball-making contest for all ages will follow with prizes awarded for creativity from a panel of judges featuring L.A. Times Deputy Food Editor Betty Hallock, Evan Kleiman of KCRW’s Good Food and Food GPS blogger Josh Lurie.

In celebration of the Year of the Snake, the festival will also feature origami making, face painting and a snake candy sculpture demonstration by world-renowned candy artist Shaun Ichiyanagi.


The Oshogatsu family festival is free and open to the public. To view the festival’s daylong schedule, check out 100 N. Central Ave., L.A.,


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