There are about 770 Japanese restaurants in Vietnam, most of which have been established to serve Vietnamese rather than the Japanese community, according to the Ho Chi Minh City branch of the Japan Foreign Trade Promotion Organization (JETRO).
Though the number of Japanese restaurants is increasing, many have had to close down or change the way they operate as competition among them has become so fierce, the JETRO branch said.
Statistics by the branch showed that there are about 770 Japanese restaurants in Vietnam, 51.95 percent of which are located in Ho Chi Minh City, and this figure is still rising.
About 90 percent of the 770 eateries are serving Vietnamese diners, the JETRO branch said.
Over 50 percent of all Japanese restaurants in the southern city are owned by Japanese people, the JETRO branch said, adding that the rate in Europe is about 20 percent.
The Japanese restaurants that are focused on Vietnamese diners have good growth rates, while the number of the small eateries serving Japanese who live and work in Vietnam is on the slide.
According to the JETRO branch, investment in food service and restaurants is among the most attractive fields to Japanese businesses that have surveyed the Ho Chi Minh City market in the past two years.
Moreover, Japanese food is increasingly popular with the Vietnamese community, as many familiar dishes like sushi, sashimi, and miso soup are not only sold in Japanese restaurants but also included in the menu of many Vietnamese restaurants and hotels.
According to Japanese statistics unveiled last year, Vietnam was the 7th largest import market of Japanese agricultural products and foodstuffs in terms of turnover.
Kobe Beef Vietnam Corporation on Saturday introduced its first batch of beef from the Kobe breed in Vietnam after nearly four years developing its Kobe cow project in Bao Lam District, located in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.
This beef, named Kuroge, is the first generation of cows born in Vietnam of the Japanese cow breed, which takes 36 months to be mature enough for slaughtering, according to the firm.
Sold at VND3 million (US$132) per kilogram, the Japanese beef will be mainly produced upon order by restaurants. Nguyen Tri Duc Vu, director of the company, said the cows on the farm are raised under similar standards of the Kobe beef in Japan, including the feed selected by Japanese experts who are also responsible for taking care of the cattle.
The slaughtering process is also carried out under the guidance of Japanese experts.
According to Vu, it is expected that the cow herd will be taken to 500 next year from 300 now, and to 1,000 by 2020.