Abdullah Al Rushud
JEDDAH: There is a surprising increase in the number of Japanese restaurants in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh and Jeddah. In spite of this, hearing that some Saudis and Japanese travel almost 1,000 km from Riyadh to eat Japanese food, I visited the Fuji Restaurant in Jeddah.
At the entrance, an advanced robot greeted me. The robot took pictures with guests and greeted them in several languages. Here, you can enjoy a wide range of high-quality Japanese food that other Japanese restaurants in Saudi Arabia do not offer, including eels, okonomiyaki, handmade meat buns, rice balls, and non-alcoholic Japanese sake.
In addition, the restaurant’s Japanese staff Ms. Taeko Kikuchi, who is a hospitality manager in charge of catering to guests, teaches guests about Japanese culture carefully, such as how to make tea, how to use chopsticks, and even how to wear kimono.
Ms. Kikuchi said she has been working for Fuji Restaurant for about six months. She really liked the life in Saudi Arabia, where it was safer than expected, so she is considering settling down in the Kingdom with her family.
The first Fuji Restaurant opened in 2019 in Jeddah, and general manager, Mr. Rami, said that they are planning to open a second branch in the Saudi capital Riyadh.