Japanese restaurants mushroom in Vietnam

There are more than 1,000 restaurants serving Japanese cuisine in Vietnam, the majority of which are in Ho Chi Minh City.

The southern metropolis is home to 659 Japanese restaurants, twice as many as there were three years ago, according to statistics provided by the Consulate General of Japan in Ho Chi Minh City.

Collectively, there are as many as 770 Japanese restaurants across provinces and cities in southern Vietnam.

Approximately half of the restaurants serving Japanese food in Vietnam are run by Japanese owners, according to a Japanese consular official.

The remaining half are owned and run by Vietnamese franchisees and entrepreneurs, the official said.

The fierce competition and high cost of operation have forced a number of restaurants to close or narrow their business, according to a representative from the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in Ho Chi Minh City.

The blossoming of Japanese restaurants has also led to a growing number of Japanese food and ingredient supplies.

An increasing number of Japanese food exporters have shown interest in entering the Vietnamese market over the past few years, making Vietnam the fifth largest importer of Japan’s agricultural produce and food in 2016.

Seafood accounts for 60 percent of all Japanese agriculture, forestry and seafood exports to Vietnam, with 20 billion Japanese yen (US$178.4 million) worth of seafood imported into Vietnam from Japan every year.

Apart from supplying domestic consumption, certain high-value seafood is also processed by Vietnamese businesses to be shipped to other markets.

Japan is currently Vietnam’s second-largest foreign investor, having developed 3,443 projects in the Southeast Asian country as of June 31, with a total registered capital of over $46.19 billion.

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