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Inaugural Taste of Asia week coming to Atlanta

DULUTH - "Irashaimase" in the Japanese language means welcome. So Aug. 10 through 16, Irashaimase to metro Atlanta's inaugural Taste of Asia week, where participating restaurants will provide special offers and entertainment in a weeklong celebration of the Asian culinary tradition.

"From sushi to samosas and pho to fusion, Taste of Asia dine-out week provides a range of dining experiences from around the continent," said Georgia Restaurant Association spokesman Kelly Hornbuckle in a statement. "In addition, a portion of the proceeds from the GRA's Taste of Asia will support a merit based internship for a culinary student who wants to pursue specialized training in Asian cuisine."

Two local restaurants didn't want to miss out on this kickoff event either. Both Jingiogae Catering Inc. and Kani House of Duluth are participating. Kani House also has a location in Buford near the Mall of Georgia, and restaurants in John's Creek, Cumming and Woodstock.

"We joined the Georgia Restaurant Association for this event," said Kani House spokesman Jay Kiehm. "It's bigger scale than some of the local events we've done and is a good chance for us to let consumers know the benefits of Asian cuisine," he said.

Kiehm said those benefits in Japanese food include soy-based flavoring as opposed to using "salt and pepper," and the use of different types of vegetables. He also said Japanese cuisine offers patrons a chance to douse their palates with some extremely healthy eats.

"Raw fish is OK," Kiehm said discussing sushi. "It digests easier and is free of carcinogens from cooking," he said. "And it's really high in Omega-3 fatty acids."

During the weeklong event, each participating restaurant will offer a special value meal, Hornbuckle said. For Kani House patrons, they can enjoy a three-course dinner for $28 which includes food cooked right in front of them hibachi style. For more information on Taste of Asia week and to see a list of participating restaurants, visit www.tasteofasiaweek.com.