A popular Auckland ramen restaurant is opening a sister eatery in Japan.

Yuki Yamaguchi, owner and executive chef of Ramen Takara, told 1News she’s excited about the opportunity. Ramen Taraka has two Auckland stores — one in Ponsonby and one in Browns Bay.

Yamaguchi said she wanted to introduce Kiwi culture to Japanese people and give her staff the opportunity to work in Japan, where a lot had family.

“During Covid, a lot of my staff couldn’t go home, and now some have elderly parents or they’re missing their home towns so I thought I could help them to visit home and not have to worry about job opportunities.”

Yamaguchi said she’s planning to introduce her Japanese customers to New Zealand beer and wine when the new restaurant opens.

“New Zealand has such nice wine and beer, so I wanted to connect Kiwi breweries to Japan. Japan has started importing craft beers from Australia and the US, so I thought it would be a good time to introduce our great wine and beer.”

She said another reason she wanted to expand her business overseas was to bring more diet-friendly options to the Japanese market.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Yamaguchi said: “The first is my experience catering for the dietary needs of customers in New Zealand and contributing to the development of a menu that accommodates gluten-free and vegan options.

“As the need for food diversity is discussed more often in Japan, I want to utilise and share the experience I’ve cultivated in New Zealand.”

The restaurant, named Everybody’s Table, is opening in Yokohama on March 3. Yamaguchi said Yokohama was the birthplace of Ramen Takara’s roots and where her father Nobuyuki started his culinary career.

“I am truly moved and filled with gratitude to everyone,” she said.

Yamaguchi will be going between Auckland and Japan ahead of Everybody’s Table’s opening.

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