Cabi Is the New Condiment Brand Bringing a Dash of Japan to Home Cooking

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Even sophisticated foodies may not have heard of koji, a mold essential to Japanese fermentation that’s found in everything from soy sauce and miso to sake and rice vinegar and is said to provide robust health benefits. (Cabi means “mold” in Japanese.) “Japan has the longest lifespan in the world,” Miyagi points out, “and the main reason is the food we eat.” That fermentation technique involving koji allows Japan’s emphasis on seasonal ingredients to shine, bringing out the essence of food and its umami. And that, Miyagi explains, “makes the food healthier and less complicated.”

Japanese cooking is often seen as difficult and time-consuming, she says, requiring numerous bottles of sauces and flavorings that often go unused afterward. But with Cabi, the pair hopes to take some of the intimidation out of Japanese home cooking. “Before this, so many people would say to us, ‘Japanese food is my favorite kind of cuisine, but I’ve never cooked it at home,’ or ‘If I go to the Japanese grocery store, I never know what to buy because everything is in Japanese,’” Miyagi says. “Yes, everyone can get soy sauce everywhere. But there are a lot of great Japanese products that could also be incorporated into your daily cooking.”

Cabi’s target audience is third-culture kids like themselves—those who grew up in a culture different from their parents and formed a hybrid (third) identity that’s a mix of both cultures. But Miyagi says the condiments are for “really anyone who has tried these flavors and wants to re-create their favorite dish, or who is just open to learning more and being more progressive about what they eat at home.”

Cabi founders Miki Nomura and Eri Miyagi.

Photo: Courtesy of Cabi

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