We had a great opportunity to interview Zico after a panel session at the symposium of Taste of Japan in Rio de Janeiro. He spoke to us about the attractiveness of Japanese cuisines and the superior points of its culture, which he has learned through the long period of living in Japan.
―First of all, I would like to ask you if you have any favorite Japanese food or any dislikes?
I like teppanyaki and shabu-shabu.
Not to mention, I am a big fan of wagyu beef. I think everyone likes it.
I had wagyu shabu-shabu for the first time in Japan when I was playing in Kashima Antlers. It was very delicious.
Unfortunately, no restaurants in Rio can serve meals with the same deliciousness.
I don’t like wasabi. I even eat sushi without it.
― Zico, you have had a great number of chances to enjoy Japanese cuisines in Japan over a long period, when you were playing and coaching soccer in Japan.Has your impression on Japanese cuisines changed after living in Japan?
Also, what is your impression on Japanese cuisines and Japan-made food?
I often went to Japanese restaurants in my locals in Rio before moving to Japan.
There weren’t many though, but luckily, I had some Japanese restaurants nearby my residence.
Japanese cuisines are really great, and I even become a bigger fan of it since I lived in Japan.
High quality is its attractiveness, because it is important for consumers.
Regardless of where I am, I always try to find Japanese restaurants.
Along with Shimatani chef (left) and Koike chef (right).
― Now, as a big fan of Japanese cuisine, do you have any recommendations in Japanese food (or ingredients) that you want more Brazilians to know or enjoy eating?
Of course, I recommend wagyu in teppanyaki and shabu-shabu.
Although there are many eateries that offer sushi and sashimi now, I don’t know if there is one serving wagyu beef.
In the past, I have seen restaurants in the Middle East and the U.S that offer wagyu beef. Hopefully in the near future, more delicious restaurants can be found in Brazil.
Zico was a professional Brazilian soccer player, who is a soccer instructor currently.
As a representative player of Brazil, he achieved 52 goals in 72 games, and played in three FIFA World Cups.
In 1981 and 1983, Zico was selected as the World’s Best Player in the World Soccer (magazine).
After joining in Kashima Antlers in 1991, Zico became a technical advisor of the team, and then he accepted a coaching position of Japan National Team. Zico is a well-known Japanese lover.
In 2015, Zico was appointed to the Goodwill Ambassador by the Japanese Consulate in Rio as Japan and Brazil celebrated the 120 year anniversary of their diplomatic relationship.