8 Japanese Cooking Classes To Help You Feel More Confident In The Kitchen
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It goes without saying that one of Japan’s major attractions is its food. The nation has an impressive culinary pedigree that attracts hordes of visitors year-round. But to truly appreciate the time, art, and effort that goes into making your favorite dishes, you’ve gotta’ do more than just eat it, which is why taking a cooking class in Japan is one of the best ways to experience the country.
Food in Japan isn’t only about sustenance; it’s a way of life, deeply integrated into the culture and representative of those who make the dishes we eat. airKitchen is a platform that understands both the importance of the Japanese food experience and the barriers of entry that can prevent many foreign folks from making the leap from behind the dinner table to behind the kitchen counter.
Through airKitchen, you can book unique, immersive cooking classes hosted by local Japanese people with both professional and home-taught experience who run classes in their home kitchens and studios across Japan.
After cooking the food, you can sit down with the hosts and share a meal and conversation—the perfect opportunity to build a real human connection and get a behind-the-scenes look of a side of Japan that most tourists never get to see.
[It’s] the perfect opportunity to build a real human connection and get a behind-the-scenes look of a side of Japan that most tourists never get to see.
You’ll also find many vegetarian and vegan adaptable classes on airKitchen, too. So if you do have some dietary restrictions, more often than not, it can be accounted for; just let your host know ahead of time so they can prepare. If you’re keen to sign up and don’t know where to begin, here’s a handful of classes in Tokyo we’d recommend.
Sure, everyone loves eating ramen, but it’s one of those foods you never really get the opportunity to try and make yourself. If you join a class such as the homestyle ramen and gyoza class, however, you can make rustic home-style ramen with fried gyoza and a side dish, like crispy cucumber pickles, the perfect ramen accompaniments! The style of ramen the current host teaches in their home is one her mother perfected while she was growing up: thick, chewy noodles, and a simple yet satisfying broth. It’s cozy, warm, fun to make, and the perfect Japanese comfort food for the winter.
Want to impress guests next time you have a dinner gathering? Then signing up for a class to brush up on your sushi crafting skills is one fundamental way to show off a little while also making a dish that’s versatile and delicious. How about learning from a professional sushi chef with over 35 years of sushi-making experience? In the professional sushi class, you’ll learn from a chef passionate about Japanese home cooking who wants to share its joys with the world. You’ll learn about how to make the perfect vinegared rice,—an integral component of sushi—create classic nigiri style sushi and hand-rolled sushi, too. As part of the class, the sushi chef is also more than happy to give you a few extra pointers on how to use a Japanese knife effectively to ensure your new found sushi skills are at peak performance levels. Watch out Jiro!
Wagashi aka traditional Japanese sweets, are not only delicious pieces of edible art but are also a key part of the classic tea ceremony experience. Join the regular sweets-making workshop in Shibuya where you’ll learn all about how to make and where to try traditional Japanese sweets, as well as the context in which these delicious delights are typically experienced. Once you’re done, you’ll be able to enjoy eating your cute little creations with a bowl of authentic Japanese matcha.
While its ingredients are simple, it’s deceptively tricky to make the perfect udon noodles, but if you sign up for an udon-making class, you’ll be a confident noodle master in no time. The handmade udon-making class takes place in the popular and historic neighborhood of Asakusa, covering the entire udon-making process, from how to roll udon noodles, how to make a stock sauce for the noodles and how to prepare seasonal vegetables for a delicious tempura topping. During the class, the hospitable host will also teach you how to write your name in kanji and give you local insider tips on where to go if you’re in town on vacation.
If you’ve already made regular sushi, or you’re one who likes to combine your artistic flair with your culinary prowess, then this Ginza-based art sushi roll and mochi class is the experience for you. The host has crafted the ideal class for foreign guests wanting to have a little fun with their food. During the class, you’ll learn how to use sushi rice, cucumber, seaweed, a bamboo rolling mat, mochi dough, and a mortar and pestle to create little masterpieces that’ll brighten up any bento box. This class doesn’t use any fish at all, so it’s perfect for vegetarians or those who aren’t too keen on seafood but still want to dabble in the sushi-making world.
Kyara-ben, which translates to character bento (or character boxed lunch), is the distinctly Japanese art of recreating your favorite cartoon characters, logos, and images as little edible sushi treats. A playful way to brighten up your diet, it’s an ultra-kawaii food craft that’s been perfected by doting mothers over generations but is now just as well suited to the Instagram age. Hosted by a very experienced teacher of Japanese cooking (she was awarded a prize for her work in the 2012 International Character Lunch Box Contest), this anime characters lunchbox class in Akihabara is suitable for folks of all cooking skill levels, including super beginners and children, making it a whole bunch of fun for the entire family. Who are you going to make?
While being a vegetarian in Japan is not always easy, one of the greatest benefits of airKitchen is the massive array of vegetarian, vegan, and non-meat adaptable classes on offer. The vegetarian sushi class is one such great example. During the class, you’ll learn how to make strictly meat and fish-free sushi that’s as colorful and delicious as any other sushi out there. All of the products used contain no fish or animal stock, so vegan friends can rest easy too.
Gyoza is one of the nation’s greatest drinking snacks. The Japanese version of a dumpling, these crispy little (typically) meat stuffed fried pockets are the perfect side dish to bring to a picnic, dinner party, or to binge on at home. Don’t expect your regular run-of-the-mill gyoza in the dumpling class, the class teacher is also a practicing nutritionist with experience in Japanese, vegetarian, and macrobiotic styles of cooking. So, you know whatever you’re going to whip up in the kitchen has been perfected to the nth degree. You can learn all there is to know about making the perfect gyoza, and if you’re vegetarian, the host can adapt the class to fit your dietary requirements, too, so everyone can be part of the action.
Discover hundreds of other authentic Japanese cooking classes across Japan through airKitchen’s official website.