The Best Cooking Classes in Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan's busy capital, mixes the ultramodern and the traditional. Tokyo's neon-lit streetscapes still look like a sci-fi film set - and that's a vision of the city from the 1980s. Tokyo has been building ever since, pushing the boundaries of what's possible on densely populated, earthquake-prone land, adding ever taller, sleeker structures. Come see the utopian mega-malls, the edgy designer boutiques from Japan's award-winning architects, and the world's tallest tower - Tokyo Sky Tree - a twisting spire that draws on ancient building techniques. Tokyo may be forever reaching into the future but you can still see traces of the shogun's capital on the kabuki stage, at a sumo tournament or under the cherry blossoms. It's a modern city built on old patterns, and in the shadows of skyscrapers you can find anachronistic wooden shanty bars and quiet alleys, raucous traditional festivals and lantern-lit yakitori (grilled chicken) stands. The opulent Meiji Shinto Shrine is known for its towering gate and surrounding woods. The Imperial Palace sits amid large public gardens. The city's many museums offer exhibits ranging from classical art to a reconstructed kabuki theater. Tokyo has more Michelin stars than any other city and Japanese cuisine has been added to the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage list. But that's not what makes dining in Tokyo such an amazing experience. What really counts is the city's long-standing artisan culture. Tokyo's vibrant food culture is legendary, and is one of the many reasons why people flock to the Japanese capital. With so much to see, do, and taste, Tokyo is a great place to experience, and there are several options for cooking classes so you can not only taste the best flavors of the city, but also be able to recreate the experience when you go home.
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Roll your way to an afternoon of fun during this 2-hour sushi-making class taught by a professional chef. Learn about the origins of sushi and watch a master at work preparing fresh fish. Then follow the instruction of your chef instructor as you prepare 2 rolls of sushi and 8 nigiri. Learn how to prepare sushi through live demonstrations by a professional sushi chef. Put on a traditional happi coat and become a sushi chef. Make your own rolled sushi and nigiri sushi, as the chef takes you through the step by step process. Enjoy your handcrafted sushi lunch along with a beef hot pot. Bring home a Sushi Experience Certificate as a keepsake.
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Your Tokyo sushi experience starts with hotel pickup by your guide, who leads you by public transportation to the restaurant in Tsukiji. Once you arrive, your private lesson begins with meeting the master chefs and putting on your chef's apron and hat. Not only will you learn authentic sushi craftsmanship from an expert professional, you will also enjoy the incredibly rare experience of actually stepping behind the sushi counter to make your sushi from the point of view of a real chef. Follow your chefs through a number of different traditional nigiri sushi, using the freshest of raw fish acquired earlier that day from the famous Tsukiji fish market. Finish your lesson by choosing one hand roll to make, and then move to the table to enjoy your creations, accompanied by miso soup and a couple of sushi pieces made by one of the chefs. During your meal, the chef and your guide, who acts as a translator, tell you about the history of sushi and secrets of the trade, and can answer any questions you have. In addition to the white chef's coat and hat that are yours to take home, you will receive a fan, a traditional yunomi teacup and a group photo with which to commemorate this memorable experience.
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Start the tour with visit to the bustling Tsukiji Shijo, the world's biggest fish market where buyers and sellers hurry along narrow lanes with their carts and trucks. After learning where the fish comes from, you will then have a unique hands-on sushi making experience. Depending on the day of travel, the sushi workshop takes place either in Tsukiji or close to Ginza. You will enjoy your own sushi for lunch. Then hop on a subway and visit Asakusa, an old-day pleasure district once filled with gangsters, geisha and artists, but now filled with crowds of tourists, both local and international. Asakusa is also home to the city's oldest Buddhist temple, Sensoji. You will enjoy a stark contrast between the old and the new with Tokyo Skytree, the city's newest landmark, in the background. The tour concludes in Asakusa.
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Soba, usually made from buckwheat flour, refers to any thin noodle - as opposed to thick wheat noodles, known as udon. Shin-soba, which is made with newly harvested buckwheat, tastes sweeter and is more flavorful than regular soba. Served either chilled with a dipping sauce or in hot broth as a noodle soup, soba is still quite popular at fast food venues and expensive specialty restaurants throughout Japan. Make your way to Tokyo's Tsukiji district, site of the famous Tsukiji Fish Market, to begin your class. When you arrive at the school for your private class, meet your cooking instructor. After a demonstration and soba-noodle tasting, learn to prepare the soba by mixing and flattening the dough, made from buckwheat flour. You'll cut the dough into 1.6-millimeter strips, considered the most important part of the process. These soba noodles will be cooked according to mazumizu, meaning 'water first' in Japanese, a practice that ensures each ingredient is cooked in its broth the optimal way to achieve the best textures and flavors. At the end of your class, slurp up your bowl of noodles along with authentic dipping sauce. Delight in the flavorful, seasonal ingredients as you enjoy your creation.
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