Doing cultural classes overseas while on holidays can be a bit of a hit and miss. Often it feels like a money grab where they rush you through some things (like certain tours) and call it a day.
In Japan there are a large number of cultural classes or workshops you can take. From flower arranging, origami, tea ceremonies, the lot. For me cooking and eating is an important part of life, so I decided to book into a cooking class instead.
Buddha Bellies Cooking Studio Tokyo has a bit of a cheesy name, but Tripadvisor had good reviews for it, so it was good enough for me. We opted for something simple, being the Bento Box class. This consisted of cooking chicken teriyaki, tamagoyaki, and some side dishes. She also offers classes in making sushi, and sukiyaki (Japanese hotpot)
To get here was simple, as Ayuko met as at the nearest train station, being Jimbocho. There will be a few other tourists waiting aimlessly at that particular exit, so you will know that you are in the right place
Buddha Bellies Cooking Studio Class
Once inside the studio, you’ll realise that it feels more home like, rather than an industrial / commercial kitchen. Inside is a dining room and table with coffee table books all along the bookshelves. This is also the place that we did the cooking, with each person having a portable burner.
After some introductions, we started with cooking the tamagoyaki egg. This is basically a beaten egg cooked in a rectangle pan, then rolled up into a rectangular prism like shape. The mix is egg, mirin, and sugar from memory. It looks easier than it is!
The Final Product
We then prepared the side dishes, being the decorated rice, and a pickled cucumber and seaweed salad. And just like that you end up with something like this
She even helped us with styling the bento box and sake. Don’t worry, shes generous with the sake with free refils 🙂
Comparison of mine (right pic) and the partners, which turned out much better.
This was a good experience not only to learn some basics of Japanese cooking, but also to meet fellow travellers in Tokyo. We met a lady who had relocated because her husband was transferred to a position in BP, a couple from New Zealand that were preparing to start teaching English in Japan as ALTs, and a British solo traveller looking for a unique experience.
I even wanted to buy a bento box to bring back with me, but practically speaking, i don’t know if i have the patience to serve everything nicely in bento boxes, including cleaning of them each night -_-