Tokyo Food Tutorials suitable for visitors

Loretta
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Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 3 days ago.

SOBA

I mentioned in a thread about udon that I would be attending a soba making class.

This proved to be an excellent and very worthwhile experience. I learned about the existence of the school through this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDLcgvbzVf0

Contact was made by email and a date and time arranged (10:30am on a Wednesday - the school is closed on Tuesdays)
I was very fortunate to be the only student enrolled for that date and time, even luckier when I discovered that sensei spoke English!
The class begins with a tour around the facilities, I got to inspect and handle (and smell) the soba seeds at every stage of their milling process and note the texture of the flour from each layer of the seed.
Then came the tutorial in making soba using the classic 8 parts soba flour to 2 parts wheat flour ratio.
It's one thing to read about the techniques and implements involved, it's quite another to see and be guided in them. The wide bowl was a joy to use, and it was wonderful to be able to use the long rolling pin and super sharp cutting cleaver and wooden cutting board - this was when I was particularly grateful for the expert tuition and guidance on finger/cats paw techniques.
Not only do you get a master class, but at the conclusion of your lesson, you are led to the beautiful restaurant and your efforts are cooked and prepared expertly for you before being served. The rest of your teuchi soba noodles are boxed for you to take away with you together with some bottled soba sauce.
And all for just 3,150yen - an amazing deal.
http://www.edotokyosoba.com/kyoshitsu-fun.html

I picked up information about soba prior to my class with "The Book of Soba" by James Udesky

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Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 3 days ago.
Monjya-yaki

A location which features prominently in many visitors' itineraries is Ryogoku, Sumo town. A friend from England was in town for a few days while I was there and I went with her and her friend to this restaurant after our soak at Mikoku Yu (a marvellous local sento that uses natural black spring water).

Honjo-Kaeruhonpo Ryogoku Candy Shop/Restaurant
Location: 1-8-6 Kamezawa, Sumida-Ku, Tokyo 130-0014 Japan
(located right next to Ryogoku's Oedo line station, about a 5-7 minute walk from the JR station)
Phone: 03-5608-3788
Open: Mon-Fri 10:00AM-2:30PM(Lunch from 11:30AM) Dinner 5:00PM-11:00PM
Sat 10:00AM-2:30PM(Lunch from 11:30AM) Dinner 5:00PM-10:00PM
Sun & National Holiday Evening-10:00PM (Sometimes closed on Sunday & a national holiday.)
http://www.kaeruhonpo.com/ (click the ENGLISH link on the left)
Lunch here costs just 500yen (and comes in very generous portions!)
But the reason I'm recommending this place so highly is for the monja-yaki that is offered here in the evenings.

Monja-yaki is Tokyo's answer to Okonomiyaki. It's rather different to Okonomiyaki, particularly in cooking technique. I have to admit that the idea of cooking monjayaki at a restaurant table top was something that had intimidated me for quite some time (particularly as my Japanese language skills are so very, very basic).
I can't imagine a more wonderful place to learn.
The owner was charming and spoke fantastic English (he even speaks a smattering of Spanish) and I got a thorough tutorial on preparing and eating monjya-yaki (as well as how to clean up the hot pan). There is a very wide variety of interesting non-alcoholic sodas and my friends enjoyed some of the coldest lager they'd ever had.
A vegetarian version of monjya-yaki can be prepared if you require (the dark sauce already on the table that you pour into the batter might contain dashi, but this can be omitted or substituted with soy sauce - I'm sure the restaurant manager will have his own ideas). I'm not sure if egg is included in the batter, I forgot to ask about the possibility of a vegan version.

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