I had an amazing time in Japan and one of the most memorable things that my friends and I did was to spend an afternoon with a local named Taro. Taro-san owns a business that provides food-loving tourists a chance to learn and help prepare a typical Japanese home-cooked meal right in his own home. If you didn’t know any locals in a foreign country, chances are that you will not have any opportunities to enjoy a home-cooked meal or see the inside of someone’s home. We got both!
There are several options when booking with Haru Cooking Class- named after Taro’s most adorable 3 year old daughter Haruko. We chose to go shopping with Taro at the Nishiki Market (this is additional to the regular cooking bit), where we peppered Taro-san with curious questions about the local produce.
We then took a stroll through shops and laneways before hopping on a bus to his home. Taro-san speaks English very well and we enjoyed conversations about local culture and language and he asked quite a few brain-boggling questions on the use of English grammar. We take for granted what we know as ‘natural’ speech in English but when we had to explain the technicalities behind it, it’s TOUGH! Kudos to all the English teachers out there!
Sorry I digressed. With Taro’s class, you get hands on experience preparing and cooking authentic home-style miso soup, tamago roll (egg), stir-fried veggies and side dishes. However the star of the show was the Kobe steak. We sat cross-legged on Taro-san’s living/dining room floor and marvelled at the journey our pieces of Kobe steaks took to make it Kobe-certified. There’s even a website that tracks which farm and breeder the specific Kobe beef originated from. (Every Kobe beef/cow is assigned a registration certificate and number) Yup, they are serious about their Kobe beef! Real serious!
We helped to slice, season and cook the various dishes but left the handling of our precious Kobe beef to Taro-san. I have never eaten such amazing melt-in-the-mouth steaks cooked simply with salt and pepper. Soooo gooood!!! The whole meal and experience was fantastic and I highly recommend anyone visiting Kyoto to attend a class with Taro-san. You won’t regret it!
But wait there’s more! Taro-san is also quite an inventor.
He designed this oil dispenser which allows you to evenly and lightly oil the base of your cooking pans without over-pouring oil – as I often do! He generously gave each couple a dispenser to take home but this is available for sale on his website. I haven’t put what I have learnt in his class into practice yet, but just writing this post makes me want to make up a batch of fresh miso soup pronto!
For more information on Taro and his fun-filled cooking class, visit his website.