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Event Reports Events&Festivals Series
The world focuses on Japanese food Our foreign reporter participated in an “Okinawan cuisine cooking course”!
The course was organized by a Location Research Co., Ldt. to introduce the charm of the local cuisine. It was held in a very fancy place called “Studio +G Ginza” just a few meters away from the Abercrombie&Fitch Store.
It was the first time for me to participate in a cooking course in Japan so I was surprised to see more male faces than female. Also the ages, from the early twenties and on, there was a wide range of participants. Japan’s areas have various strong points regarding food and it is really interesting to learn about such different local cuisine of the same country. And so I waited excitedly for the start of the cooking class.
The cooking teacher this time for Okinawan meals was Fuchaku Yoshihiko, a chef at the Okinawan restaurant “Achikookoo”. Also this time thanks to Tokyo Gas’ cooperation, we were able to use the latest stove burner and in advance we learned how to use them. Not that the one I have at home is a bad one, but the ones I saw here were ground-breaking. They had timers and screens and blinking lights and could cook rice on their own!!
After we received all the important explanations we all moved one floor up to the study kitchen. Today’s five-dish menu consisted of a few of Okinawa’s most famous and popular meals: Okinawas popular Goya-chanpuru, a stir-fry dish with goya, spam and tofu, Nakami-jiru, a soup with intestines inside, grilled Rafute, a pork-belly dish, Aburamiso (Oilmiso), a paste made of Tuna to put on all kind of other food and Chinbin as black-sugar crepe dessert.
Fuchaku Yoshihiko, a professional cook
The meals we will be taught this time
Fuchaku-sensei is teaching us how to make it
First we watched the teacher cooking and listened to his explanations and comments. On two big screens we could see how he cut the vegetables and saw all of the steps and important points. I went to a high school which specialized in cooking and service, but I was still surprised how Fuchaku-sensei was working on so many dishes at one time. For the Nakami-jiru and the Rafute it takes a long time to boil so a lot of preparation is necessary from the cook’s side. Many meals had to be prepared at once and since efficiency is important, whenever there was time, he cut the Goya or prepared the Chinbin.
After Fuchaku-sensei finished the explanation, the participants divided into groups and shared the preparation of the meals. It was a great help that if we didn’t understand something while cooking there was always staff around who helped us out and answered our questions. I had the job of preparing the Goya-chanpuru so I cut the Goya. First you cut it in length and then take out the inside with a spoon. It was the first time for me to cut a Goya and it was more difficult than I thought. I cooked it for a bit in boiling water, and then stirred it together with island tofu, egg and spam in a fry pan. In the blink of an eye the Goya-chanpuru was done.
The Goya is harder to cut than I thought
Boiling the Goya for a second
In a twinkle of the eye, the Goya-chanpuru is ready to serve
After that, we made the Chinbin, a dessert which is a black-sugar crepe. You only need flour, baking powder, black sugar, water, salad oil and one egg. When you bake the crepe, small spot-like figures appear on the surface, but this is a sign that it will be yummy. Originally it seemed like it was eaten to wish for children’s healthy growth.
Roll the Chinbin and it is done!
Grilling the Rafute more until it is crunchy
Also the vegetables which will be served together get grilled
Altogether the cooking only took us about 40 minutes and in the end we were able to enjoy our five meals after an excited “Let’s eat!”. Everything was really delicious and authentic. I especially liked the Rafute and the Chinbin. The Rafute takes a while if you don’t have a pressure cooker but the Chinbin is very easy to make at home on your own. Also the standard rice ball garnish Aburamiso was especially made with Tuna and was very healthy and delicious. The Nakami-jiru has intestines inside but with the ginger you don’t smell them, so it was also really tasty.
It was a really great experience and after finishing our meals I was still able to remember the recipe and the making of the Okinawa style dishes. I have never participated in a cooking course here in Japan before, but now my curiosity is roused and I want to participate in many different courses involving local cuisine.
In the end we were even given some island tofu to take back home as a present and I was able to immediately cook the learned dishes at home. Even the staff were very friendly and the explanations were easy to understand for foreigners.
After all it wasn’t a surprise that this was a good experience because Japanese cuisine is registered as UNESCO cultural heritage and attracts a lot of world attention.
So don’t be shy, if you have an interest in cooking, it is really worth participating!
Location Research Co.,Ltd.
Currently holding cooking courses and events with local cuisine as topic
Introduction:Hi, I'm Mari from Austria. I came to Japan many times as tourist as well as exchange student when I was in University. Right now I go to Japanese language school.
About me:Working as a OKWave Surfer, my goal is to tell people about my homecountry, write articles about interesting topics and keep the site as much fun as possible.