Food is an important part of cultural heritage and national identity and if you’re in Japan and in search of a hands on foodie experience, a quick google search will unearth plenty of options – from making popular favourites like sushi and soba noodles to the more complex process of preparing a Japanese kaiseki.
I have a sweet tooth and cannot resist the delicate desserts in the showcases of Japanese shops, so I’ve decided to book a wagashi-making class with Simply Oishii.
The school is easily accessible and within walking distance of 2 major stations, Meguro and Gotanda, located on the Yamanote Line. The class, which accommodates up to six persons, was held in the instructor’s own home, which was interesting because you’d also get an authentic glimpse into the way locals live.
Class instructor, Miyuki Suyari
The instructor is Miyuki-san and she was extremely prompt and helpful in answering all the questions I had on the class, which helped my trip planning greatly. Miyuki-san is a passionate teacher and is effectively bilingual. She has deep expertise in the skills of wagashi-making and Japanese cooking and shares generously on the heritage and history of Japanese cuisines.
I registered for a one day Mochi & Wagashi Combination Course. Within a short 2.5 hours, we were informed that we’d accomplish the seemingly insurmountable task of creating nerikiri wagashi, Strawberry Daifuku and dango (mochi balls on skewers)! I was excited yet unsure of my clumsy kitchen stills. Thankfully, we were given a manual with recipes and step-by-step illustrations, so my worries turned out to be unfounded.
A special camaraderie is forged through the interactive and hands on learning process as you chat and learn alongside classmates with similar interests in food. Miyuki-san also shared nuggets of information about the uniqueness of Japanese culture, and joked that visitors who do not understand the nuances often commit faux pas, leading to embarrassing and awkward exchanges. It’s always good practice to respect and revere the customs of the land you’re visiting!
Here’s the fruit of our labour after hours of kneading and prodding:
To conclude the day, Miyuki-san brewed traditional matcha tea we prepared to taste our handmade sweets. We each had a go at hand-whisking the green tea with great effort, which evoked bursts of laughter all round the table. If you have some time to spare and are looking for a new experience of Japan, I’d highly recommend spending an afternoon with Miyuki-san. Get packing and book your tickets now!
Simply Oishii Cooking Class
3-16-3 Itopia Meguro Apt # 602