We were first introduced to Kitchhike through our airbnb host and immediately thought it was a great idea. Apart from living with the locals, what better way to experience the Japanese culture than to spend an afternoon learning to prepare and cook a homemade meal DIY style!
We met our very lovely, welcoming host and cook, Yui, dressed in a beautiful kimono. She lived in a studio apartment in a quiet neighbourhood of Tokyo, not far from the Skytree tower, within walking distance of a train station. It is a part of Tokyo that few tourists get to experience - where the old and new merge together.
Putting on a traditional kimono is notoriously difficult, but Yui was an absolute professional, using great skill to adjust the length and put on the several different layers of robe, sash and various accessories.
It felt incredible to be wearing a traditional kimono (you learn to take smaller steps!), giving me a deeper insight into Japan's traditions and a greater appreciation into the complexity and beauty of the kimono.
Do not miss this opportunity, nothing compares to wearing one for real!
Our first course was making seaweed rolls with sashimi. We were introduced to natto - sticky fermented beans, which are a soul food of the Japanese. It would mark the start of our culinary adventure.
Our next course would be a street food favorite: takoyaki or grilled octopus balls! Pouring the egg batter into the special grilled plate, I was wondering how we were going to make the perfectly shaped crisp balls of takoyaki that we'd come to love eating off the street.
Turns out you only need a single skewer to turn and shape them in the special grilled plate. We topped the takoyaki with a sticky rich sause, mayonnaise and dancing benito flakes.
The takoyaki was crisp on the outside and still had their gooey centers. Bliss!
After our meal, Yui took us on a quick tour around her neighborhood as we walked back to the station - seeing traditional sweets stores and seeing the interior of an old traditional wooden styled house where a seamstress made kimonos. After navigating a treacherous set of stairs, we would be introduced to a game played with colorful fans, that is traditionally played with geishas. It was mesmerizing seeing the seamstress skillfully knock away the centerpiece with an acrobatic maneuver with the fan.
Thank you so much Yui for hosting us and letting us cook with you in your home! It is easily our most memorable experience so far in Japan!
[What is KitchHike?]
Discover Japan through kitchens!
It's a service that lets you meet real people, and eat real food in Japan. Feel like trying real Japanese food ('washoku')? Go to a local house and enjoy Japanese home made meals!
The KitchHike community is the largest of its type, where Japanese people invite foreign visitors into their homes to eat authentic Japanese meals.
[Are you interested in KitchHike?]