Whenever in Japan, I find myself obsessed with the cuisine; planning my days, meetings and evenings around finding the very best and eclectic food Japan has to offer. Whether a new restaurant, an old favorite or a one tucked away for few to find, it is an important part of the Japan experience. It’s wonderment for the palette to dine, but the true experience lies in observing the preparation and presentation of Japanese food. Speaking to chefs at small Tokyo restaurants can lead to some interesting discussion such as what are the differences in quality between farm raised fish and wild fish or what is the best type of oil to use to cook tempura? These sorts of mysteries in life are best left to the traveler to discover in the restaurants we can introduce to you.
Ah, so what did a typical 24-hour food discovery look like for me during my most recent journey to Japan? First, I started off in the morning at one of Tokyo’s great bakeries, tasting some of the most delicately prepared and unique pastries you can imagine. Unbeknownst to many, Japanese baked goods are exquisite for the eyes and palette. I then made my way over to Nihonbashi to Mitsukoshi’s food floor for lunch. Many Japanese department stores have food floors that exhibit and sell the widest variety of Japanese prepared foods anywhere. Simply walk the floors, be awed by what you see and dive right in to taste whatever you can. With a desire to cap off a perfect day, I then meandered over to the Meguro area to enjoy fine dining at a hip fusion place that has great beef dishes. I must admit that I did slip in a little sightseeing and meetings in between all this food. Yes, I did overachieve today but it was well worth it!
One of our favorite Special Experiences to offer our clients is a visit to a renowned Japanese cooking instructor’s home to learn first-hand the art of Japanese cooking. Participating in a three-hour lesson (including eating the spoils at the end) is a great way to spend time to see how our Japanese hosts live but also how to prepare and enjoy the finest dishes. Recipes and cooking secrets are gladly shared to bring home.
Let JapanQuest Journeys liven your palette with an extraordinary taste of Japan.
By Scott Gilman
Managing Director and Co-Founder of JapanQuest Journeys