Translated by MATCHA_En
Eat Osaka: Let's Learn To Cook Japanese Food!
Written by Haruka
So, you've gone shopping, seen the castle and aquarium, been to USJ... what else is there to do in Osaka? How about learning how to cook your own Japanese dishes?
"We saw Osaka Castle, did some shopping, went to USJ... Well, what's next?"
At times like that, why not try something truly unique, like taking part in a cooking class where you can try cooking Osakan food yourself?
Eat Osaka is a cooking class located underneath Osaka's landmark Tsūtenkaku Tower. You can make home cooking, as well as Osaka's konamon (*1) foods in this homey Japanese room in Osaka.
This time we had the opportunity to join in on a class with some guests from Scotland.
*1 Konamon: dishes that are typically made with flour; one of the standard traditional foos of Osaka.
Located in a private home rather than a commercial building, Eat Osaka is found a 1 minute walk from the watchful eye of Tsūtenkaku Tower.
We're going to meet up with the Scottish chefs-to-be at Tsūtenkaku, and then make our way there. The Eat Osaka Cooking School looks like a regular house at first, but the living room has been turned into a really lovely Japanese-style classroom.
Cooking started after we washed our hands, put on some original aprons, and greeted our teacher for the day.
There are two courses to choose from when registering at Eat Osaka: street food and home cooking.
Today's menu is street food. These are snack foods that are sold by street vendors and food stalls in Osaka, and all over the country for festivals.
First, let's start with kitsune udon.
Kitsune udon has kitsune (fox) in the name, but rest assured, there's no fox meat in the dish.
Why is it called that then? We asked that question as we were kneading the dough. To find out why, please stop by Eat Osaka.
Here, we had a surprising turn of events. Once we had kneaded the dough, we scooped it all up, put it in a plastic bag and starting stepping on the bag.
The thick springy texture of udon comes from having the dough worked over in this manner.
After that, the dough needs to rest a little, so we put the dough bag in our pockets and in the meantime get to work on some other dishes. The second item on the street food menu is yakitori (grilled chicken skewers).
Here we got into pairs and began making the tare or sauce for the yakitori.
Tare is a sweet and salty Japanese sauce, which can also be made from scratch. By the way, at Eat Osaka, they typically use ingredients that are easy to come by overseas as well so you can try making your own Japanese dishes after your trip.
Next, you start putting the cubed chicken and green onion on the skewers; it almost feels like sewing as you piece the ingredients together.
This type of yakitori is called negima, and once the skewers have been thoroughly coated in the tare sauce, they are ready to start cooking. While those cook, we prepared our third dish.
First, we cut the vegetables.
We used a knife that was made in the famous Sakai area of Osaka. After you see and feel the texture of the carrots sliced with this knife, you will have a greater understanding of just how sharp this knife is.
There is a knife shop near Eat Osaka which sells knives from Sakai as well; we heard that many of the students head to this shop after taking the cooking course to find out more about them.
Now, we finally get back to our first dish, the udon noodles. The dough has been setting for about an hour at this point.
The hardness of the dough is apparent once it is taken it out of the bag; we next put a little flour on it, then flattened out the dough and cut it into noodles.
After cutting the dough into slightly thick noodles, we boiled them. By this time, everyone was feeling hungry.
Lastly, we went back to our third dish hashimaki. Hashimaki is somewhat similar to a flat okonomiyaki, that is popularly sold at festivals and food stands. The sliced vegetables and a large shiso leaf (sasparilla leaf) are laid out on the hashimaki dough, then the stack is carefully wrapped around a pair of disposable chopsticks.
It takes a little bit of skill to wrap the dough around the chopsticks well, but everybody was really careful and all the hashimaki turned out looking great! It goes without saying that if you do a good job, you can expect a round of applause from your friends.
Both the hashimaki and yakitori were finished cooking at about the same time. Then we put the udon noodles in some soup and our feast was finished.
Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves right up to the end. Now it's time to dig in. But don't forget to say "itadakimasu" (*2) first!
*2 Itadakimasu: an expression of gratitude before meals.
As the teachers at Eat Osaka are fluent in English, it's easy to pass the entire two and a half hours of the cooking class and the meal chatting away over Japanese tea.
And once you've eaten the dishes you prepared, you can get copies of the recipes written on Japanese paper which you can take home as souvenirs and guides to making your own Japanese dishes in the future. Schools that offer lessons like this in English are few and far between and you would be hard-pressed to find a cooking class in a Japanese room as beautiful as this one. A further bonus of Eat Osaka is that children are allowed to join the lessons, making it a perfect place for families too.
Great in all weather, full English service, and learning a useful skill that you can take with you wherever you go - why wouldn't you want to take a lesson at Eat Osaka?
Address: Osaka, Naniwa, Ebisu Higashi
Hours: from 11:00, and from 17:00
Closes: Irregular holidays
Credit Cards: -
Other Languages: English
Menus Available in: English (can adapt to vegetarian menus with prior notice)
Nearest Station: Ebisuchō Station (恵美須町駅), Osaka Municipal Subway Sakaisuji Line
Access: 1 minute walk from Tsūtenkaku or 3 minute walk from exit 3 of Ebisuchō Station
Price Range: 6500 yen (children aged 6-12, 5500 yen)
Phone number: 080-4391-8821
Website: Eat Osaka