We were in Japan, we love Japanese food. It just couldn’t be simpler: we’d do a cooking class!
It was a little tricky to find one suitable for families, but hey, we’ve found it and we had a great day in a Japanese cooking class with kids in Japan.
We found a lot of different cooking classes, from udon to sushi, to classes with super experienced cooking masters, but most of them weren’t for families. There are so many options out there, it’s really hard to choose, so go on and find one that suits your needs!
Ayano-san, from Bonza Japanese Cooking, is an English teacher, so she speaks good English, and she’s a very talented cook. She’s very open to all the choices and needs, so it was very easy to choose.
We chose the Japanese homestyle meal with miso soup, 2 chosen Japanese dishes, and a decomochi (cutely decorated mochi, which is basically sweet rice flour dough) to our class.
The classes are held at her house, in Nagoya (Aichi).
Our cooking class in Japan with kids
On the day of the class, I had a fever. The kids have had the flu but they’d recovered and since Coral (the youngest) and I were the last ones to get it, we were the last ones to recover. In the end, even though we took all the meds and vitamins there were to take, we weren’t well on the day so we had to stay home.
We had told the teacher we were sick when the kids fell ill, she postponed the class for us and even offered a lot of options so we could have the class instead of canceling it.
Angelo and the 3 older kids went, and they had a blast. Ayano-san kindly met them at the train station. She had put together a nice welcome sign for us, and printed out all the instructions and recipes so we could take them home.
First, they started on the decomochi. The dough was already made and partly colored. Ayano-san taught them how to color the dough, then they cut the colored pieces into the right sizes and made the cute smiley-faced mochi. So they sliced them, which was the greatest moment, according to them. The mochi ended up pretty cute.
While it rested, they started on the miso soup stock. They were all amazed at all the ingredients that go into the stock but are never there on the soup itself. A lot of work goes into making a good miso soup.
The Japanese style omelet was a hit. It’s sweet and it’s called maki-tamago, which means rolled eggs. They made thin layers of omelet, rolling them over, to form the pretty Japanese style omelet. Even Joao, who doesn’t like eggs, said it was OK. There’s even a specific frying pan for maki-tamago, which is a rectangle. It’s pretty fun and the kids want to send one of those home so they can make the omelet.
Lastly, the karaage, or the Japanese deep fried chicken. That’s one food all the kids love, so it was a very easy choice. We all thought it’d be the hardest thing to make, but they found out how simple it actually is. I had no idea it wasn’t a lot of work either, so bonus!
Since the class is at her home, they didn’t do the same thing at the same time, so while one was making the omelet, the other was cutting the tofu for the soup, and the other was adding the miso to the stock, etc. It was a great experience in teamwork, timing, and learning different things.
The end of the class
At the end, they ate all the food they made. Ayano-san had made rice (in the rice cooker, because it’s a standard) and served with umeboshi (pickled plums). While they ate, she cooked some of the mochis so they could have as dessert, and served them with kinako (a sweetly roasted soybean flour) and anko (sweet red bean paste). Not all of them enjoyed the red bean paste, but the kinako was a hit.
They’d made so much decomochi that they brought home for Coral and me. It was cute and pretty good.
Our review of the Bonza Japanese Cooking Class
We LOVED it!
It’s highly personalized, and Ayano-san takes into account all the likes, dislikes, and food allergies. There’s no problem, even for picky eaters – and we have 2 of those.
She was very patient and explained things very clearly, slowly, and simply, so they could all understand and do it by themselves.
And the best thing is that she was very trusting, she let them actually do the job. Some people, when they see kids, tend to jump in and do all the work fearing they might get hurt, but she was great. It did help that the kids weren’t little (the ones that were able to go that day were 10, 12, and 14), of course.
She offers many options, like ramen or udon from scratch, sushi, decomochi, or even wagashi (the traditional Japanese sweets). Kids under 6 are free of charge, and there’s a discount for groups of 2 or more people. The prices vary for each option, so you’d better check her website – in English!
If there’s one thing we always want to learn is how to make the food we love. We need to eat anyway, better to know how to make stuff! Cooking classes are our favorite kind of classes, as they’re delicious and very useful!
When you’re in Nagoya (or anywhere in the Aichi region), you should definitely contact Ayano-san and book a class! It’s very worth it!
She’s also on Facebook, and replies really fast!
To finish it…
- What / Where
- $ ~ $$$
- Best local transport option
- Do we recommend it?
- Japanese food cooking class / Nagoya / Japan
- 3~4 hours
- Perfectly child-friendly!