Get a taste of Niigata's distinctive food culture — which is heavy on fermentation due to the area’s long, harsh winters — on this cooking class. You’ll make a uniquely international halal burger with fermented seasonings and other healthy local ingredients. Even the buns are locally made!
Bordering mountains and the sea, Niigata Prefecture in central Japan sees heavy snowfall each year. Its winter climate has had a major influence on many aspects of the local lifestyle, including the culture and even its cuisine. For example, the Echigo region at the southern tip of Niigata is known for time-honored food preservation techniques that are still practiced to this day. In ancient times, villagers came up with these methods to ensure that they had enough food to last the area's harsh, long winters. Today, these practices are one of the distinctive hallmarks of Niigata's food culture, and the town of Echigo-Yuzawa — nicknamed Japan's Snow Country — has gained a reputation for being a food tourism hotspot. Get a taste of snow-country gastronomy on this experience, in which you'll try traditional fermented food and other local ingredients with a modern twist! With an expert chef, as well as an English-speaking guide who's lived in the Middle East, you'll make a halal burger flavored with seasonings made with 'koji' (a fermentation agent) from Echigo-Yuzawa. The burger will be made with an assortment of healthy, delicious local ingredients — even the buns are handmade with pure water from Niigata and natural, non-commercial yeast! You'll prepare your burger yourself, then sit down and reward yourself with a delicious lunch. Throughout the experience, the chef and your guide will also chat with you about Niigata cuisine, the area's best-kept food preservation secrets, and the health benefits of fermented food. As an added bonus, you'll also enjoy tandoori chicken — roasted to perfection in an actual 'tandoor' oven — marinated with local spices, as well as 'amazake,' a fermented rice drink. Some types of amazake contain a small amount of alcohol, but the amazake that you'll have in this experience is alcohol-free. Thanks to the quality of its waters, Niigata is one of Japan's leading producers of sake and rice, so take this opportunity to try one of the area's specialties. Book now for a delicious meal that's an eclectic mix of cultural influences!