Now more than ever, you have the opportunity to customize your travel experience and live like a local wherever you go. Airbnb lets you select the perfect apartment in a neighborhood that’s off the beaten path, while Vayable offers unique cultural activities planned by area insiders. The startup BonAppetour works in a similar way by connecting tourists with local chefs who host a cooking/dining concept where you help to make and then enjoy authentic cuisine.
One particular place that BonAppetour reaches is Japan. It hosts offer a number of dining experiences, including Japanese tea ceremonies, preparing bento boxes, and making gyoza (dumplings). Oona McGee of RocketNews24 recently participated in one of these culinary adventures, learning to make gyoza from scratch with the help of host Mariko and her mother, a former restaurant manager.
The enlightening experience included a warm welcome into the cozy home that Mariko shares with her daughter, mother, and grandmother. During McGee’s meal, she learned about the different ingredients in the dish and even rolled, filled, and pinched the dumplings herself. The morsels were later pan friend and enjoyed with a side of sake as well as fruit in a chilled glass.
Check out some of McGee’s experience below. It’s safe to say we’ve got wanderlust just looking at them.
Above: Mariko, the host.
Mariko and her mom.
Traditional dashi broth: dried sardines, dried bonito fish, and kombu (dried seaweed).
Mariko's mother creates the filling for the gyoza, which included minced pork, cabbage, leeks, and more.
After flattening, shaping, and filling the dough, Mariko's mother taught McGee how to fold the pieces.
The dumplings were prepared pan fried…
…and later enjoyed together around the table.
Chilled fruit finished the feast.