Words and Photos

by Weronika from BentoYa Friends

I was dreaming about this cooking class for a long time because ramen is my favorite food in Japan, so when I found out that my husband Zamaan and I could join the Bentoya workshops, I was as happy as a vegan in Japan can be!

Bentoya’s kitchen is situated in a nice part of Shibuya called Yotsuya, and we were able to get there early enough to grab a cup of coffee and wander around the neighborhood before the classes started. We managed to find the place without problems and Akiko and Azusa, the chefs, were there already. We talked a bit, mostly about food, and started cooking. Or, to be precise, Zamaan helped with the cooking and I took pictures of everything!

We were able to join 2 workshops that day and I don’t think I’ve ever been so full. I felt like I won’t have to eat for at least 2 more days. This food was way too good!

In the first workshop, we learned how to make ramen and gyoza. We made no fish dashi with kombu and shiitake mushrooms, and found out which ingredients work best in vegan ramen. After that we all made our gyozas together and I finally know how to make this beautiful pattern seen in the gyoza pastry! It was so fun that a week later we made it at home, and it’s really not as impossibly difficult as I originally thought it would be!

And then we ate. That’s the important part! We ate a lot and it was all incredibly delicious!

We stayed for the second workshop focused on vegan and gluten free sweets. Rina taught us how to make ichigo daifuku – mochi with sweet bean paste and strawberry. It’s my favorite type of mochi so I was very excited to learn how to make it! I’m visiting my family in a month from now so I’ll definitely show them what I’ve learned. Akiko showed us how to make gluten free cookies and we made sweet spring rolls with Az. But that’s not all – Akiko made also an amazing vegan cheesecake and a chocolate brownie. A full course of deliciousness!

Thank you Bentoya for making it possible, you’re incredible and I’m so happy to have met the women behind it, Akiko, Az and Rina, you’re brilliant. And for those of you who are still not sure whether to join the workshops – don’t hesitate, it is well worth it!