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On any regular Thursday evening in Tokyo, you’d probably find me in a restaurant or bar, soaking up the crowds, cramped conditions and conversation (the “three Cs”), but most of all, enjoying the food. Ranked by the number of Michelin-starred restaurants, Tokyo is the greatest culinary city in the world, and not being able to dine out has been one of the more minor tragedies of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, even though the state of emergency has run its course, you’re more likely to find me hunched over a gas burner, waiting for mirin- and shoyu-laden sauces to thicken as I do my best to recreate the dishes I miss the most. The efforts aren’t unguided and, when off the stove, my nose is pressed to the pages of a cookbook, taking inspiration from those who have taken great care to demystify the cuisine and write recipes that are both easy to follow and delicious.

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