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Posts tagged ‘luxury hotels in Tokyo’

Aman Tokyo’s Spooky Afternoon Tea returns for Halloween

Aman Tokyo halloween tea

Aman Tokyo has again launched its annual Halloween Afternoon Tea in The Lounge. The savouries and sweets include ghost shaped macaroons, bat and witches hat cookies, spider web candy and a chocolate “bomb” with a surprise inside.

Available from now until October 31st 2019, 11.30am – 5pm.

¥4,600 (plus consumption tax and service charge)

For reservations call +81-3-5224-3339 or click here to reserve a table online

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Plastic Fantastic – a Tokyo Food Experience

Me and my “chocolate sundae”

[UPDATE: The Peninsula Tokyo is re-opening on June 18, 2020. The hotel is offering a “We Meet Again – The Eight Loves of The Peninsula Tokyo” package for Japan residents. Benefits include daily complimentary breakfast for two people, JPY 5,000 dining credit valid in the hotel restaurants, 24-hour flexible check-in and check-out, the second night of room at 50% discounts. In addition to the benefits, guests may select one of “The Eight Loves of The Peninsula Tokyo” unique experiences,including Love of Food: Dim Sum Cooking Class and Love of Transportation: Dazzling Ride in Vintage Rolls-Royce and more which all love.
From JPY 49,500 per night for a Deluxe Room
Book now for stays through December 31, 2020
Terms and conditions apply.]

I’m standing at a kitchen sink in Tokyo shaping a sheet of submerged plastic into a “lettuce”. Fake food samples are a familiar sight in the windows of restaurants in Japan. They entice customers into the eateries and simplify menu ordering for foreigners. And I’m learning to make them – thanks to The Peninsula hotel’s Fun With Faux Food academy programme.

There are some 200 food sample factories in Japan but Yamato is one of the few making small batches by hand. Second generation owner, Mr Yuichi Ito, was born in Gujyo-Hachiman in the Gifu prefecture, birthplace of the food sample industry in the 1940s, and still known as “wax food town”.

The windows of his workshop are packed with incredibly realistic replicas of sushi, yakitori, grilled fish and Western dishes. Originally they were made from wax but now they are more durable PVC that won’t melt in restaurant windows.

I’m feeling intimidated but my teachers, Yuichi, his son Ryo and their assistant, Aomi Chino, couldn’t be more welcoming with beaming their smiles.

We start with tempura – or more precisely its side serving of lettuce. Ryo had made it look so easy: a scoop of white liquid lowered gently into the warm water then spread into an oblong with the spoon, three scoops of green liquid gently lined along three sides. The oblong I’ve made is not as uniformed as Ryo’s so I fear my lettuce is going to be a giant monstrosity unlike Ryo’s neat baby one.

Then the fun begins. I’m told to dip my hands into the water and pull the plastic downwards. Remarkably, a definite lettuce texture and colour emerges. Suddenly I’m directed to scoop the sides of the oblong together. It’s all quite frantic and I keep scooping away. Then something miraculous happens: a lettuce shape appears. “Cute!” says Ryo.

The experience reminds me of the retro British TV show, The Generation Game, where hapless contestants attempt to make something after a talented pro has demonstrated. They usually failed woefully much to the hilarity of the audience but with the Itos at hand there’s no chance of any disasters here.

On to the tempura. A plastic “shrimp” and “pumpkin” are waiting on the table, it’s my job to make the batter. Having watched Ryo’s demo I drip yellow liquid into the warm water in a zig zag to make a Jackson Pollock like pattern. Then I repeat in reverse, careful to get the height right: not too high or low. The resulting bubbled matter definitely resembles batter. I’m getting into this.

The Fun of Faux Food Hands-on Plastic and Wax Modelling (1)-2

Next is ramen. I could have made curry or pizza but have chosen Japanese dishes. Frankly I’m nervous about attempting this one, eying the realistic example next to me. But it’s more straightforward than I imagined.

I’m instructed to pick up a batch of “noodles” and place them, vertically, in a bowl of warm water then wrap them centrifugally. Easy peasy I think, but there’s more to come. I’m told to pick up three strands at a time, form a circle with them in the air, followed by a figure of eight then place them in another bowl. It’s fiddly and I’m painfully slow but I find it strangely relaxing.

Task eventually completed I pour a golden gelatin over the whole lot to form the broth. I’m pretty pleased with this but Ryo has spotted several air bubbles so patiently flicks a cigarette lighter over each one until they’re dispersed. Meanwhile, I soak some ready made, plastic spring onions, meat, spinach and bamboo shoots and, to use the technical term, knock-them-about-a-bit to look more realistic. Then I place them, artfully I think, on the top of broth. Et voila, ramen!

As a finale there’s an ice cream sundae to make but first my Peninsula guide, who’s driven me here in the hotel mini and is translating, proffers a packed lunch; great timing as I’m strangely ravenous due to the tempura and ramen making.

Sundaes are made with silicon so the tops – the “whipped cream” – are surprisingly bendy. I choose chocolate ice cream so Aomi adds a brown dye to the silicon in a piping bag. Home bakers will come into their own here for I’m to pipe the mixture, circular wise, into a glass to create a chocolate and vanilla swirl. Then for the tricky bit: piping the whipped cream topping. The results are impressive but I must admit to getting a lot of help from Ryo.

The chocolate in the chocolate sundae
The chocolate in the chocolate sundae
The “whipped cream” topping

Yuichi presents a tray jammed with hand made, plastic accoutrements: wafers, cookies, strawberries and cherries. It’s refreshingly fun to choose from, thinking about the different heights for the design and then placing them strategically. I must admit to being tempted to tuck into my creation. I go back to the Peninsula and order a real chocolate sundae at Peter.

http://www.peninsula.com/Tokyo

A Mini Adventure in Tokyo

Mini at The Peninsula Tokyo

Mini at The Peninsula Tokyo

Chopstix had fun being ferried around Tokyo in the Peninsula hotel’s customised Mini Cooper Clubman. Even if we are bigger than the average Asian tourist.

Read more about our adventures here:

http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/food-drink/article/1849253/make-your-own-plastic-food-peninsula-tokyo-course

Best Hotel Breakfasts in Asia

Sous Vide Egg Innovation at The Sanchaya, Bintan

Sous Vide Egg Innovation at The Sanchaya, Bintan

Breakfast, that most important meal of the day, is often a buffet at hotels in Asia. The American trend for self-service spreads with vast choices has been embraced here. But buffet fatigue is setting in and some hotels and resorts are offering more sedate, sit down options with, in some cases, surprisingly inventive menus. Here’s five of the best in the region.

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