Culinary Anthropologist

Secret Kitchen, Fri 9th & Sat 10th Dec 2016 – regional Japanese cooking

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A butcher's stall at Makishi Market Naha

Regional food in Japan reveals a rich variety of cooking styles, tastes and ingredients. While some of these are seen as deeply embedded in the history and cultural practices of an area, others are identified as recently invented ‘traditions’. Both give insights into some of the social and political factors involved in the construction of local food and national cuisine.

Celia Plender profile picThis special Secret Kitchen is a collaboration with fellow anthropologist, chef and food writer Celia Plender. A decade ago Celia worked in a Tokyo restaurant kitchen. Since then she has regularly cooked and written about Japanese food. In the spring of 2016 she returned to Japan to research regional Japanese food and cooking with a grant from the Yan-kit So Memorial Award For Food Writers on Asia. Celia will be presenting some of her recipes and findings from this recent research trip across Japan.

The menu shows off some lesser known aspects of Japanese cuisine – culinary traditions both old and new from Okinawa, the cluster of sub-tropical islands in the far south of Japan.

Taco rice – a fusion dish of sticky rice with Tex Mex-style beef taco toppings

Jimami tofu – peanut milk tofu with a sweet-salty sauce, ginger and nori

Goya champuru – stir-fried bitter melon with pork belly and egg

Asajiru – sea lettuce soup

Jushi – savoury rice with shiitake mushrooms, carrots and pork

Sata andagi – Okinawan doughnuts, served with ice cream

As an anthropologist Celia’s work focuses on food-based responses to social and economic change, consumption and co-operatives. But Japanese foodways will always be her passion.

Please let us know about any dietary requirements when you make your booking. And do book early to avoid disappointment!


Event:Secret Kitchen
Date(s):Friday 9th & Saturday 10th December 2016
Time:7.30pm - 11pm
Location:London N5 (Arsenal tube 2 mins walk)
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