I’ve done a lot of interesting things on my travels for LLG, but getting elbow deep in buckwheat flour in Tokyo was certainly one of my favourite so far. Under the tutelage of soba noodle master Akira Inoue I learnt that making soba noodles is most definitely not the same as making pasta noodles.
As with most places in Tokyo, the kitchen where we took the lesson was compact. Very compact. And a great lesson in only having the equipment you need, and arranging it so that everything is to hand.
Buckwheat flour is very soft, and gluten free, and contains all eight essential amino acids, including lysine, which is lacking in wheat.
Soba noodles are flattened, not extruded, using a variety of different poles These knives are specially forged for Sensai Inoue to his specifications. And then it was time for us to get busy: I can’t pretend that my noodles looked like Sensai Inoue’s – but they were a start!
I was able to take my lesson courtesy of Conrad Tokyo: Conrad Hotels have recently launched their Stay Inspired programme (StayInspired.com), which offers guests at each of its 24 global properties a curated collection of 1, 3, and 5 hour experiences in each city.
Curated by Nilou Motamed, Conrad’s first Director of Inspiration, and ex-Editor-in-Chief of Epicurious, and Features Director for Travel + Leisure, Stay Inspired recognises that hotel guests and travellers are often time poor but still keen to immerse themselves in a city. The experiences that Nilou has curated range across food, shopping, art and design, culture, family, and adventure and are not your average sightseeing experiences.
And you don;t necessarily need to be staying at a Conrad property to access Nilou’s expertise: Using StayInspired.com, all travellers can now save and share their Conrad 1/3/5 itineraries, access custom content in the form of photos, videos, and maps, or book a room and an experience through the hotel’s concierge. On property, concierges will be equipped with tablet devices to guide guests through the itineraries. StayInspired.com, is also accessible via mobile device through the Conrad Concierge mobile app.
Sasha travelled to Tokyo in October 2015 as a guest of Conrad Hotels and the Stay Inspired programme.