I met a great Japanese chef in Bodhgaya. His name is Hiroshi and works as a chief cook of Japanese food section in a upper class hotel, Regency Hotel Bodhgaya. How fancy it is, to give you an idea, that his full-course meal of Japanese cuisine costs 1500 to 1800Rp whereas one plate of local curry costs only 60Rp. Many tourists who come for Bodhgaya, a place of Buddha’s enlightenment, are the main customers of this hotel and the restaurant.
Here are some of the pictures of the menu and the dishes which are very nice but tonally not for the poor backpackers like us!
One of the specialties in his cookings is that he has never been persistent to get certain kind of fish of vegetable just because they are well known and eaten by Japanese people in Japan, instead, he goes out to a local market nearby and uses the locally produced fresh fish and vegetable in his cookings. What matters is the freshness and the good combination of the ingredients.
One time he cooked miso soup to over 40 customers from Thailand, and they asked for more and more, so he ran out of the miso he had. The only place for him to get a new pack of miso in India is Delhi where is very far away. Yes, I met him at a perfect timing. I had a spare pack of miso because I travel with it to serve miso soup to whoever I meet. So why not give him one of them. It is a great idea to give him one because he can then make miso soup to many customers from all over the world at his restaurant.
Fortunately, Hiroshi was very happy to receive it. He offered us his Japanese cooking while we are in Bodhgaya. The photos below are some of the dished we had for dinner on the day.
I am not sure if you could imagine how much we missed Japanese food and how much we appreciated! It was a full-course dish which miso soup was the “main” dish. It might sound funny but the soup was served at the very end to give it enough time to enjoy it. No broth is needed if you use good quality miso. Just add vegetables into hot water and boil for a while, and melt miso right before ready to serve is actually the perfect recipe. The original sweetness in those vegetable such as radish, pumpkin and green leaves mildly melt into the rich miso flavour.
It was very nice. I was even touched by his meal and appreciated a lot. If you have a chance to go to Bodhgaya, whether or not you miss Japanese food, it’s well worth trying.