Re-live the movie and savour the dishes. Join our Jimami Tofu: An Okinawan Cooking Experience class

Very few things compare to the tender moment a parent feels while watching a child joyfully eat the food which he or she prepared. To make food requires work, patience, and love. The very nature of food is to nourish; thus, it can be said that in cooking a child’s favourite food, a parent expresses his or her quintessential love while nourishing both the child’s body and heart.

The tapestry of human love and relationships is at the core of Jimami Tofu, a 2017 award-winning Singaporean film produced and directed by multi-talented actor, writer, and director duo Jason Chan and Christian Lee

Filmed in Singapore and Okinawa, the film tells the story of Yuki (Mari Yamamoto), the daughter of Sakumoto (Masane Tsukayama), an Okinawan chef who later decided to return to his hometown from Tokyo. Sakumoto and his home-run restaurant later integrate deeply into the village’s existence, where locals return over and over again for his traditional Okinawan dishes which include Jimami Tofu.

 

Authentic and traditional Okinawan dishes to be learnt at Palate Sensations Culinary School's Jimami Tofu Online Class.

 

While Sakumoto seemed genuinely content in the simplicity of Okinawa, a grown-up Yuki, however, ventured into the diversity of Singapore. Now a topnotch food critic, she meets and falls in love with Singaporean-Chinese chef Ryan (Jason Chan). Missing to find a delicate balance in their relationship, Yuki, however, leaves Ryan without a trace.

Brokenhearted, this leads Ryan to Okinawa to search after Yuki, but instead, he finds Sakumoto and Nami, Yuki’s childhood friend. Unlike Yuki, Nami decided to stay and call Okinawa her home. She grew up helping Sakumoto run the restaurant, as though filling the void Yuki left at her departure. But would Nami also fill the void in Ryan’s heart?

In an interview with Palate Sensations, Chan says that the movie is, in fact, strongly anchored on the idea of coming home.

 

Chef Amelia Seko prepares to make Jimami Tofu. This peanut tofu is a staple in Okinawa.

 

“It is about coming home, staying home, deciding to leave, and why and whether or not you remember home. In that sense, a lot of the hometown scenery in the movie may reflect the hometown scenery in everyone’s heart. How far they are away from home, why they should visit home. Whether they have thought of leaving and have stayed for some reason,” Chan shares.

As it captured captivating scenery that spoke eloquently of the past glories of the Ryukyu kingdom which ruled in Okinawa for 400 years, the film also elevated Okinawa and Okinawans for their unique culture and traditional cuisine.

 

Delicious and delicate, Jimami Tofu (both the dish and the film) has captured Okinawan's hearts.

 

Lee observes that historically, Okinawans have had to “shed their own identity and speak (or act) more like a mainland person.”

“Something that occurred organically was that we were able to tell a story of their people in our style. It’d meant so much to us if we were able to portray the history and the culture of food from the Ryukyu Dynasty. And if we could bring that forward and leave people appreciating that and if we could make Okinawans reflect on that for themselves, then I’d be proud of that,” Lee says.

Jimami Tofu is one of the longest screened films in Singapore that has sent many viewers moved to tears and walking out of the cinema with a light spring on their toes. It is a movie about love, restraint, yearning, and rediscovery. It is a movie that shows how food has the powerful ability to rekindle joy in our hearts, however far away we may have drifted from that one true source of happiness.

Palate Sensations Culinary School, in partnership with Jason Chan and Christian Lee at Bananamana Films, will be offering Jimami Tofu culinary class in June. The class offers to teach students to make the dishes featured in the film, including Goya Champuru (stir-fried bitter melon, sliced pork belly, fried tofu and egg), Rafute (melt-in-your-mouth glazed pork belly), and of course Jimami Tofu (peanut tofu).

Palate Sensations hopes to bring students to experience a slice off the real Okinawan life by making and sampling its authentic traditional dishes.

The live online class will be delivered via Zoom. Ingredients, apron, chef's hat and recipe will be sent to your address on the day of the class. Portion sizing will be enough for two people.

Re-live the story, savour authentic and traditional Okinawan dishes. Book the Jimami Tofu Class. We hope to see you soon!


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