Fancy eating boiled bee larvae with Japanese farmers? Or whipping up paella in a Spaniard’s kitchen in Valencia? These are among a raft of culinary adventures available to intrepid travelers through new Tokyo-based company Tadaku.
The concept is simple: visit the website, input your dates and destination and see which locals are free to take you shopping and cook a meal at their home. Or, if you want to open your own kitchen and cook meals with travelers, sign up as a host.
According to co-founder Trent McBride, the company name was inspired by the Japanese word itadakimasu, which means “to receive,” and is said before eating a meal.
‘It’s a rare opportunity to be invited into the home of local people while travelling and we believe the best way to learn is through casual conversation.’
“Ultimately this is about cultural exchange,” says McBride.
Tadaku is currently offering more than 20 experiences in six countries: Japan, Thailand, Italy, Cambodia, Hungary and Spain, costing on average $40 to $60 per person depending on location or group size. But the founder hope to add many more — the company is aiming for rapid expansion.
Among the hosts is Kana, 33, who lives in the mountains of Japan’s Kiyosato region where her family run a traditional inn and organic farm called a ryokan. Here, guests can learn to cook an unusual regional specialty alongside Kana and her family: grasshoppers and bee larvae steamed and then lightly fried in soy sauce, sugar and sake.
Reka, who lives in central Budapest, is an expert in Hungarian cooking. Sourcing seasonal ingredients from her grandparent’s garden and inner city farmers’ markets, she teaches visitors how to rustle up a veritable Hungarian banquet, such as Borleves (wine cream soup) and Töltött paprika (stuffed peppers in tomato sauce) and Tokaji, poached pear in chocolate. Guests can enjoy these delicacies with a glass of Pálinka, Hungarian fruit brandy, and tea.
Meanwhile, Thai food lovers would do well to drop in on Jutamat, a 39-year-old designer who invites visitors into her Bangkok home to cook a range of classics such as Tom Yam Kung soup and pineapple fried rice. A highlight? Her insight into making Muu Sarong, a Thai appetizer rarely found on restaurant menus.
For the creators of Tadaku, it’s clear that it’s not just about food. “We’re targeting travelers who have a strong curiosity for different cultures, from the cuisine, to the language, to the way of living,” says McBride. “It’s a rare opportunity to be invited into the home of local people while travelling and we believe the best way to learn is through casual conversation.”