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Christmas gift ideas for passionates of Japan, Korea and China / 2021

By now Christmas is upon us and so this year too I decided to make a list of suggestions for gifts to buy. The proposals that you will find here are all objects that I myself have used especially this year and that I particularly liked. Here are what they are!


Body products

This year I got to try a lot of products, but only a few really made me fall in love. Surely the COSRX with snail slime is at the top of the ranking of my favorite face creams of all time: after a few days of application my skin has totally changed, I'm not kidding. To give to yourself too!



Speaking of Korean cosmetics, another product that really satisfied me are the MediHeal eye patches; after all, by now you know my passion for this brand very well. Practical, comfortable but above all effective, these patches to be applied under the eyes are a real marvel.



Like any self-respecting Christmas, a good scent can never be missing under the tree. I recommend my all-time favorite: Comme des Garçons 2, an enigmatic and unisex fragrance with woody, spicy and amber notes that will literally make you lose your mind!



This year I also discovered a new Italian brand that offers a range of truly formidable natural and unisex skin products. It is Lieve and, among the various ingredients it uses, there are some of Japanese extraction (such as cherry blossoms). Note the beauty and elegance of the bottles.

Take a look at the online store and let yourself be inspired.

lieve beauty Cookingwiththehamster
Lieve | © Cookingwiththehamster

For all my other beauty proposals you can consult my list of beauty products, as well as my selection on Amazon.


Books

What better time than Christmas to give some beautiful books? This year, certainly thanks to the various lockdowns, I have read a lot of them and I particularly liked some of them and I consider them perfect as a gift idea.


I start by recommending La cucina giapponese illustrata and La cucina coreana illustrata, two adorable volumes that combine the beauty of detailed illustrations with a multitude of super interesting information. Two simply wonderful gifts for anyone who loves Japan and South Korea!




For history lovers I can only highly recommend Alex Kerr's La bellezza del Giappone segreto, a book that literally won me over. Written in the first person, it deals with the changes in Japan from the 1970s to the 1990s.


Volumes that absolutely should not be missing under the tree are those of Yaro Abe's Midnight Tavern. By now you know very well my unbridled passion for this manga, from which the famous Netflix series of the same name was taken (for this and other series and films on Japanese food, read here).

In my Amazon list of books you will find all the volumes published so far in Italy.


As for the most beautiful novels read this year, the two novels translated into Italian by the great Japanese feminist writer Mieko Kawakami stand out without doubt: Breasts and eggs and Heaven.



Remaining on the subject of Japan and feminism but with a great sense of criticism and ferocity, I also point out Grotesque by the immense Natsuo Kirino - probably even superior, in my opinion, to his beautiful Le quattro casalinghe di Tokyo.




Prodotti per cucinare

Christmas could be your chance to create a pantry of quality essentials for Asian cooking!

So here is a list of what must never be missing in your home to prepare delicious genuine dishes. Surely soy sauce, mirin, sake for cooking, rice vinegar, granular dashi for broth, sesame oil and miso (my favorite is red) are a great starting point for Japanese cooking. If you want to prepare something delicious, you just have to opt for a good curry roux or a delicate matcha, to also prepare excellent desserts.


Besides these products, if you want to cook Korean then I also recommend doejang, gochujang and gochugaru.

Rice wine is a must for Chinese recipes.


I've also rounded up many other pantry products for cooking on my Amazon list.


Tools for cooking

Once you have bought the basic ingredients, it's time to get to work in the kitchen! Here are some tools I use daily at home.


First of all the rice steamer, this is the model I use myself. It cooks well and is as practical as the ones they sell in Japan: once the rice is cooked it is kept warm for a long time. It is also equipped with a basket, perfect for cooking Chinese dumplings or vegetables.


Tamagoyaki lovers unite, here is the splendid pan to make the famous Japanese rolled omelette!


If you, like me, love Korean cuisine and want to make a great impression at the table with a earthenware ttukbaegi including a trivet, this is the one for you.


Staying on the subject of Korea, another tool that I use often and that will make you all the K-dramas you have seen is the famous aluminum ramyun pot. To give with a pack of instant ramyuns, of course.


Treats

Among the many greedy proposals that drive me crazy, I have selected for you the Fujiya Milky Candy matcha candies (in Tokyo this brand created a real addiction!).


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Another snack that I particularly love is the Kameda Crispy Wasabi mix, which is a snack based on cooked (but not fried) rice and peanuts flavored with wasabi. Ideal if accompanied by an aperitif or a beer.


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By now you all know my passion for senbei, Japanese rice crackers with a slightly sweet and a little salty taste. Kameda Rice Crackers are probably the best I have tried so far, particularly delicate and therefore also recommended as a snack for the little ones.


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If you want to give a slightly more important gift, even as a base for making delicious drinks to accompany these and other delicacies, I recommend the gin that I discovered in a Pontocho bar in Kyoto and that made me fall in love: Kinobi, Kyoto Dry Gin. Among the botanicals I indicate Hinoki wood, yuzu, shiso leaves and green tea.


Buy it here - 15% off with cooking15 code


For these and many other products consult the Tenoha online store. The cooking15 discount code is valid on everything.



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