Japanese kitchens are not the warm, oven-centred hubs that many westerners are used to. The majority of people here get by with a grill/broiler, a couple of gas burners and maybe a handful of kitchen devices like a rice cooker or, if they’re really swish, a bread maker.
True, more expensive microwave ovens often have an “oven” setting, allowing half-baked (sorry) chefs to cook things like pizzas and simple cakes and cookies, but since most microwaves are limited in size you can forget about cooking anything like a whole chicken or a nice ham around Christmas time.
Although vertically-loading toasters are few and far between, small toaster ovens like the one pictured above are very popular in Japan, and, as we’re about to see, can be put to incredible use so long as there’s a little creativity involved.
So, if you’re a foreigner arriving in Japan and bemoaning the lack of a gas oven like you had back home, feast your eyes on some of the mouth-watering creations that clever Japanese toaster oven users have put together.