One of the most exciting things about my culinary adventure, like every adventure to a far away land is always the street food and Japan was no exception.
Most street food vendors, known as yatai in Japanese, follow an event circuit around Japan. While yatai can be found independently of events, its somewhat rare. Many Japanese cities don’t have much street food at all exceptions to the rule seem to be at major tourist attractions which is where I found most of them.
Here is a list of tasty specialty dishes and where I found them in Japan.
Takoyaki are golden balls of fried batter filled with little pieces of octopus, tenkasu (tempura scraps), benishoga (pickled ginger) and spring onion. Originally from Osaka, the dough balls are fried in special cast-iron pans, and you can watch on as takoyaki vendors skillfully flip the balls at a rapid pace using chopsticks. The cooked takoyaki are eaten piping hot, slightly crisp on the outside, gooey on the inside, and slathered in Japanese mayonnaise, a savory brown sauce similar to Worcestershire, aonori (dried seaweed) and katsuobushi (dried bonito fish flakes).
Strawberry shaved ice
Strawberry shaved ice is almost exactly as it says except for the bit about drizzling the whole thing with sweetened condensed milk, umm I seem to recall another Asian countries love of sweetened condensed milk in their coffee, Vietnam! So this is pureed strawberries mixed with shaved ice drizzled with sweetened condensed milk delicious I’m told, didn’t sample this one 🙂
These are popular all over the world now, the humble spud put through a spiraliser, deep-fried and skewered, too easy.
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake. Aside from the nonnegotiable (cabbage, okonomiyaki sauce, and, of course, the batter), anything goes for the rest of the ingredients. Okonomiyaki, after all, translates to “as you like it”. Common okonomiyaki ingredients are pork and seafood.
Yakisoba is a classic Japanese dish, and it is generally seen as a typical street food. This dish is made by stir-frying boiled ramen noodles, vegetables, and meat or seafood with a sweet/savory sauce. Its noodles are produced from wheat flour and flavored with a sauce that is similar to oyster sauce.
More Japanese street food to come in the next blog post, stay tuned.