So, festivals (or matsuri) are pretty common in Japan, but some how I had managed to avoid them for the last 6 months or so. Not intentionally, it just happened like that. Anyway, at festivals there are always heaps of little stalls selling the standard foods like yakisoba, yakitori, takoyaki, okonomiyaki and chocco-banana. So when you see something new, it’s pretty exciting (well, for a food geek like me).
When I went to the Mito Plum Festival there were two new stalls that I had never seen before –
Firstly we have Yakiniku-Onigiri, basically a rice ball wrapped in thinly sliced barbecued meat served with cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce and sesame seeds. The line for this stall was really long, but well worth the wait. At 300yen or so, they are slightly expensive, but they are really good! Kinda taste like a burger actually. And since the Plum Festival I have also seen stalls at my local Cherry Blossom festival, so hopefully they are catching on!
Next we have Agemonja, which is Monjayaki in a fried pastry shell. Monjayaki is the Kanto region version of Okonomiyaki, a savory pancake made with cabbage, however Monja is… well… runny. So I guess in order to make it a hand held food they needed to put it in a shell (as opposed to Okonomiyaki, which they just wrap around a chopstick). Once again, the line for this stall was quite long, however this time it was due to the time it took to put it together and fry it. It priced at about 500yen which, considering the size, is quite standard. However.. it tasted kinda funky. When Monja is good, its good. When its bad, it pretty gross. I think the ingredients were turning bad, it had a slight bitter taste. But great idea! I think if you had this made well it would be tasty. Plus they should add some cheese. Cheese goes with everything!
Here’s a view of the insides, to give you an idea of the consistency –
And finally, although not a stall, what festival is complete without ice cream!
Ume ice cream
And at a Plum Festival you have to have plum ice cream! It tasted like Umeshu, which is plum liqueur with a sweet and sour flavour. It was a little strong, and I think it would have been nicely toned down if you could get a mix of ume and vanilla ice cream, but yum none-the-less!
More ice cream adventures are coming next when I write about going to Hakone with Lauren!