In mid-April when we hit Yasukuni Shrine to stroll among the crowds watching the cherry blossoms, I was ecstatic to find one of the biggest gathering of festival booths I’ve ever seen in Japan. There must have been 30 or more stands showcasing a splattering of the typical Japanese food and games you find at festivals, but a lot more of it! With so many dishes to talk about, I’ll cover the savory today and the sweet tomorrow.
A very popular street food in Japan is okonomiyaki, which is kind of like a savory pan fried pancake made with cabbage, eggs, bonito flakes, dried shrimp, seaweed flakes, and Japanese mayo. I can never get over the beautiful bright golden egg yolks here.
One of my favorite foods I’ve discovered since moving here is Japanese Ayu. They skewer it and grill it over charcoal. You can eat it right off of the stick, and it’s sweet and juicy and usually filled with tasty roe.
More popular foods – yakisoba and grilled squid, which are great accompaniments with beer, sake, or shochu.
Yakitori skewers and shells grilled directly on the hot plate, often adding flavor with soy sauce and butter.
A close up of the shells on the grill:
And lastly, corn on the cob:
And no festival is complete without a few games for the kids. Typically, there’s a traditional game where goldfish are placed in a tank and kids use nets to try and catch the fish to take home, but I didn’t see that this time. Instead, I saw a Japanese version of a shooting game for prizes. The shelves spin around with prizes, and if you are able to shoot the prize, you win!
More about the desserts tomorrow! :)