Most of the Japanese street food is sold at more than 100,000 festivals and event around Japan. The vendors called ‘Yatai’ sell their goods in traditional styled vendor stalls.
most of the street foods can only be bought at festivals and events though some of the foods can now be bought in convenient stores (combini) or at some restaurants in for example the Nakasu district in Fukuoka.
Okonomiyaki — A savory pizza cake
Japanese name: お好み焼き/o-konomi-yaki
Taste: savory stuffing
Main ingredients: The batter is made of flour, grated nagaimo (a type of yam), water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage, and usually contains other ingredients such as green onion, meat (generally thin pork belly, often mistaken for bacon), octopus, squid, shrimp, vegetables, konjac, mochi or cheese.
The Okonomiyaki is usually referred to as a pancake or omelette but it’s more like a pizza. There is an entire history predating the current Okonomiyaki so there is a lot to tell about it but we’ll keep it simple. It was developed as a more easy way to dispose of left over vegetables and meats. the batter and incredients are usually mixed together and baked on a grill. Served with Okonomiyaki sauce (sweet) , Mayonaise and chopped green onion and bonito flakes.
There are several self-cook places found around Japan and some ‘Live cooking’ places to go to.
I first got in contact with Okonomiyaki through a friend who makes them at home. I think they’re absolute perfect when it’s cold outside. That typical comfort food. You can pack it with whatever you want and it will still be delicious. Just make sure you have enough batter so it doesn’t fall to bits when you have to flip it ;).
Nikuman — Steamed heaven
Japanese name: 肉まん/Niku manjuu
Taste: savory (and sweet stuffing)
Main ingredients: cooked ground pork or beef, but many combini have special varities; Pizza, Curry, Chestnut, sweetbean, etc.
Just like the Chinese Baozi; Nikuman is a filled steamed bun. they are sold at combini and kept warm there. depending on the combini you go to which flavours they have.
I’ve said it about Baozi and I’ll say it about Nikuman these things are amazing!!! Pizzaman was my absolute favorite. Filled with tomato sauce and cheese. Try these, try all of them!!
Taiyaki — Sweet fish
Japanese name: 鯛焼き/“baked sea bream“
Taste: Sweet stuffing (sometimes savory)
Main ingredients: Pancake/waffle batter, the most common filling is red bean paste that is made from sweetened azuki beans. Other common fillings may be custard, chocolate, cheese, or sweet potato. Some shops even sell taiyaki with okonomiyaki, gyoza filling, or a sausage inside..
Taiyaki is made with pancake or waffle batter. the batter is poured in a cast iron shaped mold, the filling is put in then both sides of the fish are pressed together and it is cooked until golden brown.
I am not really a fan of the red bean paste that is often inside. But I loved the cheese, chocolate and custard ones when I had them.
Takoyaki — Squid balls
Japanese name: たこ焼き or 蛸焼
Main ingredients: a wheat flour-based batter, minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise, and then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito.
Made in a Takoyaki pan (たこ焼き器, takoyaki-ki) or—much more rarely—takoyaki-nabe (たこ焼き鍋) is typically a griddle made of cast iron with half-spherical moulds. The heavy iron evenly heats the takoyaki, which are turned with a pick during the cooking process to pull the uncooked batter to the base of the rounded cavity. Commercial gas-fueled takoyaki cookers are used at Japanese festivals or by street vendors. For home use, electric versions resemble a hotplate; stovetop versions are also available.
I love Takoyaki. I love the chewy hot squid and the contrasting flavours. What I love most about Japanese street foods is that they’re usually rich in flavour. At a birthday in China while using a home use plate… we did Takoyaki Roullette. I’ve also made them myself in what we in the Netherlands call a ‘Poffertjes pan’. (poffertjes are small sweet pancakes topped with butter and powdered sugar.
Dango — Sticky
Japanese name: 団子
Main ingredients: mochiko (rice flour)
Dango (団子) is a Japanese dumpling and sweet made from mochiko (rice flour), related to mochi. It is often served with green tea. Dango is eaten year-round, but the different varieties are traditionally eaten in given seasons. Three to four dango are often served on a skewer.
It’s good, sweet and sticky!