Monday, May 18, 2009


When you first look at this food, you might think "What is this!?" That sloppy-looking food is called "Monja-yaki" and it is a popular food for people in Japan, mainly in the Kanto region.
Monja-yaki is an absolutely easy-to-make and delicious-to-have type of food. As you can see from the picture, the brown part is what you might call the dough. It is created by basically mixing water, flour and Worcester sauce. The ingredients are usually cabbage, small shrimps, squid, and pork slices, but nowadays there are numerous original recipes. (Ingredients include kimchee, cheese, mochi, cod roe, and etc.) Here, I will briefly introduce to you how Monja-yaki can be made at home. All you need is a grill and the desire to make a delicious Monja!

1. Fry all of the ingredients on the grill and chop them in to small pieces with a metal spatula.
2. When the ingredients are well-fried, create a circle on the electric grill with the ingredients.
3. Make an "O" shape with the fried ingredients and pour the dough into the center.
4. When it is heated well, mix everything together.

That's it! Easy isn't it? To eat Monja, people use a small metal spatula and eat directly from the electric hot plate in front of them. It is usually enjoyed by eating it with a group of people.

Since the dough is very thin - unlike an Okonomiyaki - Monja will burn easily. Despite this, it is still soft and this is what most people enjoy. In addition, the ingredients are crunchy due to the thin dough, so the balance of the dough and the ingredients are an important criterion for determining a "good Monja".
There is a place that I recommend where you can eat great Monja-yakis. That is a place called Tsukishima. Tsukishima is located in the Chuo Ward of Tokyo and is famous for having many Monja restaurants. It even has a street called Monja Street! As soon as you set foot into this street, you will be surrounded by the delicious smells of Monjas. Numerous Monja stores are lined up along this street and they compete over who makes the best Monja. (That is why they are all so delicious!) When you enter a store and ask a person at the store, they will teach you how to make a Monja. So don't be afraid to order a Monja that interests you!

Ready to eat a nice Monja? Let's give it a try!
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