This is an adventure with local foods in Shinjuku. Explore local restaurants for Okonomiyaki & Monja. I am sure you will get addicted to eat these amazing dishes. Let's enjoy the tour with the friendly local guide Kazu!
- Taste various types of Okonomiyaki & Monja.
- Learn about traditional Japanese cuisine and culture from a local guide.
- Learn how to make Okonomiyaki & Monja by yourself.
- Enjoy walking around Shinjuku: Kabukicho and Golded Gai.
- Meet locals.
Explore Shinjuku area, especially Kabukicho & Golden Gai and go to traditional restaurants for Okonomiyaki & Monja for 2 and half hours.
We'll meet up at your hotel or Shinjuku Station (New South gate).
The tour starts at 6:00 pm-7:00 pm and finishes at 8:30 pm-9:30 pm.
Okonomiyaki is a popular fried food that consists of batter and cabbage. Selected toppings and ingredients are added which can vary greatly (anything from meat and seafood to wasabi and cheese). This variability is reflected in the dish's name: "okonomi" literally means "to one's liking". The dish is available all over Japan, but is most popular in the west, particularly the cities of Hiroshima and Osaka.
Okonomiyaki is sometimes translated into English as "As-you-like-it pancake". However, this may be misleading. Though it does consist of batter cooked on a griddle, okonomiyaki has nothing of the sweetness or fluffiness of pancakes, not to mention that it is usually filled with octopus, shrimp, pork, yam or kimchi. A more accurate comparison, which is also made, is between okonomiyaki and pizza.
Monja is a type of Japanese pan-fried batter, popular in the Kantō region, similar to okonomiyaki, but that uses different liquid ingredients.
How to make Okonomiyaki!
The batter and the ingredients will usually be brought in a bowl. The customer is able to see that everything that was ordered is there, and that it is all fresh and of a good quality.
The batter and ingredients are mixed together thoroughly so that everything is evenly distributed.
After making sure the gas is on and applying oil to the cooking surface, the mixture is poured onto the hot griddle. Short metal spatulas are used to shape the batter into a circle.
Once one side of the okonomiyaki has been sufficiently cooked, the spatulas are used one in each hand to flip it onto the other side. This is the most difficult part of the process, and one needs to make sure that the okonomiyaki has been cooked through enough to hold together.
When both sides of the okonomiyaki are cooked the toppings are added. The first layer is the okonomiyaki sauce, which looks and tastes like Worcestershire sauce. The sauce is applied to the Okonomiyaki with a brush.
Mayonnaise (kept in a tall, clear squeeze bottle) is added to the okonomiyaki, usually in zigzagging lines. Because mayonnaise is a relatively new addition to okonomiyaki, there are a few stores that do not have it available.
Shavings of smoked bonito called katsuobushi are placed on the okonomiyaki with wooden pincers. Because of the heat, the fish shavings move and contort when put on the okonomiyaki.
Small flakes of aonori, a dried seaweed, are sprinkled over the okonomiyaki with a little spoon. The aonori is usually stored right beside the katsuobushi.
The last step is the most enjoyable: eating the okonomiyaki! The spatulas are used to break off pieces to eat, and because the okonomiyaki is left on the griddle while eating, every bite is "fresh off the grill".
After taking the tour, you can make Okonomiyaki & Monja by yourself. This will be an unforgettable experience from your Japan travel.
Pick up at your hotel or Shinjuku Station