Matsuri: A Food-Lovers Heaven
Summer in Japan is finally here! Finally, the season for Matsuri(festivals).
Japan as busy as a country it may seem has a year-long list of festivals it celebrate all over the country. For most tourists, this is the best time to experience first-hand Japanese traditions and culture.
In most of these festivals, you will find festival goers donning traditional clothing such as the Yukata. A Yukata closely resembles a kimono but is made out from lighter material. It is also called the Summer Kimono. Yukatas are usually printed with bright colorful flowers.
These festivals also feature traditional Japanese music playing either broadcasted through speakers or through live performances by local groups. Like Taiko (Japanese drums) performances with colorful street dances. Like the bon-odori which is a traditional Japanese dance where dancers dance around a yagura – it resembles a stage.
Kids are even entertained with various festival games. Like kingyosukui which literally translates to “catching goldfish”. The games are played using a net made ofpaper and catch or scoop the fish.
And in almost all of these festivals another crowd drawer are the many Japanese foods sold on the festival grounds. Yatai, as they are commonly called, are small mobile food stalls that line the streets selling various Japanese street foods. These stalls offer various choices from grilled, fried, and even raw.
The most common foods you will find during festivals in Japan
Karaage is one if not my most favorite Japanese festival food. It is like Japan’s version of a fried chicken usually marinated in soy sauce with garlic and ginger then coated with potato starch.
Yakisoba is Japanese fried noodles. Best when you are really hungry because these fried noodles are usually fried vegetables and meat, a full-meal.
Takoyaki literally means grilled octopus. It is made out of a batter molded into a circle with tako (octopus) inside. It is usually topped with takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise and seaweed flakes.
Okonomiyaki is made out of a batter which when done resembles a pancake with cabbage. It literally translates to grill to ones liking or taste. Okonomiyaki also has different variations in cooking. Be it the Hiroshima way or the Kansai way.
Taiyaki are fish shaped pastries usually stuffed with red-bean paste, custard or chocolate.
Kakigoori is made from shaved ice with syrup and condensed milk. It has many popular flavors such as green tea, lemon, and strawberry just to name a few. Perfect for the summer heat!
Wataame or cotton candy but unlike its western counter parts which are sold on a stick this are usually sold wrapped in colorful bags usually with popular characters printed.
Yakitori which literally means grilled chicken. It is a common Japanese skewered chicken made from bite-size meat.
Ikayaki is simply grilled squid on a stick flavored with soy sauce.
Beer. No festival would be complete without this drink.
These are just a few of the festivals foods one would find in a Matsuri. So don’t hesitate to indulge in a culinary adventure. There is as much food to tastes and so many to enjoy in these season summer season.
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