Translated byLester Somera
Just a Kansai guy trying to get by
Visit Monja Street in Tsukishima, an old area of Tokyo, to check out its rows of monjayaki restaurants, where you can sample all sorts of variations on the classic Tokyo dish.
Monjayaki is said to have gotten its start in the middle part of the Meiji era, in the downtown area of Tokyo. Beloved as a snack for children, it was made by dissolving flour in water and frying up the batter in thin sheets, then dipping them in soy sauce or other condiments before eating.
Back then, children gathered in the back areas of traditional sweet shops, where the monjayaki was cooked, but now there are rows of monjayaki restaurants, and it has become a popular place for children and adults alike to sample gourmet food.
These restaurants each put their own spin on monjayaki, adding sauce, cabbage, chopped squid, fried eggs and all sorts of ingredients to their menus.
Head out of Exit 7 of Tsukishima Station on the Oedo Line. Stretching toward Kachidoki, you will soon find yourself on Monja Street, with rows of monjayaki restaurants centered around the Nishinakadori shopping arcade. Amazingly, there are roughly 70 restaurants on Monja Street!
You can feel the age of the restaurant from the menus on the walls and tables, as well as the support beams. In addition, there are signed squares of paper all over the restaurant, with the scribbled signatures of the Hollywood stars and Japanese celebrities who have visited many times over.
Order a drink and an interesting-looking monjayaki from the menu.
You’ll be fine even if you don’t know how to cook it! Ask the staff and they will provide fabulous assistance.
The monjayaki is still uncooked at this point, but the smell of sauce and ingredients, all mixed together, awakens the appetite.
It’s fun to enjoy monjayaki together with friends! Some of the most popular variations include mentaiko fish roe with cheese, buta kimchi (pork and kimchi), and chopped squid. Restaurants will offer their own unique monjayaki recipes too, such as curry and omelet rice monjayaki. Don’t just visit the standard Asakusa spots - how about visiting Tsukishima Monja Street to enjoy the vibe of Tsukishima, all while surrounded by friends and some sizzling monjayaki?
Tsukishima Monja Street
Address: Tokyo, Chuo, Tsukishima １-5-4
Homepage: Tsukishima Monja Shinkokai
Address: Tokyo, Chuo, Tsukishima 3-8-10
Hours: 11:00 - 22:00
Closed: No fixed holidays
Nearest Station:Tsukishima Station (Toei Oedo Line, Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line)
Access: Head out of Exit 7, it's right there