Translated by Verity Lane
Japanese Encyclopedia: Monjayaki
This article covers Tokyo's popular traditional hot plate cuisine, monjayaki.
Written by Hiromasa Uematsu
Monjayaki (もんじゃ焼き) is a Japanese dish made on a hot plate (teppan-ryōri), which has been enjoyed in the shops of downtown Tokyo since times of old. The ingredients are finely cut, mixed into a batter of flour and water, then cooked on a hot-plate at a high-heat until ready.
It's fairly similar to its famous and delicious Kansai-counterpart, okonomiyaki; however, the main difference is that monjayaki is eaten in its uncut, rather gloopy state. The utensils used to prepare this traditional Tokyo dish are very similar to the ones used for okonomiyaki but used in very different ways.
These utensils are called a hera (large spatula) and hagashi (small spatula). The hagashi is a tiny spatula - the size is akin to that of a teaspoon. While eating this sumptuous Kantō delight, you use the larger spatulas to prepare your meal and the smaller to eat it.
Aside from the regular ingredients, you can add servings of Korean kimchi, or mentaiko (marinated cod roe) to create different flavors. Monjayaki was originally sold at inexpensive children's candy stores, so people tended to view this cuisine as a snack, as opposed to a full-blown meal. For this reason, the selection of ingredients often includes candy as an option.
Monjayaki is Made by YOU, the Customer!
When you select your meal of choice, you will be handed a container with the ingredients inside, just like in the picture. The table is already equipped with a built in hotplate, so the customers are able to cook the food for themselves, and eat it when ready (please take note that some places will cook it for you).
There are a few rules when preparing the food, so please ask the restaurant staff for their assistance! Or failing that, you could also check out this handy article below for more details! Bon appetit!
Read also: Let’s Make Monjayaki!