If you live anywhere in the world other than Japan, it is likely most have never even heard of Monjayaki; but if you live in Tokyo, you know that is one of the most popular dishes in the region.
The dish is a bit unusual, but once you get used to it, you will find it’s quite delicious!
This article will give you information on what the dish is and where to find it.
In this post we'll cover:
Which Area of Tokyo is Famous for Monjayaki?
If you are looking for a delicious monjayaki, you can find it in various restaurants in the Tsukishima area, that’s in Chuo City Tokyo. In fact, there is a street called Monja Street that is home to over 70 Monjayaki restaurants and, as you can imagine, it is a very popular tourist destination.
What is Monjayaki?
Monjayaki (also known as monja) is a pan-fried pancake-like dish that is popular in the Kanto region.
Kanto is located on Japan’s main island of Honshu and has the bustling city of Tokyo at its center.
The dish is often compared to Okonomiyaki which comes from the Kansai region, near Osaka.
Both dishes feature vegetables and seafood but Monjayaki has a runnier texture due to its batter which is a mixture of water and dashi stock.
Like Okonomiyaki, Monjayaki originated during Japan’s Edo period. Monjayaki proceeded okonomiyaki and can be traced back to the early 19th century.
Back then it consisted of only flour and water. It was lightly grilled, topped with savory miso and then rolled up.
It started out as a snack for children, but over the years, variations have been made to allow it to appeal to more sophisticated tastes.
Today, it is loved by a variety of people both young and old.
I have this very in-depth post on the two dishes if you’d like to learn more about that.
In this post, I’ll focus on why and where it is so popular.
Recipes for Monjayaki can vary but main ingredients often include the following:
- Worcestershire sauce
- Small dried shrimp
- Tenkasu (these tempura scraps)
To make monjayaki, start by mixing flour and water in one bowl. The other ingredients are mixed in another bowl.
The solid ingredients are placed on a pan or hot plate and they are cooked and cut with two teppanyaki grill spatulas.
Once the ingredients are cooked, they are formed into a donut shape. Then the mixed batter is poured in the middle and brought to a boil.
Once everything is mixed, it’s cooked thoroughly. Top with the sauces of your choosing and serve.
Where Can I Get Monjayaki?
If you are looking for a delicious monjayaki, you can find it in various restaurants on Monja Street, there are over 70 of them there.
However, with so many restaurants serving the same dish, it can be hard to find the best ones. Here is a list of some you should be looking out for.
What is the best monjayaki restaurant?
- Kura: Kura is one of the most popular restaurants on Monja St. and there is often a queue of people waiting outside. They have a variety of Monjayaki dishes on their menu including the Kura Special Monja which has all the special ingredients like shrimp, clams, octopus, crabs, sweetcorn, mochi and more. They also offer over 35 toppings for their monja dishes.
- Iroha: This restaurant has been open since 1955 and it has two Monja St. locations. Over the years it has grown to become one of the most famous Monjayaki restaurants in Tokyo. It has several unique Monja items on its menu including Yuzu Monja and Curry Monja. They also serve okonomiyaki.
If you feel like getting adventurous with your culinary endeavors, monjayaki is the way to go.
You can try making it at home or you can take a trip to Tokyo’s Monja St. for a more authentic experience.
What will you be doing to cross monjayaki off your bucket list?