How to Enjoy Monjayaki

Monjayaki: how to eat Tokyo’s real local dish

When in Tokyo, what do you wish to eat?? The world’s greatest Sushi? or famous Tempura?? These two are most known as Tokyo’s significant dishes but do you know there is a true local food which Tokyo locals adore?? It’s MONJAYAKI!!

What’s Monjayaki??

Monjayaki (often called Monja) is a pan-fried batter dish popular in Kanto region (around Tokyo). It’s often compared to Okonomiyaki, which is originally from Kansai region (around Osaka).

If you’ve never seen the dish, the first impression of Monjayaki would be like “it looks awful!”, “is it really food??”, “gross..” something like that, I guess.. Yes, to be honest it might not look delicious but trust me, it will blow your mind! Monjayaki is super delish!!

So the difference between Monjayaki and Okonomiyaki is that Monjayaki is much more liquidy. While Okonomiyaki is often explained as “Japanese Pancake”, Monjayaki is hard to describe with Western dish.. it’s like “runny Okonomiyaki”.

Monjayaki comes with various ingredients similar to Okonomiyaki (chopped vegetables and seafood) but has much runnier batter mixture combined with water and dashi stock.

How to make Monjayaki

So how do you eat Monjayaki?? There is a certain way to cook and enjoy delicious Monjayaki. When you order at a Monjayaki restaurant, they serve you a bowl with all ingredients in it.

Step 1: grease slightly the iron plate and put only the ingredients to fry. (*Note* Do not mix the ingredients and batter and Be careful not to put liquid into the plate!!)

Step 2: Chop the ingredients into small peaces by using metal spatulas while frying and when the ingredients are cooked, make a circle (called “dote”) on the pan. (*Note* Make sure there is no space or hole in the circle!)

Step 3: Pour the liquid mixture inside the circle carefully (*Note* do this in 2–3 parts so the liquid will not overflow the circle), and when the mixture gets thickened and firmer, mix everything and spread it thin and flat.

Step 4: When it gets thicken and caramelized, it’s time to eat!! Use the small metal spatulas to eat. Press the mixture down so it will stick to the spatula and bring it to your mouth! (*Note* Be careful it’s HOT!!!)

Top it with shredded seaweed (it’s usually provided on the table) would be a great idea, too! While you eating Monjayaki, it gets more brownish and the bottom gets burnt, and this burnt part is called “Okoge” which local consider the best part to eat!!

Most of Monjayaki restaurant have shop staff to help you if you don’t know how to cook. But it’s much more fun to cook by yourself!

Where to Eat

Tokyo has numbers of Monjayaki restaurants, but one particular area is hugely famous as “Monjayaki district”. It’s Tsukishima (月島) area, which is a small artificial island on Tokyo Bay, very closed to Tsukiji area. Tsukishima has “Monja Street” where over 70 Monjayaki restaurants lined up!

So, now you know how to perfectly enjoy Monjayaki!! Monjayaki has lots of toppings to choose, so create your own dish and have a fun with cooking delicious Monja 🙂 Looking for more unique Japanese food?? Then you may wanna read these articles below!

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"The world is my oyster" A globetrotter 🌎 and hammock lover 🌞 who loves taking adventures to fuel wanderlust. Born and raised in Japan, I have lived and explored countries around the world. As a resident of Japan and based on my travel experience, I'd love to share my knowledge and tips for travelling Japan with my readers. I hope my story will help you plan your trip and have a great time in Japan 🌈