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Updated: April 2, 2018
While Tokyo’s monjayaki is not as well-known abroad as Osaka’s okonomiyaki, the dish inspires heated regional rivalries in Japan, with residents of the two cities fighting over which is better. If you have yet to try monjayaki, Tsukishima Monja Street is worth a visit.
The charming brick street is lined with over 100 restaurants specializing in the pan-fried dish. Find a storefront that suits your fancy and then head inside. Though the dish itself doesn’t look particularly appetizing, take a bite, and you’ll quickly realize why monjayaki has garnered so much attention in the region.
Monjayaki consists of a flour-based batter with cabbage and ginger combined with a selection of octopus, shrimp, cheese, and other morsels. Upon ordering a dish, you’ll be presented with a bowl of batter and a separate bowl of ingredients. Oil the pan and spread the ingredients out. Once things are thoroughly sizzling, create a donut-shaped hole in the center, pour in the batter, then begin swiftly mixing the batter and ingredients towards the center of the pan, as the liquid slowly coagulates and hardens. In a few minutes, you’ll have a large, flat pancake, which you can divvy up and enjoy using your spatula.
Tsukishima Monja Street is located in Tsukishima, an island constructed on reclaimed land in 1892. Consider a visit to the nearby neighborhood of Kiyosumi Shirakawa before exploring Tsukishima Monja Street, where you’ll find modern art and chic cafes.
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