[food]* The predecessor of its famous cousin "okonomiyaki", batter, cabbage and dry ingredients are mixed and cooked on a hot plate to form this distinctly dubious-looking but very delicious dish.
Thin batter is mixed with cabbage, seasoning and various ingredients directly on a hot iron plate and spread thinly to form a thin, crepe-like savoury dish. Correctly done, monjayaki should be crispy on the bottom while maintaining a goo-like consistency on the surface.
The dish is predominantly popular in the Kanto region, and the Tsukishima district in Tokyo is especially known for its monjayaki shops, which will also serve okonomiyaki. Price will vary with ingredients, but on average will come to around ¥1,000 per serving.
Monjayaki derives originally from the funoyaki (a snack made of mostly batter) served in Buddhist ceremonies, having gained popularity during the war as an easy way of cooking with limited supplies. Although originally served in small candy shops as a snack for children, with increasing varieties of ingredients being used since the end of the war it has now become a "delicacy" for adults in its own right.
The Tsukishima district in Tokyo is famous amongst Japanese foodies for its monjayaki, with speciality restaurants lining both sides of its main road. Most of them are pretty decent, but Monja Mugi in particular makes a mean cheese-mentaiko-mochi monjayaki.
Getting there: 5 min. walk from Tsukishima station (Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line)
The appearance is likely (definitely) going to be off-putting for most, but bear with it: it actually is very, very good, and is surprisingly fun (almost feels a little cheeky) to eat right off the hot plate.
All in all, a wonderful opportunity to try some true "Japanese foodie" food. As a bonus, as the progenitor of the famous okonomiyaki you get to eat your way through a little slice of Japan's culinary history too. If you're in Tokyo you just HAVE to try this. Please. ♥♥♥♥
Tried monjayaki? What did you think? (Of the appearance?) What's your favourite flavour? Comment below or Twitter / twitter.com/foodjapan