10 Must-Try Foods at Japan’s Hanami and Summer Festivals
Several days ago, I wrote an article about Japan’s 3 Best Parks for Cherry Blossom Night Viewing. As I mentioned in the post, if you have a chance to go to Hanami cherry blossom viewing festivals in Japan, you will see a lot of street stalls cooking foods, selling drinks, and providing games.
10 Foods for Japanese Hanami and Summer Festivals
When it comes to the foods available at festivals in Japan, including Hanami and Summer festivals, there are standard foods offered by many street food stalls there. Therefore, today out of those, let me introduce 10 must-try foods for the Japanese festivals.
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese comfort food especially loved by those who were born and raised in Osaka. It is a savory pancake with various ingredients, such as pork, cabbage, tempura bits, and seafood, mixed in with it. The cooked pancake is dressed with sweet Okonomiyaki sauce, together with mayonnaise, and then sprinkled with dried bonito flakes and powdered green Nori seaweed.
Jaga Butter (じゃがバター)
The word included in the food name, “Jaga (じゃが)” is an abbreviation for the Japanese word meaning white potato “Jagaimo (じゃがいも)”. As shown above, Jaga Butter is a simple snack food consisting of steamed potatoes topped with a knob of butter. Sometimes it is seasoned with a dash of salt and black pepper.
Ringo Ame (りんご飴)
Ringo Ame, or the Candy Apple is one of the representative candies offered by street food stalls at Hanami and Summer festivals in Japan. Other than Candy Apples, you will also find other candied fruits like strawberries standing in a row in the festival.
Takoyaki is referred to as octopus dumplings in English. The birthplace of the Japanese sesfood dumpling is Osaka, but Takoyaki is widely enjoyed in Japan as a snack food. It is made by baking wheat flour dough with bits of octopus meat in the inside. As with Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki dumplings are usually dressed with sweet Okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise, then sprinkled with dried bonito flakes and green Nori seaweed powder.
Dango are traditional Japanese dumplings made of non-glutinous rice. You may see various types of Dango rice dumplings being sold by food stalls at Japanese Hanami and Summer festivals, which include “Mitarashi Dango (みたらし団子 : rice dumplings with a sweet soy sauce glaze)” and “Isobe-Maki Dango (磯辺巻き団子 : rice dumplings seasoned with soy sauce and wrapped in a dried sheet of Nori seaweed)”.
The sweet roasted chestnut, Amaguri is a classic Japanese sweet treat offered by many street food stalls at festivals in Japan. Amaguri chestnuts are usually served in a red paper bag with an old-fashioned classical design.
Hiroshimayaki is the Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki pancake. Unlike the Osaka-style Okonomiyaki shown above, Hiroshimayaki uses noodles, which are incorporated in the dough. As the food name indicates, it is a specialty food of Hiroshima Prefecture.
Taiyaki is a classic Japanese pancake typically filled with sweetened red bean paste or custard cream. As you can see from the photo and “Tai (鯛 or たい)” means sea bream in Japanese, the pancake is characterized by the shape imitating the fish sea bream.
Kushiyaki is the generic name for Japanese skewered foods. Yakitori and Kaisen-Kushiyaki (Seafood Kushiyaki) are 2 representative Japanese skewered foods, both of which are offered by many street food stalls in Japan’s Hanami and Summer festivals.
Choco Banana (チョコバナナ)
Choco Banana is a standard sweet treat sold at festivals in Japan. As you can easily guess from the food name, it is a chocolate-coated banana on a stick. Choco Banana is especially popular with young people for its lovely appearance and deliciousness.