Dagashi Snack: Baby Star Guru-Guru Monja Yaki
“Dagashi (駄菓子)” is the generic name for cheap Japanese snacks and candies, and those treats were mostly sold in “Dagashiya (駄菓子屋)”, shops that specialize in Dagashi snacks and candies, several decades ago in Japan.
But the circumstance surrounding Dagashiya changed and many of those small candy shops went out of business. Replacing them, today supermarkets and convenience stores have been the place where children buy Dagashi, though some Dagashiya can be seen in large cities.
In some Dagashiya, some DIY foods are also available and the representative examples include “Monjayaki (もんじゃ焼き)“. Monjayaki is similar to Okonomiyaki pancake and is something like the frugal, cheaper version of Okonomiyaki.
In Dagashiya, children buy the set of ingredients for Monjayaki for 100 yen (about 1 USD) or so and cook it on the iron griddle prepared by the shop for theirselves.
Although the making of Monjayaki is similar to that of Okonomiyaki, in addition to containing worcester sauce and dashi stock, the flour batter is watery and runny compared to Okonomiyaki batter. Besides, unlike Okonomiyaki pancake, the resultant cake contains few ingredients, and is gooey and partly crispy.
Oyatsu Company Baby Star Guru-Guru Monja
In recent years, it may be difficult to find those Dagashiya offering Monjayaki in the shop, without searching information about that on the internet beforehand.
But today with this convenient Dagashi snack “Baby Star Guru-Guru Monja (ベビースターぐるぐるもんじゃ)” from Oyatsu Company, you can easily enjoy Monjayaki at home. I bought it in a supermarket near my house for about 100 yen.
In the package, there were the dried noodle snack packet, the Monjayaki base powder packet and the topping packet, and a small plastic spoon for making the Monjayaki snack also comes with the packaging.
I made the Monjayaki snack following the directions on the back of the package. It was quite easy to make the Dagashi snack, which in fact required little time.
First, put the dried noodle snack and the Monjayaki base powder together in the accompanying plastic foam container, and mix them evenly.
Then, pour in boiling water until it reaches the lower line indicated inside the container. Stir the noodles well like “Guru Guru (ぐるぐる)” or drawing a circle many times until the liquid in the container thickens, for about 15 to 30 seconds.
As a finishing touch, add in the topping including Arare rice crackers and seaweed powder, and you can enjoy the Dagashi.
As mentioned above, the Monjayaki snack also has a flavor of Japanese Worcester sauce and is slightly spicy. Although the noodles were soft and soggy, the Arare topping was a nice accent featuring a nice crunch. The overall snack tastes kind of like real Monjayaki, but it is more of a Monjayaki like snack than a Monjayaki.