Dagashi Snack: Baby Star Guru-Guru Monja-Yaki
“Dagashi (駄菓子)” is the generic name for cheap Japanese snacks and candies, which were mostly sold in “Dagashiya (駄菓子屋)”, shops that specialize in Dagashi treats, 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, even now. can be seen in large cities.
In Dagashiya, some DIY foods are available, and one of the representative examples is “Monjayaki (もんじゃ焼き)“.
Monjayaki is similar to Okonomiyaki and is something like the frugal, cheaper version of the pancake.
In Dagashiya, children buy the set of ingredients for Monjayaki for 100 yen (about 1 USD) or so and cook it for themselves on the iron griddle prepared by the shop.
Although the making of Monjayaki is similar to Okonomiyaki, because of containing Worcester sauce and dashi stock, the flour batter of Monjayaki is more watery and runny.
Besides, unlike Okonomiyaki pancake, the resultant cake of Monjayaki contains only a few ingredients, and it is gooey and partly crispy.
Oyatsu Company Baby Star Guru-Guru Monja
In recent years, it may be pretty difficult to find Dagashiya offering Monjayaki in the shop without searching for 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 readily enjoy Monjayaki at home.
By the way, I bought it in a supermarket near my house for about 100 yen.
In the package, there are packets of dried noodles, Monjayaki base powder, and toppings. And a small plastic spoon for preparing the Monjayaki snack also comes with it.
I prepared the Monjayaki snack following the directions on the back of the package. It was quite easy to make the Dagashi, which required only a little time.
Specifically, first, put the dried noodles and Monjayaki base powder together in the accompanying plastic foam container, and mix evenly.
Then, pour in boiling water until it reaches the lower line indicated inside the container.
Give the noodles a good stir 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.
Lastly, as a finishing touch, add in the toppings, including Arare rice crackers and seaweed powder, and you can enjoy the Dagashi.
As I mentioned above, the Monjayaki snack has a flavor of Japanese Worcester sauce and is slightly spicy.
The noodles were soft and soggy, but the Arare topping was a great accent with a nice crunch. The overall snack tastes kind of like real Monjayaki, but I think it is more of a Monjayaki-like snack than a Monjayaki.
Lastly, let’s see the ingredient list on the back of the package.
Based on that, the ingredients in the dried noodles are wheat flour, vegetable oil, soy sauce, sugar, salt, chicken extract, protein hydrolyzate, meat extract, meat powder, and yeast extract powder.
Meanwhile, the soup base powder consists of starch, sauce powder, fructose, soy sauce powder, cabbage powder, yeast extract powder, bonito powder, salt, curry powder, and ginger powder.