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Culinary: Matsuri Stalls

Kyoto, Japan


In the aftermath of the Gion Matsuri I would like to speak about the stalls there. Lots of different food is sold at every matsuri, some of which became the trademark of these summer festivals. There are also other stalls around, like I mentioned in my post about the Gion Matsuri, so I will focus on the culinary part here.


BBQ
Skewered meat from the grill, either with BBQ-sauce or with dry rub. Do I have to say more?

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Takoyaki
Fried octopus balls (eating some while I write this). The batter is filled in a special fryer, basically a skillet with lots of cavitieis), spices and a piece of octopus added and the whole thing gets turned over while baking/frying to archive a ball form. Really good, those things. Served with various toppings and normally sold in sets of six or eight.

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Taiyaki
Not really a matsuri food, but there was a stand at the Gion Matsuri. It's a sweet cake-like thing in the form of a fish and filled either with cream or anko (sweet bean paste). Again a special fryer, this time basically a waffle maker, is used to get the batter in shape.

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Fruits
Great to cool down a bit, fruit skewers are readily available.

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Ikayaki
Grilled squid. Basically the same as BBQ, just substitute the meat with a squid (cross cut for better grilling).

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Okonomiyaki
This specialty of the Kansai region is often described as a savory pancake. A bit of batter is put on the hot plate and formed to thin, round layer, on which lots of cabbage, grilled seafood and basically whatever you want is put. The one I ate (not at a matsuri) had bacon on top. The whole thing is then flipped over and when the cabbage is soft and done, placed on a layer of egg (yes, scrambled and grilled in the form of a thin layer). Flip again, add special okonomiyaki-sauce and spices and you are done. Delicious and really filling.

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Yakisoba
Grilled noodles with cabbage and meat. A typical food in japan, easy to make and delicious.

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Candy fruits
Those are really sweet, had trouble to finish mine. They take the fruits (the classic is an apple, slightly boiled) and dip it in liquid sugar (or whatever lollipops are made from). Various fruits available.

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Kakikoori
Shaved ice. You can choose your flavor and it is added in the form of syrup/juice poured on top. Cool and sweet.

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Burger
Yes, they are here to, and they are big!

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Corn-on-the-cob
A classic for BBQ.

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Sausages
Called Frankfurts, don't look like the ones I know.

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Cucumber-on-a-stick
Again, for cooling down.

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Karaage Chicken
Fried chicken pieces with various flavors (chili, garlic, soy sauce, salty, ...). You buy a cup (3 sizes) and fill it with whatever types you want.

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Crepés
They are a hit in Japan and really good. Quick definition: A thin pancake, filled with cream, fruit, chocolate etc. and rolled up into a cone.

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Others
There are of course others as well and they differ from region to region. I don't even know exactly what kind of noodle-dish it is, I took a picture of here.

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And a note for the beer-drinkers: There are the constant shouts of "Nama Biru!" at every corner, praising their beer and tempting you to buy.
The interesting thing is, the price rises with reduced distance to the main part of the matsuri. When I started at the Yakata shrine, a fair distance from the boiling center, the beer at the Convenience Store is about 230yen a can. Once you enter the area of the matsuri you can buy it in cans of in cups for 300yen, if you go near it its 400yen and when you are right in the middle of the whole thing, meaning where all the different stalls are, one can is 500yen.
Of course the prices of every stall are probably higher than elsewhere, but it's really obvious with the beer.
By the way, a beer stand I saw looked like this:

So long and stay tuned,
JuergenS

permalink written by  JuergenS on July 22, 2010 from Kyoto, Japan
from the travel blog: Two month of Japan
tagged Culinary

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