Things we love #2 – Japanese Festival Food stalls!

Festival Stalls


Streetside stalls in Japan are called “Yatai”. When summer turns into Autumn, it’s festival time in Japan. Japanese Festivals are known as “Matsuri”. We love Matsuri, but we’ll save that topic for another post! Here, we’ll talk about the Festival Yatai food we like and why we like them! There are over 20 kinds of festival foods in Japan and it varies from place to place. But best of all, they’re cheap and tasty! Festival stalls decorated with Lanterns, ladies in cute Yukata, men in kimonos, festival music and FIREWORKS – these pretty much sum up a Japanese summer!


Making Takoyaki (fried Octopus)


Why we love Festival Yatai and Food!

  1. As we mentioned before, it’s cheap and tasty! The price usually ranges from 100 yen to 500yen
  2.  It’s so much fun to walk around soaking in the cheerful atmosphere and enjoying the yatai treats!
  3. The food is hot and fresh and you can see how it’s made – that’s nice isn’t it?

Some of the most popular Yatai foods are Chocobanana(banana with a chocolate coating), Takoyaki (ball shaped fried octopus snack), Kakigori (Shaved ice), Watame(Candy floss) and Ringo Ame (Candied apples). They’re all really good, but our favorites are the ones below –

5 Yatai food you MUST try –

1. Yakisoba (Fried noodles)

Yakisoba and Misokatsu

Yakisoba (to the left) and Miso katsu(Nagoya speciality on the right)

Yakisoba noodles literally translates to  “fried buckwheat”. The name can be a bit misleading to those who know “soba”. Although soba means buckwheat noodles, Yakisoba is made from wheat flour noodles. It is flavored with a thick sligly sweet sauce similar to okonomiyaki sauce and is garnished with pickled ginger. We like our Yakisoba with thinly sliced pork. But they usually exclude the pork when prepared at a Yatai.

2. Budo ame! (Candied black grapes)

Budo Ame

Budo means grapes. Budo ame is candied grape. Ringo ame is more popular than budo ame. We prefer budo ame to ringo ame. There are many variations available – Ichigo ame (Strawberry candy), Mikan ame (candied Japanese orange). It is usually made with black grapes which is just a little sour and then coated with candy. The color of the coating is always red. Its fun to bite through the candy and have the juiciness of grapes burst into your mouth. Be warned though – it can  stick to your teeth!

3. Tamago senbei (Japanese crackers with egg)

Tamago Senbei is not widely available – we first ate this at a local matsuri in Sakae, Nagoya. Tamago senbei is basicially shrimp crackers topped with tempura refuse, mayonnaise, Okonomiyaki sauce and egg! It’s simple but it’s really delicious! All for just 300 yen! An alternative version of this is the “Tako senbei” which has an additional topping of Takoyaki! Who can resist that?! Warning – it can get soggy after a while so eat it fast – we didn’t have a problem with that though – we finished ours in 2 minutes flat bigsmile .

4. Karaage (fried chicken)


Image by Tyler Black

Plain old fried chicken? Not exactly! The Japanese have a way of making this simple dish taste really amazing with the additional ingredient of garlic and ginger, which is added to the batter along with soy sauce. Karaage is very popular in Japan and is sold in Izakaya (Japanese style bars) and even many convenience stores! But we think they taste better at festivals!

5. Yaki-ika (grilled squid)

Grilled squid (ika yaki) and other skewered things

Image by Lucius Kwok

Ika-yaki is grilled Squid topped with soy sauce and sometimes mayonnaise(optional). You can choose to buy it whole or cut into pieces, I decided to go for the latter…something about a whole squid didn’t feel so appetizing…. But it was worth it!

 Your thoughts…

What are your favorite Yatai food? Have you tried any unique Yatai dishes? How were they Let us know in the comments!

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