Popular pan-fried batter dish
Monjayaki, can also be known as just monja, is like okonomiyaki, but uses different liquid ingredients. They are a savory Japanese styled pancake. It is a fun dish where you start with a bowl variety of chopped up ingredients, then fry them on an iron plate. Liquid ingredients are added, made from water or dashi (simple broth made from dried kelp and bonito fish flakes in water), flour, and sauce. Giving it a more dough like appearance. Everything is mixed up and it ends up being runnier than okonomiyaki. It can end up with a feeling of eating melted cheese. The consistency is prone to change and can become crunchy. It is a unique experience dish from the way it is cooked to the way it is eaten. One of Tokyo’s famous dishes.
How is it made?
As I have said, we begin with a bowl of ingredients that are chopped up and ready to grill. Ingredients that are typically used are: Pork, squid, scallops, shrimp, egg, clams, oysters, tuna, cheese, corn, cod roe, Kimchi and variety of vegetables like cabbage and carrots. However, you can make Monjayaki out of almost any ingredients. The possibilities are endless.
You spread oil on the iron plate and let it get hot before you start placing the ingredients in. You will be using the spatula to mix and stir-fry the ingredients together.
Then there is the batter with a mix of flour, water, and sauce like Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce. Spread the ingredients into a donut shape and pour the batter into the middle, so it is surrounded and will not leak out.
Once the batter starts to boil, then you can mix all the ingredients together and spread it around.
It will start looking half-cooked which makes it time to eat. A tiny spatula is used to scoop it up in order to eat it. Pressing the food down into the grill with the spatula allows for it to stick easier to it too. You can serve it with Japanese mayonnaise or Tonkatsu sauce to top it off with bonus flavor.
Origin of the Monjayaki
This regional dish has a long history in Japan. It is said to have originated from a snack called mojiyaki. In the Meiji Period it was born in an area around Tokyo. It was popular in a snack shop called Dagashiya in Tsukishima. The name mojiyaki means “grilled letters” because children would come to this snack shop and practice writing letters in the gooey mojiyaki batter that is being grilled. You could only eat it if you went to the iron plate in the candy shop, as it was not something you could easily take home. In the olden days where rice was scarce, more people brought flour into their diets. Monjayaki allowed for a way to use a variety of ingredients and the flour to make a creative dish. It is fun to know that it use to be just a snack for children and now is loved by all ages.
Find a place to enjoy the experience of Monjayaki
At a restaurant you will enjoy eating it directly from the grill by using a small spatula. A bowl of ingredients is given to you and you can cook it yourself with your own iron plate set on your table. You can also find a restaurant that does it for you in front of you. You can frequently find monjayaki restaurants in the Tsukishima district of Tokyo, which it is originated from. There is a whole monja street filled with iron plate restaurants. You will find a variety of experiences and a variety of raw monja ingredients to grill. Customize to your liking. It is a must try food when going to Tokyo with an experience like no other.
The first restaurant we have is the oldest and a well-established store in Tsukishima. It is known for the Monjayaki classic taste. They are friendly with English speakers as well, giving an English menu. If you are not confident in your cooking skills, they can make it for you as well. It has a clean and comfortable space, with an olden day feel. When you want to experience Monjayaki, it is hard to figure out which place to go to when Tsukishima is full of them. This is a popular choice, making a reservation is wise, and their history makes it a must try place.
Address: 3-12-10 Tsukishima, Chuo 104-0052, Tokyo Prefecture
Phone number: 81 3-3533-4555
Hours: Weekdays – 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Weekends – 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm
You want your first experience to be in a popular shop? Then look no further than one of the most famous monja restaurants, Kura. With a rich menu, you can experience more than just Monjayaki here. Inexperienced hands can get help in using the table’s iron plate. Their monjayaki is tasteful and satisfying. It is highly recommended, but the bigger reputation also means longer the wait. The menu outside can help you choose while your waiting too. Many people will say it is worth the wait.
Address: 3-9-9 Tsukishima, Chuo 104-0052, Tokyo Prefecture
Phone number: 81 3-3531-5020
Hours: All week from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm
Meibutsu Monja Daruma
Feel the history of downtown Tokyo here in this enjoyable and retro shop. It is an old, but renovated house that serves an abundant food menu. Enjoy a nice cup of sake with your monjayaki that you can make yourself or ask the staff to do it. Do not forget to try a dessert that is also made on the iron plate. A whole fun experience and nice drinks that are catered to women. To beat the queue for this busy restaurant, a reservation is best.
Address: 3-17-9 Tsukishima, Chuo 104-0052, Tokyo Prefecture
Phone number: 81 3-3531-7626
Hours: Weekdays – 11:30 am to 11:00 pm, Weekends 11:00 am to 11:00 pm
Reserve a seat at this shop to eat as much as you want for one price. All you can eat places are growing in popularity. This one has all you can drink as well. If you are really hungry and want to try monjayaki, then this is the place for you. You are sure to be satisfied and enjoy the great experience of using an iron plate.
Address: 3-9-10 Tsukishima, Chuo 104-0052, Tokyo Prefecture
Phone number: 81 3-5548-0313
Hours: Weekdays – 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Weekends – 11:00 am to 11:00 pm