Street food is very important to Japanese people. Served at "matsuri" (祭り) festivals such as cherry blossom viewing or fireworks festivals, we call these types of dishes "yataimeshi" (屋台飯). Sampling the street food available is one of the biggest attractions at Japanese festivals!
Takoyaki is definitely my go-to street food at festivals. It's considered as one of Osaka's soul foods and you see a lot of takoyaki stalls everywhere.
This small dumpling is made from a thin batter and stuffed with boiled octopus and pickled ginger. It's cooked in a special circular mold so that it becomes a round ball shape.
"Tako" (たこ) is the Japanese word for "octopus" and "yaki" (焼き) means to fry. In other words, takoyaki is a fried octopus ball.
Okonomiyaki （お好み焼き）is a Japanese savory pancake type dish made with a egg batter and filled with meat and vegetables.
It is mostly popular in Osaka and Hiroshima and they are always arguing which one is authentic or better. I'm not from either of the prefectures, so I'm not gonna comment on that.
Either way, both Okonomiyaki types are popular at festivals as well and it's something I definitely get every time.
Yakisoba (焼きそば) is a delicious Japanese stir fry dish made with thick Chinese style noodles, pork belly and vegetables coated in a sweet, tangy and savory sauce. It's usually generously topped with pickled ginger, bonito flakes and aonori seaweed powder.
Because it's easy to make it outside, yakisoba is often served at outdoor occasions such as festivals, sports day, fireworks festivals, cherry blossom festivals as well as being made at home and at casual diners.
Not only as street food, but we also cook and eat at home regularly.
Chicken Karaage (から揚げ)
Japanese karaage fried chicken is definitely my favourite dish of all time and needless to say, a must-have at festivals (for me at least)!
Despite the term "karaage" being used for Japanese style fried chicken, it doesn't technically mean "fried chicken". Karaage (から揚げ) is actually a cooking term which means to fry without a batter (unlike tempura). Usually the meat is soaked in a delicious marinade and then coated in flour or starch.
It's also something you always see at festivals without fail!
Hanami Dango (花見団子)
The word "hanami" (花見) means "flower viewing" and around March and April is when people love to have picnics and gather under the beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom.
There are usually food stands lined up along the trees so you can walk and eat delicious Japanese street food, it's a great experience!
There is a even saying in Japanese called "Hana yori dango", which literally means "Dango over flowers".
What's your favourite Japanese street food? Let us know in the comments below!