Sunday, July 1, 2012

Spending The Weekend at Little Tokyo

Ennichisai, once again, held out this spectacular festival where art and culinary collide. It was a two-days festival which goes by the name Jakarta's Little Tokyo Ennichisai - Japanese Art and Culinary Festival, held at Little Tokyo in Melawai, Blok M. This year is Ennichisai's third annual festival at Jakarta and I was able to stop by and enjoy the fantastic event. The festival was a two-days event, and I managed to attend both days just for the sake of exploring the food stands within Little Tokyo. As I entered the site of the festival, my quest for food began, and boy did I do a great job for the past two days.

Let the hunt for food begin!

Do take note that you can never eat anything other than a half slice of bread before you come to a Japanese Festival, for you will spend a large amount of money on food that would make you stuffed. And don't be afraid to spend some money at this kind of event, because the food is a bit pricey but worth it. 

My first stop was at this Taiyaki booth, located just a few steps away from the entrance. Taiyaki is a fish-shaped pancake with red bean paste fillings. Some Taiyaki stands offer your either cheese fillings or red bean paste fillings. I prefer the red bean paste Taiyaki because it's the authentic recipe from Japan. One of these babies cost me Rp 15.000,00, which is around 150 ¥ in Japan. I love this particular dish because it tasted so good, especially when the outer part is slightly burnt. The red bean paste was a bit sweet, probably the seller added a wee bit of sugar into the paste. Yet, the cake itself was not the slightest bit sweet, it was a bit savory in fact, which goes well with the red bean fillings. 

Found a Taiyaki stand, with ready-to-be-consumed Taiyaki on the side of the frying pan

One of the staff is making another batch of Taiyaki

You can have either cheese for its' fillings, or red bean paste. I prefer the red bean paste though. 

Mom was too busy taking pictures of Taiyaki to help me take a picture of one

There you are!

After I finished my Taiyaki, I continued my journey within the land of Little Tokyo. There, I found lots of food I have never seen in my entire life, such as the funky-looking Curry Rice. There were lots of cosplayers, wearing cotumes of their favorite character from Japanese cartoon shows. Lots of them wore shaped wigs and colorful contact lenses, which made them look like as if they can make people stop walking and just stand there and gaze them. They actually did. Well, at least I stopped just to look at how determined they were.

I don't know what those are, but they sure look delicious

Would love to try one of these someday in the future

And then, there was this booth that provides interactive games, such as the fishing arena. In the fishing arena, you can either catch fish or fish water yoyos. The water yoyos is one of the various symbols of a Japanese festival. The yoyos are made of baloons, colorful ones that is, and they are filled with a small amount of water. You are allowed to fish only one yoyos, yet the provided tools are only a crumpled stick of tissue attached on a hook made by paper clip. Pretty mind blowing, don't you think? If the tissue is too wet, it will tear apart and you will fail at fishing the water yoyos. You need to be quick to score on this game.

My favorite part from a Nihon Matsuri, fishing water yoyos

When I had fun watching people fishing water yoyos instead of actual fish, I continued my quest for food with my Mom. We walked, and we walked, and we walked, until this red banner caught our attention. It was Ramen 38 Sanpachi's booth and my Mom was all hyped out. "I'm going to buy myself some ramen," she said, approaching the noodle booth. She quickly ordered herself a bowl of Shoyu Ramen and indulge. I could tell by the look on her face that the ramen was beyond delicious, as expected from the famous Ramen 38 Sanpachi. It costed her Rp 30.000,00 for a bowl of Shoyu Ramen and I don't think she regretted anything.

Ramen 38 Sanpachi opened a noodle booth at Ennichisai 2012

I figured out that he was probably making Jigoku Ramen, judging from the color of the broth

Ready to make an order

Decided to go for the Shoyu Ramen instead of Jigoku Ramen

Mom, adding some chilly powder to her Shoyu Ramen

Ramen 38 Sanpachi serves the best ramen so far

God's epic goldilocks  

While Mom happily slurping her ramen, I decided to buy myself a drink at an attractive-looking booth adjacent to Ramen 38 Sanpachi's ramen booth. It was YellowFin's snack and beverages booth, and I couldn't help but to notice that they sell Lychee Flavored Tea. So, I came up to the counter and ordered myself a glass of Lychee Flavored Ice Ocha. It costed me Rp 20.000,00 for a quenchy drink. The seller, or the bartender judging from the way he made me the Ice Ocha, mix a lot of substance to make my order and start shaking the entire mixer. 

While I was waiting, the waiter who take people's orders offered me some free samples that they were handing out on that day. It was Tofu Skin Chips and Chili Yaki Edamame. I tried the Tofu Skin Chips, which was tasteless and crunchy and a bit unpleasant to my taste bud because it left a weird aftertaste. I didn't get the chance to try the Edamame, or the immature soybeans, because suddenly there was a tough-looking guy dominated the whole free samples. I don't want to get hit, so I decided to back away.

Not long after that, my Lychee Flavored Ice Ocha was served. It look beautiful, especially because the bartender added some mint leafs and a couple of canned lychee to the drink. It tasted delicious and quenchy, not too sweet like most Lychee Ice Tea I have encountered, and very refreshing. Two thumbs up for YellowFin's Lychee Flavored Ice Ocha!

Stopped by at Yellow Fin to buy myself a glass of beverage

They were handing out some samples of Tofu Skin Chips and Chili Yaki Edamame

Yellow Fin's famous Ice Ocha Flavor; Lychee, Peach, Apple, and Lemon

The quenchest drink after Cactus Juice, Lychee Flavored Ice Ocha 

Come take a sip of this delightful drink!

What is the point of attending a Japanese festival if you don't buy yourself some Takoyaki? After my Mom and I finished our snack, we proceed to this crowded booth to check out what they sell. It turned out that it was a Takoyaki booth. The Takoyaki man was in the process of making delicious octopus balls, so that is why people surrounded the booth. 

One does not simply make Takoyaki without passion. Fast hands are needed to make Takoyaki, because if we over-cooked the Takoyaki, it will be burnt. Yet, if we don't cook the Takoyaki properly, we will be eating a hot gooey substance. 

Takoyaki recipe is pretty simple. All you need is a Takoyaki pan, Takoyaki mixture, some onion leafs and pickled ginger, and a generous amount of octopus. Simply mix them up in the Takoyaki pan, and fry them until they are brownish gold in color. Then, serve them with some soy sauce and mayonnaise, and some fish flakes and onion leafs. They tasted sinfully delicious~

"Number one Takoyaki," said the Takoyaki seller, giving a two thumbs up

Don't you just want to devour those delicious octopus balls?

Takoyaki in the making 

Add some pickled ginger to make the perfect Takoyaki


Okonomi yaki is another Japanese dish that use pretty much the same ingredients with Takoyaki. Okonomi yaki looks more like pancaked than Takoyaki, but they tasted savory instead of sweet. Cabbages, eggs, and beef were used in the making of Okonomi yaki. When they are properly cooked, they are served with the same toppings that were used with Takoyaki: Soy sauce, mayonnaise, onion leafs, and fish flakes. This dish is very overwhelming as it tease your taste buds with its' flavors.

A typical symbol among the Japanese to attract customers, the Lucky Cat

Beef Okonomiyaki in the making

Look at dem Okonomiyaki, deliciously coated with sweet soy sauce, spices, and mayonnaise

During summer at Japan, Kakiguri or shaved ice is the number one most popular food to be sold. Luckily, I found countless Kakiguri booths at Ennichisai 2012, and I managed to get myself a bowl. I'm not the kind of person who can stand eating cold dessert with syrup, and Kakiguri is the perfect sample of the sinful dessert that I can't stand. But, I put asside such thought and ordered myself a bowl of kakiguri with Melon syrup and canned milk. Can you imagine what my throat would be like after I eat this icy dessert?

The ice cream lady is making a cup of Kakiguri, or shaved ice

Mine was Melon flavored

It's like gulping down the peak of Mount Fuji

I didn't expect that I would find a deep-fried ice cream booth at Ennichisai 2012! I have waited for more than 17 years to get my hand on this peculiar dessert, and I did it! I ordered myself a plate of deep-fried ice cream, vanilla flavored and with chocolate chips. It costed me Rp 15.000,00 for this hot and cold dessert, and I regret nothing. 

It turned out that deep-fried ice cream was actually deep-fried ice-cream-filled bread. For 17 years I thought that they used a magic ice cream that will not melt if it were to be fried with oil. Genius. 

I took a spoon and shove a big bite of it into my mouth. It is bad for your teeth if you eat it immediately after it came out from the frying pan, but it's save to be consumed if you wait until it cools off. It tasted as if you are eating a dry french toast with ice cream. The sensation was a bit odd, but it tasted sweet and delicious. I have never eat a deep-fried ice cream before, so I'm quite proud of myself for being able to scratch another dish from my Must Eat Before I Die food list.

Didn't expect that I would find a deep-fried ice cream booth at Ennichisai 2012!

That is ice cream being fried in a boiling oil, for your information

So that is what deep-fried ice cream looks like

Vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips fillings

Then, after I finished my deep-fried ice cream, my Mom and I traveled within Little Tokyo to find more food. There was this booth that sold half-circle-shaped food that looks like filled pancakes. We decided to try that dish. Its' name is Kyabetsu yaki. It's a pancake batter cooked with cabbage and eggs, served with soy sauce, mayonnaise, and chilly sauce. It tasted delicious, especially if it just came out from the frying pan. 

Now that you think of it, Kyabetsu yaki, Takoyaki, and Okonomi yaki share the same basic ingredients. But, I have to say that non of them tasted similar. Maybe you just have to taste them by yourselves.

This one is called Kyabetsu yaki

The Kyabetsu yaki man is adding some eggs to make it savory

Epic flip, SUCCESS!

Ordered myself a plate of this funky Japanese dish


"Come get your LONG sausages! They're SATISFYING," said the seller, emphasizing on some words

Exactly adjacent to the booth where I bought Kyabetsu yaki, there was this beverages booth with boxes on top of the table. Approximately 36 boxes lined up organizely on the table, and each one of them consisted of different kinds of food. I didn't know what it was until I came up to the counter and ordered myself some. 

It was jelly, served with flavored syrup and ice cubes. They look very appealing and attractive, and I couldn't help but to want to try some. I asked the waitress to make me a bowl of her funky jelly and she said that it will cost me Rp 20.000,00. 

More than a dozen choices of jelly

Ordered myself a bowl of this quenching dessert

I decided to try to one with soursop syrup, because I was in the mood for something sour instead of sweet. My jelly dessert was served five minutes latter. It was cold and colorful. I opened the container and started indulging. There were ten kinds of jellies in there, which I cannot mention the names because the waitress just named them as "Jelly 1", "Jelly 2", "Jelly 3", and so on. My jellies tasted deliciously sour and refreshing.

Various kinds of jelly, with soursop syrup and ice cubes

This dessert tasted heavenly!

When my Mom and I decided to go back home, we stumbled upon this particular sushi booth. The chef decorated the table with his handmade sushi rolls, which looked very appealing, juicy, and delicious. There were also a couple trays of macaroons that were being sold at the booth. Each macaroon casts Rp 7000,00, but I didn't buy any because I fancy the sushi more. 

The name of the sushi booth was Sushi Kawana. At this particular booth, you can find delicious freshly hand-rolled sushi, along with great and friendly service from the chef. The chef was very attractive at some certain points, especially when he served the sushi to the customers with a smile. He is a Japanese. I couldn't help but to giggle when he struggle to speak in Indonesian. He looked like as if he enjoyed his job so much, that's why I made Sushi Kawana my favorite booth at Ennichisai.

The sushi was rather big in size, almost as big as my palm. I figured that the chef was Japanese, so I ordered myself a couple of sushi in my broken Japanese. I ordered a California Maki Roll and Inari Sushi, which costed me Rp 23.000,00 in total.

My favorite stand in Ennichisai, Sushi Kawana

The attractive Japanese chef is pointing out the flavors of the macaroons

Sushi Kawana's menu

The California Maki Roll consisted of carb stick, tobiko, letuce, rice, and nori. The sushi itself looked pretty simple and ordinary, but it tasted deliciously sweet! The letuce was very fresh, not to mention the tobiko or the fish eggs. The crab stick was sweet, and also was the mayonnaise surrounding the rice. It costed me Rp 8000,00 for this particular sushi.

This California Maki Roll tasted sweet and delicious

My second sushi was Inari Sushi. Inari Sushi is a beancurd sushi. The one that I ate at Ennichisai filled with various toppings, such as mint leaf, tobiko, sweet fried egg, crab stick, a thumb-sized bean, sweet beancurd, rice, and mayonnaise. It costed me Rp 15.000,00 for this baby over here. It's a bit pricey, but it was worth it!

My delicious Inari Sushi 

There were so many ingredients that were used in the making of this particular sushi

After I finished my sushi, my Mom and I went home. But then, I got caught up in an attractive booth that sold Ringo Ame, or Caramel Apple Candy. It was a bit pricey for a stick of sugar coated apple, which was Rp 25.000,00, but I bought it. I didn't eat it on the spot because you know how sugar can be when they freeze after they melt. The apple candy was so hard, I need to lick the sugar of the apple first before I can bite into it. It's a good thing I ate it at home. I might loose a tooth or two if I immediately eat it after I bought it.

A stick of Ringo Ame, or Caramel Apple Candy

Go on, destroy your teeth, it'll be worth it

I had so much fun at Ennichisai 2012 and I'm looking forward to attend Ennichisai 2013. Who knows what kind of food there will be next year. Maybe I can find a stick of choco banana or two, or maybe I can find some grilled caramel. Who knows.

1 comment:

  1. great post! I'm looking for the name of the food that I ate in Ennichisai (because I want to make one of them at my kitchen) but I couldn't find it until I visit your blog. thank you so much...