Last Saturday we went to Japan Matsuri, ie Japan Festival, which was held on Trafalgar Square in London.
The theme of this year’s Japan Matsuri was ‘washoku’, or Japanese cuisine…so you can imagine why I was keen to go! I normally avoid going into central London during the weekend, but with events like this, I am just so happy to live in such an international city as London!
We arrived just when it started at 11.00, but even so, the square was already heaving with Japanese residents of London, tourists and Japan(ese food) lovers. It was so cute to see little girls dressed up in kimono…I should have take a photo but I forgot. I’m sure they will show some photo’s on the Japan Matsuri website, which you can find here.
After a quick round along all the food stalls, I decided to try out the Okonimiyaki of Okan. Okonimiyaki means “as you like it” and it’s a cabbage based pancake. The version Okan served was finished with brown sauce, Japanese mayonnaise (on the side), green seaweed flakes, corn and bonita shavings.
It was very tasty, although much “looser” than I had expected, I thought it would be more like a pancake structure, but couldn’t really see nor taste much of the batter. The other dish I tried (but forgot to take a photo of) was Karaage, which is Japanese battered & fried chicken on a skewer. I was very disappointed with this, it tasted very bland, and much prefer the Korean version (Kapongi) which has lots of spice and flavour. Of course they also sold lots of bento, sushi, takoyaki, ramen and other Japanese food, but I wanted to try out food that I don’t eat often or make myself :-)
Aside from the food stalls, there were also plenty of stall promoting Japanese tourism or selling Japanese arts, crafts & clothes. I ended up with this stash (some things were handed out as promotion, like the fan, and the miso soup):
Yes, that’s a Bento box in the left top corner! I could only see 2 types of bento boxes sold, and this one caught my eye because it’s larger than most Japanese Bento boxes. As I am a greedy eater, large is better for me :-P
The kimono bookmark was given to me when I entered a competition to transfer as many raw azuke beans from one bowl to another bowl in 30 seconds. I failed miserable…the raw beans are so slippery! But I still got the bookmark, which is very pretty!
I bought the cute little notebook because of the design! I’m not sure who/what Pancolle is, but it looks like it’s a whole Onigiri family! Maybe I can use it to scribble down designs for my Bento…
The fabric bag with a very pretty print was given out by the Japanese office for Tourism (if I remember correctly), it’s a good size to carry my lunch to work :-). On it are two cat shaped chop stick rests I bought from Doki (who sell the most beautiful Japanese ceramics)
Am now seriously considering starting to collect cute chop stick rests….so far I only have a few, and they would be a good addition to my Bento accessories collection…… :-).
There were lots of other activities during the Matsuri, including radio Taiso, taiko drummers, Hiroko Tanake dancers and much more, but we only stayed for a short time so didn’t see everything. Still, what we say and ate (aside from the Kaarage) was worth going into central London for!
Anyway, hope everyone had a lovely weekend, and I would love to hear back if you have ever visited a Japan Matsuri and about your experiences.