Japanese festivals, or matsuri, are big parties full of activities, music, and fantastic food! Some of these festival treats are so delicious that they excite everyone. So, let’s take a delightful journey through choco banana and some other most loved foods that add extra fun to lively matsuri.
Choco banana is an iconic food at Japan’s natsu matsuri (summer festival). It’s one of the most popular treats children and adults enjoy! This fantastic treat consists of a banana skewered on a stick, dipped in melted milk chocolate, and sprinkled with colorful sprinkles. This snack is such a fun treat since it’s a delightful blend of cool banana and bittersweet chocolate flavors.
It’s said that choco banana started with frozen bananas. Don Phillips in California made the first frozen banana stand long ago. Then, another person named Bob Teller helped to expand the business to many locations in the US. People loved frozen bananas so much that someone had a fun idea: dip them in chocolate. It became a big hit and the yummy choco banana we enjoy today.
In the case of Japan, chocolate became popular since its introduction in the 1870s. Additionally, imported bananas from tropical regions became a favorite fruit. This might be how choco bananas were welcomed and loved by the Japanese.
Many Japanese people claim that the best way to enjoy takoyaki is at summer festivals. Despite being a traditional specialty of Osaka, takoyaki has garnered widespread popularity throughout Japan due to its irresistible taste and distinctive shape.
Takoyaki is a tasty snack with crispy outside and soft inside, filled with octopus pieces for a delicious texture and flavor. All of these elements harmonize to create an explosive sensory experience for consumers. At festivals, festival-goers often savor takoyaki served in paper boat-shaped dishes, typically receiving portions of four to six pieces!
Kakigori is a special icy treat from Japan, similar to a snow cone but fluffier as if made from freshly fallen snow. To make it, they shave ice and pile it up high, then put syrup or condensed milk on the ice to make it sweet. For many centuries, it’s been a special treat in Japan. Even during the Heian period (794-1185), kakigori was considered the perfect dessert.
Initially, only wealthy or essential people could have kakigori for their hot summer, but today, everyone enjoys it. At natsu matsuri, you can savor kakigori with various flavors such as strawberry syrups, cola, or classic condensed milk. Some stall owners will allow you to pour as much syrup as you like on your shaved ice.
Although kakigori at festivals seems simple, there are many unique and famous types of kakigori in Japan. Among them, two highly popular types are ujikintoki and shirokuma. Ujikintoki is a shaved ice dessert made with Uji matcha (a specialty of Kyoto) and topped with sweet mochi and red beans. Shirokuma, originating from Kagoshima, is a shaved ice dessert made with condensed milk and topped with fresh fruits, agar jelly, and red beans.
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Cotton candy is a sweet treat familiar to all of us. Totti Candy Factory, located on Takeshita-dori in Harajuku, produces the famous uniquely shaped Japanese cotton candies, which include unicorn horns with vibrant rainbow colors and adorable bunny shapes.
These stalls always catch the eyes of Japanese children at festivals. In addition to acquiring these uniquely packaged, colorful, fluffy sweets, kids also have an incredible chance to watch the process of creating that sweet delight right in front of them.
Yakitori are juicy chicken skewers that use anything from breast and thigh meat to hearts and livers! Two of Japan’s most famous types of yakitori are momo (chicken thigh) and kawa (chicken skin). We recommend trying them at the matsuri. Adults often enjoy them with beer and other alcoholic drinks. They are commonly found on almost every izakaya (Japanese pub) menu.
Even though yakitori stalls always marinate these grilled meat skewers intensely with salt or tare sauce (a Japanese sweet sauce), you can eat them with various dipping sauces provided, such as mayonnaise, shichimi (a seven-spice blend), or soy sauce.
From the spirited festival scenes to the yummy tastes, trying these foods is like joining in the happiness and traditions of Japan. So, whether you’re enjoying choco banana, having takoyaki, or getting a taste of cotton candy, each bite will surely bring you the cheer and excitement of the festivals.
Japanese cuisine is showcased at every matsuri with a wide variety, so get ready to pack your bags for a festive adventure! Also, don’t forget to share with us which matsuri treats you’d love to try in the comment below!
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