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Monkichi Monja Diner at Tsukishima

Hands on lesson on making local Tokyo food

Monja-yaki is one of the traditional delicacies found around the Kanto area in the East of Japan. It is similar to okonomiyaki (a vegetable based pancake) except it is more flappy. Tsukishima Nishinaka Dori Shotengai or Tsukishima Monja street is the epicentre of this cooking with more than 20 Monja restaurants.

Tsukishima (月島) is located in central Tokyo by the Sumida river, and framed by two bridges "Kachidoki bashi" and "Tsukuda Oohashi". There was a boat-slip in the early 1890s​ for the river ferry of "Tsukishima no Watashi" that connected Tsukiji and Tsukishima, hence the place became a gathering site and it became Nishinaka Dori Shoutengai. The river ferry was closed after Kachidoki Bashi was built in 1940. You can get to Tsukiji Fish market by crossing the Kachidoki Bashi bridge.

Monja-yaki has special tips for both cooking and eating:

  1. Staff will bring you a bowl that comes with all ingredients and the runny dough.
  2. First, put the ingredients on the pan but leave the dough in the soup bowl.
  3. Mix the ingredients and stir-fry it. You will need to chop it if the ingredients are too big.
  4. Make a circle on the pan and pour the remaining dough in to the circle. You need to be careful otherwise the soup will spilled over.
  5. After a while, stir it again and start eating from the rim when it's toasted enough.

It is really fun to cook and eat it with a tiny spatula which is called a "Kote". However, if you worried about how to cook it, just ask the staff and they will cook it for you.​ Please be careful to eat it slowly, otherwise it could scald your tongue.

Monkichi is a well known Monja diner in Tsukishima. While the entrance is well hidden from the main street, it gets full quickly. Once you are inside, you will find out why. There are lots of autographs and pictures of Japanese popular artists on the wall, as well as international movie stars like Brad Pitt. Relax in the traditional Japanese decor, with earthy, wooden tones setting the scene. The menu consists of over 40 kinds of Monja-yaki and Okonomi-yaki, including some unique flavors such as "Natto-Kimuchi Monja" and "Baby-Star (Japanese snack) Monja".​ I heard that they purchase their ingredients from nearby Tsukiji so that is always fresh. The most popular order is the "Monkichi-Special" (1500Yen) that comes with seafood, corn and other vegetables. I definitely loved it!

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Iain Stanley 9 years ago
Looks delicious!!

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