Dear Food Diary:
For 4 nights each year, Tokyoites are mesmerized by 30,ooo lanterns lighting up the Yasukuni Shrine for Mitama Matsuri.
The obon festival actually honors the dead, but with the mix of traditional dances, lights and food stalls, it was one of the liveliest nights I’ve had in Tokyo.
Before we get into the food, here are some of the traditional dancers
The endless sea of food stalls (and people)
Classic street food Takoyaki, aka sweet savory pancake balls with octopus.
This version came with a surprise quail egg in the center. Soft, gooey center, creamy mayo, sweet sauce, bonito and seaweed flakes. It just works.
Similar to the takoyaki, but filled with crunchy cabbage and oh that pork flavor throughout. Crispy edges, soft center. Sweet, tart and creamy. And did I mention pork belly? I wish this type of pancake would be served for brunch in NYC!
Now to the visual treat…
The dancers payed their respects at the shrine while drums played in the background.
If you’re ever in Tokyo during summer, check if the festival is going on. Not to be missed.