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Okonomiyaki = do it yourself cooking in Harajuku

Okonomiyaki = do it yourself cooking in Harajuku

Harajuku is fashion centre and plastered with boutiques and accessory stores. But there is more than fashion fun to be found. A cool restaurant where all the young hipsters cook themselves a meal.

It is a bit difficult to find, despite being right in the middle of Harajuku’s best shopping spots. Which is probably why I have never seen any tourists up there. But a Japanese Lolita styled girl cooking for her poodle. No joke. And the food is not just good for dogs. It is delicious and the greatest fun because… you get play around with your food after you get the ingredients.

Okonomiyaki, Harajuku, Tokyo

 

Restaurant name: Sakura Tei. Location: 3-20-1 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo, next to Design Festa Art Gallery.

Sakura Tei Okonomiyaki, Harajuku, Tokyo Dasza Traveler

 

The place has an arty feel with paintings all over the walls and an open eating area extending into a veranda. http://www.sakuratei.co.jp/menu/okonomiyaki.html. Prices are reasonable: each dish is around 1,000 yen. The portions are over generous and you can easily share a meal.

The staff doesn’t speak but understands some English. Don’t worry, they have an instruction handout in English (which saved our butts when we visited the place with our friends from Poland).

Sakura Tei okonomiyaki Harajuku Dasza Traveler

 

This time, our friend Mai went along for what she calls her ‘home food’ as it is a speciality originating from Osaka. She provided all the info, so we really knew what we were doing.

Mai and Tomek went for okonomiyaki.

Mai’s dish is called sakurayaki (ingredients: pork, squid, green onion, shiitake mushroom, egg, cabbage, cheese).

Okonomiyaki, Harajuku, Tokyo

 

Tomek had gardenyaki (ingredients: salmon, cheese, onion, egg, cabbage).

Okonomiyaki, Harajuku, Tokyo

 

Each table is a huge hot grill and this is where the magic happens: out of a bowl of selected ingredients, mixed and stirred and poured and turned and pampered with sauces… delish okonomiyaki are stirred up!

Okonomiyaki, Harajuku, Tokyo

 

Holy smokes! It does get smoky and hot! Be prepared to carry the smell of grill back home.

Okonomiyaki, Harajuku, Tokyo

 

What I had is called monjayaki or ebi chilli monjya (ingredients: shrimp, onion, cabbage, green onion, cheese). It was more fluid than Tomek’s and Mai’s. The waitress showed us how to cook my meal which was a lot of fun to watch. My pancake took up half of the grill.

Okonomiyaki, Harajuku, Tokyo

 

Our Japanese-style pancakes! Tomek’s was topped with a fried egg, Mai’s with mayonnaise.

Okonomiyaki, Harajuku, Tokyo

Okonomiyaki, Harajuku, Tokyo

They do look a bit like overdimensional patties of ground meat but this is so much better than hamburgers!

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