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“A great experience”

Tsukishima Monjya Street
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$108.91*
and up
Tokyo by Night: Japanese Food Tour
Ranked #10 of 318 things to do in Chuo
Type: Other
Attraction details
Tokyo, Japan
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“A great experience”
Reviewed September 11, 2012

Always a fun night to explore the hundreds of shops and this unique Tokyo cuisine. I reccommend visiting at night and then after dinner take a stroll along the river which is lovely most times of the year.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank GeneralManagerTokyo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Tokyo
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Delicious and Reasonable”
Reviewed February 26, 2012

There are many restaurants which serve Tokyo style pizza called Monja. It is casual and inexpensive. After the meal, I enjoyed visiting the shirine, the temple and the bridge which were built in Edo Era.

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Yo-Chan1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tokyo
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“A unique place in Tokyo”
Reviewed February 22, 2012

Great food, in basically every shop. Enjoy traditional Japanese food.

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Thank Takebashi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southern California
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 189 helpful votes
“Share this fun, unique, mouth-watering, and authentically Japanese dining experience with friends and family”
Reviewed November 18, 2011

Tsukishima Monja Street

We recently visited Tsukishima Monja Street (November 2011). All 4 in our group enthusiastically give it a two-thumbs up.

When we were there, this area didn’t seem touristy. Except us, everyone else seemed to be Japanese. Perhaps many tourists stayed away from Japan because of the nuclear accident in March.

If you visit Tokyo, for an authentically Japanese dining experience, we highly recommend this unique, fun, and mouth-watering experience.

It’s ideal for couples, friends, and families. The more people in the group, the better. You can sample more foods that way.

FINDING THIS STREET:

First, let’s talk about how to get there. Take the Toei Oedo line to Tsukishima station (E16), go to exit 7, then walk straight ahead to Monja-dori. This area is very close to the station.

This quaint street is on the Tsukishima Nishimakadori road. At night, the sidewalks are lined with brightly lit lanterns. The street is closed to traffic during the early evening hours, making it pedestrian-friendly and ideal for gawking tourists like us to stroll around.

You’ll see shops after shops which offer monja and okonomiyaki, plus other foods. The area consists of a few short blocks of many restaurants. They range from the hole-in-the-wall type to decent-size restaurants. Some were packed with customers, while others were deserted.

We figured the locals know better, and chose the place which seemed most crowded. It was on the right side of the street as you approach from the subway station. On the right of this place is a business with the sign "West-Trust Co., Ltd."

We lucked out. This shop had a menu in English. The staff spoke a little English, enough to help us order and show us what to do. I’ll attach a few photos of this place (Osio) and their menu.

MONJA AND OKONOMIYAKI:

Both dishes are designed for do-it-yourself diners. Don’t worry. If you look clueless, like us, the waiters will cook the food for you. We didn’t feel too embarrassed, since they did that for many Japanese diners, too.

Some restaurants have low tables, where diners take their shoes off, and sit on the floor the traditional Japanese way. (We tried it once. Sitting like that was terrible for our backs and legs.). Some shops have Western-style chairs and tables. Others have a low table, where diners take their shoes off, sit on the floor, and rest their feet on the sunken floor below the table.

In all these shops, the tables are set with a large, flat hot plate in the center. There are oil and condiment containers on the side. As soon as you place your order, the waiter will turn on the hot plate to heat it up while you wait for your food.

The menu offers many varieties of monja and okonomiyaki. You choose what ingredients you’d like in your dish. This is where having an English menu is helpful.

If there is no English menu, ask for “osusume” (the house special) for monja or okonomiyaki, and “biru” (beer). Then sit back, relax, and enjoy your beer, since you can’t go wrong with their recommended dishes.

Each person in the group can order a different type of monjya or okonomiyaki. As the food sizzles and slowly cooks on the hot plate, everyone can chat over cold beer with eager anticipation. When the food is ready, everyone digs in and shares.

Monja and oknomiyaki, when brought to your table, will look similar. Both come in a bowl, with all ingredients mixed together, some piled on top. There’s shredded cabbage and maybe some other shredded vegetables. There’s a pancake-like batter. The batter for monja is thinner than that for okonoyaki. Lastly, there’s the protein of your choice, be it pork belly or seafood such as clams, octopus, squid, shrimp, etc.

MONJA:

For monja, the waiter will give you 2 large flat spatulas for cooking. Each person gets a small triangle spatula. This serves as the eating utensil.

Let’s talk about how to cook monja. First, pour oil on the hot plate. Use the spatula to spread the oil over the hot surface. Wait until the oil gets hot.

Next, scoop the solid ingredients from the bowl onto the hot plate. Leave the liquid batter in the bowl for later. Use the flat spatulas to stir fry. We found it helpful to separate the pork belly from the vegetables, so that we could cook and brown the meat to our liking.

As you stir fry, use sharp edge of the spatulas to chop the shredded cabbage to bring out its flavor. Once the meat is done and the cabbage becomes soft, mix them together to form a pile.

Next, dig a large hole in the middle, sort of like a large mouth of a volcanic mountain. Then, pour the thin batter in the middle. If it overflows, don’t worry. Use the large spatula to push back the batter.

Let the batter simmer. Wait until it thickens a bit. The anticipation will make you salivate. Next, scramble everything together. Keep on stir frying the mixture until you see a soft consistency.

Then use the big, flat spatula to spread the mixture, as thin as possible. The monja should be spread out and flattened like a crepe.

Let the edges turn a little crispy and brown, then use your tiny triangle spatula to scoop up a dainty morsel and enjoy. Slow down, as the monja is very hot, else you’ll burn your mouth.

Go ahead and experiment with the various soy sauce and seasonings on the side of the table. Anything goes, according to your taste.

We liked the last few scoops of monja the best, since they were more burnt and crispy.

One monja won’t be enough to satisfy two persons. Save room in your stomach to sample more monja varieties, or oknomiyaki, which I’ll discuss next.

OKONOMIYAKI:

Although we enjoyed monja, we loved okomiyaki. I read some place that “okonomi” means what you want, and “yaki” means grilled. Whereas monja is like a soft crepe, okonomiyaki is like a very thick, crispy pancake.

Okonomiyaki is tantalizingly dressed up in a drizzle of special brown sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito shavings, and green seaweed. Are you hungry yet? Let’s cook okonomiyaki, shall we?

First, drizzle oil on the hot place, spread it around, and let it get hot.

Remove and set aside the meat from the bowl of okonomiyaki mixture. We made the mistake of browning our meat first, which we shouldn’t have. I’ll explain why later.

Use chopsticks to stir up the shredded cabbage and other ingredients in the bowl. Mix them well with the batter. Pour everything on the hot pan.

Use the spatulas to gently shape the thick mixture into a flat round shape. Place the meat on top of this round shape. Then, sit back, relax, and drink your beer.

Once in a while, use the large spatula to peek at the bottom of the okonomiyaki. Be patient. Don’t flip it over too soon. When the bottom finally becomes brown, flip it over quickly. Don’t hesitate. It won’t fall apart on you. Even if it does, just flatten, reshape, and let it cook again until crispy.

After the flip, the meat now has a chance to cook and brown. I mentioned earlier that we mistakenly browned our meat first. By the time the okonomiyaki became brown and crispy, our meat was roasty-toasty, nearly crunchy. But everything still tasted very good.

For your patient wait, you will be rewarded with a delicious, crispy okonomiyaki. Use the spatula to cut it into small squares. Then, drizzle the restaurant’s special brown sauce on top. Squeeze a bit of mayonnaise in a zig zag pattern. Sprinkle dried bonito shaving over this art work. Finally, decorate it with a bit of crumbled green seaweed.

You’ll enjoy the okonomiyaki more, because of your hard work and long wait. Everyone in your group may fight over the last piece of okonomiyaki. Don’t fret. Pick another item on the menu that intrigues you. You may sit there until you’re too full to walk.

By the way, the smell of cooking will cover you from head to toes. Thankfully, Osio has a storage space on the floor along the wall, where we stowed away our jackets, purses, and other belongings. Nevertheless, we were quite conscious of how delicious (?) we smelled upon entering the crowded subway.

Do visit this fun street and enjoy this great dining experience. Happy travels !!!

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
15 Thank hpn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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