Make your own Okonomiyaki @ Sakura Tei, Tokyo, Japan
From Google --
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning "how you like" or "what you like", and yaki meaning "grill".
We found Sakura Tei in a list of recommended restaurants to visit in Tokyo and to be honest, I was very excited because the idea of making your own Okonomiyaki is very new to me! Maybe I'm a little slow... but ok, to put it into Western context, rarely do you find restaurants that allow you to make your own pancakes isn't it? :P
Sakura Tei is located in Harajuku but getting there required more effort than expected because the restaurant is slightly tucked in those quaint alleys so you really do need the help of Google Maps. As you can also see from the picture above, the entrance of the shop name doesn't spell out "Sakura Tei" and if you don't read Japanese, it's quite easy to walk by and miss it. We had to double check the location on its website but to come to think of it, the Sakura logo simply tells it all ;)
When I entered the restaurant, I still had my doubts whether if it's the correct place because it looked more like a museum to me as there were a lot of art pieces displayed on the walls. And the whole quirkiness of the place just doesn't feel like a restaurant. Moreover, a Teppanyaki restaurant.
But then again, this is Harajuku. Anything is possible.
A little background on Sakura Tei (adapted from its web):
Connected to Design Festa Gallery and the outside coffee shop, the interior of Sakura Tei reflects the local roots. The walls are all hand painted original works by Design Festa artists, with seating available inside and outside. When you're here, you'll know it's Harajuku.
The seating area is considered outdoor I suppose, and the rain covers were down because it was drizzling that day. How perfect would it be to enjoy grilled food in winter ;P
And here's the buffet menu:
- 2500 yen per pax
- Order all you can eat, free flow for 120 minutes
How to Order -
- Choose any of the 4 bases (Okonomiyaki / Monja / Yaki Soba / Yaki Udon)
- Choose any 1 topping to go with your base
- At any one time, there can only be maximum of 4 sets because that's all the iron griddle can fit.
I chose Okonomiyaki as my base for all sets because it had the least carbs in it (no noodles) and that way, I could eat more but man I was wrong. After the second set or so, I was almost 80% filled! Koon ordered Yaki Soba as his base for both rounds.
Here's a very informative step by step guide on how to make Okonomiyaki.
Here's how the Okonomiyaki mix comes in - with a combination of cabbage, raw egg, flour, and toppings of your choice. It really does go with anything, and everything from the menu.
Prepping to mix the ingredients.
And once you're done with the mixture ; put it onto the iron griddle, shape it into a circle, let it work it's own magic and you can start seeing your Okonomiyaki come to live!! Hahaha. Oh before that, you'd have to make sure the oil is spread thinly and evenly on the griddle before you put the mixture on it. This is to make sure it doesn't get burnt!
Like this one - I think it was our first try and it got a little burnt. There's the Yaki Soba at the back ;)
Once it's ready, you could then top it off with the Okonomi Sauce (Sweet Sauce), Mayonnaise and Dried fish flakes (not pictured here).
Here are some other combinations we got for the Okonomiyaki - Left with Cheese / Right with Dried Squid Flakes.
And below you could also see the Yaki Soba pre-mix. Something which I find quite funny would be the curry powder, which is considered as a Topping.
And for the second Yaki Soba set, we chose the pork slices as our choice of topping ;)
Making the Yaki Soba is quite different from the Okonomiyaki because you have to consciously pan fry the Soba, from time to time add the condiments like soya sauce, pepper, and all sorts during the process to make sure you get the taste right.
I didn't think it was extremely good that would make me go WOW (maybe because we overcooked them) but it was decent. I would go back again but for their a la carte! We actually weren't there for the buffet (which we didn't even know about) but rather the a la carte selection from their menu which seemed pretty good on its own!
Anyway, the fact that it was cold that day definitely boosted the entire yaki ambiance!
3 Chome-20-1 Jingumae Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan
Operating Hrs: 11:00 A.M. - 12:00 A.M All year round