BEAUTY OF THE SEASONS SUMMER FOOD
The Mamak stall is an intrinsic part of Malaysian culinary culture. Just thinking about some juicy, chargrilled Satay or a tasty bowl of Laksa, is enough to make your mouth water. But did you know that Japanese people also love to eat street food at market stalls? These stalls are called Yatai, and are a great way to experience Japanese summer food culture in a slightly different setting.
The Japan archipelago stretches from the subarctic zone in the north to the subtropics in the south, and in summer the temperature and humidity can be as high as many South-east Asian countries. Eating at a Yatai is a great opportunity to experience the Japanese summer firsthand while eating a great variety of food in an outdoor setting, at a reasonable price. Plus, Yatai can often be found at special summer events like festivals and fireworks displays, meaning you can enjoy the festive atmosphere at the same time. Popular street foods to try include Yakisoba (fried noodles), Takoyaki (octopus dumplings), and Okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), as well as Kaki-gori (shaved ice), the perfect dessert for a summer night. Yatai serving Ramen (noodle soup) are also often set up outside train stations, and are hugely popular as well. In some areas, yatai serve original menus with dishes that cannot be found anywhere else, providing a unique experience different from eating in a restaurant. They are a fun and friendly place to dine at, and offer the opportunity to mix with the locals as you chat with the staff and other customers.
Just like Malaysian Laksa, the soup and noodles vary depending on the region and the shop owner’s taste. The soup is made with soy sauce, salt, pork, or seafood bases, all of which are definitely worth a try! Cold noodles like Hiyashi chuka and chilled Soba dishes are especially popular in summer, and are a specialty not often seen in Malaysia.
The king of Japanese street food, these skewers of bite-sized chicken pieces are similar to Malaysian Satay. Skewers of other foods such as beef, pork, seafood and vegetables are also available.
Okonomiyaki & Takoyaki
Japanese people love flour-based foods that are similar to Roti. These down-to-earth street foods are made with batter made from flour. Okonomiyaki is a pancake containing a mix of vegetables and meat or seafood, and Takoyaki is bite-sized dumplings with octopus inside – great for a light snack when you’re feeling peckish.