Monjayaki vs Okonomiyaki: A Battle of the Japanese Savory Pancakes
Monjayaki and Okonomiyaki are two of Japan’s most delicious savory pancakes. They are both cooked on an iron griddle, but they have different ingredients, batter, cooking methods, eating styles, and tastes. In this article, we will join the match of Monjayaki vs Okonomiyaki that helps you decide which one is the perfect Japanese savory pancake for you.
Let This Story Takes You to the Match of Monjayaki vs Okonomiyaki
First, We Have Okonomiyaki
Imagine you are in Japan, walking along a busy street full of restaurants and food stalls. You smell something delicious, something that makes your mouth water and your stomach growl. You follow your nose and find yourself in front of a large iron griddle, where a chef is cooking something that looks like a pancake. But wait, is it really a pancake? It seems to have cabbage, meat, seafood, and other ingredients mixed in the batter. And what is that sauce on top? Is it mayonnaise? And what are those flakes that are moving like they are alive?
You are intrigued by this dish, so you decide to give it a try. You order one and watch as the chef prepares it for you. First, the chef pours some batter onto the griddle and adds some ingredients. He shapes the mixture into a round cake and flips it over. Then, he adds some sauce, mayonnaise, dried seaweed, and bonito flakes on top. Finally, he cuts it into pieces and serves it to you on a plate. You take a bite and experience a burst of flavors and textures in your mouth. The dish amazes you with how delicious it is. You ask the chef what this dish is called. He smiles and says: “This is Okonomiyaki, the Japanese savory pancake”.
Second, We Have Monjayaki
You are satisfied with your meal, but you are also curious about other dishes that Japan has to offer. You walk further down the street and find another iron griddle, where another chef is cooking something that looks similar to Okonomiyaki, but not quite the same. It seems to have a thinner batter and a runnier texture than Okonomiyaki. It looks like a piece of melted cheese or scrambled egg mixture that is spread evenly on the griddle. Yet, it does not have any sauce or toppings on it. You wonder what this dish is and how it tastes.
You approach the chef and ask him about this dish. He tells you that this is Monjayaki, another Japanese savory pancake that is popular when visiting Tokyo. He invites you to try it and shows you how to eat it. Next, he gives you a small iron spatula and tells you to scoop up some Monjayaki from the griddle and bring it to your mouth. You do as he says and taste the Monjayaki. Again, this dish surprises you with how soft and moist it is. It has a slightly stronger sauce taste than Okonomiyaki, due to the sauce being mixed into the batter. You find it interesting and unique, but also a bit messy.
Which One is for You?
You thank the chef for his hospitality and continue your journey of exploring Japanese cuisine. You wonder what other dishes Japan has to offer that are similar or different from Okonomiyaki and Monjayaki. Curiously, you want to learn more about these two dishes and how they compare with each other.
If you are like us, you might have been fascinated by these two dishes: Monjayaki vs Okonomiyaki, two of Japan’s most delicious savory pancakes. But what are they exactly? How are they made? How do they taste? And which one is better or more authentic? In this article, we will answer these questions and help you decide which one is the perfect Japanese savory pancake for you.
Monjayaki vs Okonomiyaki, What are the Differences?
Monjayaki and Okonomiyaki are both Japanese dishes that are cooked on an iron griddle, called a teppan grill. They both consist of a batter mixed with various ingredients, such as cabbage, meat, seafood, cheese, mochi (rice cake), kimchi (fermented cabbage), noodles, corn, etc. The two both have a savory taste that can be enhanced by adding sauce, mayonnaise, dried seaweed (aonori), bonito flakes (katsuobushi), pickled ginger (beni shoga), fried tempura bits (agedama), etc. They both can be eaten as a main dish or a snack, depending on the size and quantity.
However, Monjayaki and Okonomiyaki also have some differences that make them distinct from each other. These differences include:
|Origins||Tokyo (Kantō region)||Osaka or Hiroshima (Kansai or Hiroshima regions)|
|Batter||Watery and runny||Plain and thick|
|Ingredients||More liquid ingredients, such as dashi stock (a simple broth made from dried kelp and bonito fish flakes) and Worcestershire sauce||More solid ingredients with toppings such as various meats, seafood, noodles, and vegetables|
|Cooking method||Mixing the batter with other ingredients on an iron plate||Molding the mixture into a pancake-like shape|
|Eating style||Eaten directly from the iron plate using small iron spatulas||Cut into pieces and served individually|
These differences affect the texture and flavor of Monjayaki and Okonomiyaki, as well as the way they are enjoyed by the customers.
How are Monjayaki and Okonomiyaki Made?
The process of making Monjayaki and Okonomiyaki is similar, but not exactly the same. Here are the steps for making each dish:
How to Make Monjayaki
- Step 1: Prepare the ingredients.
You will need some finely chopped cabbage, beni shoga, agedama, aonori, squid, shrimp, mentaiko, cheese, or any other ingredients you like. Additionally, you will need some flour, water, dashi stock, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper to make the batter.
- Step 2: Make the batter.
In a bowl, mix some flour and water to make a thin paste. Add some dashi stock and Worcestershire sauce to season it. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
- Step 3: Cook the Monjayaki.
Heat up an iron griddle over medium-high heat. Add some oil and fry the solid ingredients until slightly browned. Arrange them in a circle shape on the griddle. Pour the liquid batter into the center of the circle. Stir the mixture until it boils and thickens. Break the circle and spread the mixture evenly on the griddle. Cook until slightly crispy on the bottom and gooey on the top.
How to Make Okonomiyaki
- Step 1: Prepare the ingredients.
You will need some sliced cabbage, pork belly, shrimp, squid, octopus, or any other ingredients you like. You will also need some flour, water, eggs, baking powder, salt, and pepper to make the batter. In addition, you will need some Okonomiyaki sauce (a brown sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce), mayonnaise, aonori, katsuobushi, or any other toppings you like.
- Step 2: Make the batter.
In a bowl, mix some flour, water, eggs, baking powder, salt, and pepper to make a thick paste.
- Step 3: Cook the Okonomiyaki.
Heat up an iron griddle over medium-high heat. Add some oil and pour some batter onto the griddle. Add some ingredients (except raw meat or seafood) on top of the batter. Shape the mixture into a round cake. Place some raw meat or seafood on top of the cake and press lightly. Flip the cake over after a few minutes to cook the other side. Flip again and add some sauce, mayonnaise, aonori, katsuobushi, or any other toppings on top of the cake. Cut into pieces and serve on a plate.
How do Monjayaki and Okonomiyaki Taste?
The taste of Monjayaki vs Okonomiyaki depends on the ingredients and toppings used to make them. However, they generally have different textures and flavors that can be described as follows:
- Texture: Monjayaki has a soft and moist texture that is similar to melted cheese or scrambled eggs. It can be crispy on the bottom and gooey on the top.
- Flavor: Monjayaki has a slightly stronger sauce taste than Okonomiyaki due to the sauce being mixed into the batter. It can be salty, sweet, sour, spicy, or umami (savory) depending on the ingredients.
- Texture: Okonomiyaki has a thicker and firmer texture than Monjayaki which is similar to a pancake or an omelet. It can be crispy on both sides and soft in the middle.
- Flavor: Okonomiyaki has a milder flavor than Monjayaki as the sauce is only applied on top of the cake. It can be sweet, sour, spicy, or umami depending on the toppings.
Which One is Better or More Authentic
The question of which one is better or more authentic between Monjayaki and Okonomiyaki is not easy to answer. Actually, it depends on one’s personal preference and taste buds. Some people might prefer Monjayaki for its unique texture and flavor, while others might prefer Okonomiyaki for its substantiality and variety. Besides that, some people might like both dishes equally, or enjoy them on different occasions. The best way to find out which one you like more is to try them yourself.
Popularity and Recognition of the Two Dishes
If we look at the popularity and recognition of these dishes, we might be able to draw some conclusions. Okonomiyaki is more widely well-known and available than Monjayaki, both in Japan and abroad. Okonomiyaki has also been featured in many anime, manga, movies, and TV shows, such as Naruto, One Piece, Spirited Away, Midnight Diner, etc. Furthermore, Okonomiyaki has been adapted and modified in different countries, such as Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, etc. On top of that, many people around the world consider Okonomiyaki a representative dish of Japanese cuisine. Indeed, it’s one of the 10 Asian dishes that you must try.
Monjayaki, on the other hand, is more of a local specialty of Tokyo that is not as well-known or accessible as Okonomiyaki. Monjayaki is mainly found in the Tsukishima area of Tokyo, where there is a street full of Monjayaki restaurants. Also, Monjayaki has not been featured or mentioned as much as Okonomiyaki in media or culture. Moreover, Monjayaki has not been exported or adapted as much as Okonomiyaki in other countries. Monjayaki is more about a hidden gem of Japanese cuisine by some people who have tried it.
Therefore, based on these factors, we might say that Okonomiyaki is more popular and authentic than Monjayaki in general. However, this does not mean that Monjayaki is inferior or less authentic than Okonomiyaki. Monjayaki has its own charm and appeal that can attract and satisfy some customers who are looking for something different and unique. Monjayaki is also part of Japan’s culinary culture and history that deserves respect and appreciation.
We hope this article has helped you learn more about Monjayaki vs Okonomiyaki, two of Japan’s most delicious savory pancakes. Have you tried them before? Which one do you like more? Let us know in the comments below!
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