Skip to main content

One of the Most Unknown Japanese Dishes; Monja-yaki

Tokyo’s local food Monja-yaki


Hi, my name is Miki. I specialized in Japanese restaurant inbound.

This is quite sudden, but what Japanese food do you know? Sushi and ramen are very popular all over the world, so many of you not just know what they are, but have eaten them already. Also, not only sushi or ramen, but the number of various types of specialized Japanese restaurants such as udon, soba, yakiniku, shabushabu, and tempura are increasing in your country, aren’t they? But, what I wanna introduce you today is “Monja-yaki”. Monja-yaki is not well known in other counrties, so many of you may have not even seen or heard of it, but it is one of the most signature Japanese dishes. It may not look appetizing, but is very healthy and amazing! If you want to know a popular Japanese local dish, which is known to those in the know, this video is worth seeing.


1. What is “Monja-yaki”?

Monja-yaki is beloved by local people and is originally from Tokyo. Especially Tsukishima, a town in Tokyo, is well-known as “Monja-yaki town”, and there are densely packed Monja-yaki specialized restaurants. We have many types of Monja-yaki, and each restaurant has its own recipe. For instance, hamburger doesn’t have only one kind, instead, there are cheese burger, avocado burger, and double burger too, right? Same for Monja-yaki, we have spicy cod roe flavor, kimchi flavor, curry flavor, and even some more. But, like all hamburgers must have buns, all Monja-yaki have a common basic ingredient. Which is cabbage. Each Monja-yaki has lots of cabbage in it. The cabbage and each house’s original stock which is mixed with flour are the base of Monja-yaki, and they add spicy cod roe, kimchi, curry, and cheese as toppings. And just grill them all together, then, Monja-yaki is ready. By the way, when you look at the menu, they usually only write the toppings on it. But like I said, all Monja-yaki include cabbage and flour, so don’t forget about it. Alright. So let’s see how to cook Monja-yaki next.


2. How to cook Monja-yaki

When you go into a Monja-yaki specialized restaurant, they always have a griddle on each table. And we use the griddle to cook Monja-yaki. So who cook Monja? It can be you, or an employee. We mainly have 2 types of Monja-yaki restaurants; the one you have to cook by yourself, and the one an employee cooks for you. As far as I know, most Monja restaurants are the second one, so they will cook for you without you asking, or they will ask you “May I cook it for you?” But even if you enter the self-cooking one, they would be happy to do it if you ask “Could you cook it?” In that case, you can say “Tsukutte kudasai” in Japanese. “Tsukutte” means “to cook”, and “kudasai” means “please”. But I’m sure some of you want try it by yourself since you came all the way to Japan, so let me explain how to cook. The recipie varies with each restaurant, but basically it will be like this.


How to cook the most popular Monja-yaki; spicy cod roe and cheese Monja

  1. First, put some oil on the griddle and spread thoroughly on it.
  2. Second of all, remove the spicy cod roe and cheese onto a small plate, and grill and chop only the cabbage. Please be careful not to pour the stock onto the griddle yet.
  3. Then, make a doughnut shape with the cabbage.
  4. And pour the stock into the doughnut hole.
  5. Next, add the spicy cod roe into the stock.
  6. Loosen up the spicy cod roe and stir with the broth.
  7. When they are mixed enough, break the doughnut shape and mix with the cabbage.
  8. Finally, sprinkle the cheese all over the top.
  9. Wait until the cheese melts, and it’s ready!

By the way, if you wanna make it dangerously cheesey, you can order extra cheese and other toppings, too!


3. How to eat Monja-yaki

We always have big and small spatulas at Monja restaurants. The big spatulas are used when we cook Monja, and small spatulas are used when we eat Monja. So, we don’t eat Monja with spoons or chopsticks, but with the spatula. How to dig in is very simple. When it’s ready to eat, use the small spatula and take Monja from outside, and dig in. By the way, when you are a bit tired of Monja, try some side dishes and refresh your mouth.


How did you enjoy our Monja-yaki tour? Monja is a perfect match with beer, reasonable, and healthy. Also, this local dish is not well-known in other countries yet, so you can brag like “Oh, you guys don’t know Monja-yaki yet? Please give it a try when you have a chance to come to Japan.