In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the festival blog, I'd like to share with you my favorite and most memorable festival food experiences of the past 20 years. But these are, of course, just my personal opinions.
1. Tororo-meshi (Tororo-meshi) @ Fuji Rock
This is a must every year. We eat it almost every day during the festival. I always cry when I have my first bowl of rice on the eve of the festival. It's a bowl of glossy Uonuma Koshihikari rice with a lot of grated yam on top and pickles (sold separately). I can't get enough of this. The Naeba Shokudo restaurant also serves other heart-warming dishes such as kirizai-meshi rice mixed with natto (fermented soybeans), nozawana, takuan (pickled radish), and so on, and kenchin soup. The sake is also "filled to the brim”! They also serve a wide variety of nimono (stewed bamboo shoots and so on) and other snacks. There's always a long waiting line, but it's worth the wait. You can also find them at Asagiri JAM.
2. Jasmine Thai "green curry & chicken with basil" @ Fuji Rock
This one is also a must every year. You can get high level Thai food at the festival. The green curry is filled with chicken, eggplant and peppers. The chicken with basil (gapao rice) has a nice basil flavor. Sometimes it's really spicy, but it goes well with beer. It's great to drink beer with sweat pouring down your face. Jasmine Thai has a brick-and-mortar location in Tokyo, so I recommend this one as well. Unlike the green curry you get at Fuji Rock, it's very classy and elegantly presented and colored. The other dishes are also excellent, so if you like Thai food, this is the place to go. Find them at Jasmine Thai!
3. Sandwich Club "Miyakejima Mackerel Sandwich" @ Fuji Rock
This was a one-time-only stall in 2015, and it was very good. Fried mackerel is flavored with a teriyaki style sauce and topped with the restaurant's original tartar sauce. The sweet & sour aroma with the mackerel was perfect, and it went perfectly with the bread. I had it on the first day, but it was sold out by the third day, probably due to its delicious reputation. I had hoped to see it again the following year, but we never saw it again after that. I'd love to see them open up again!!!
4. Schmatz "Hot Dog" at Fuji Rock
This hot dog shop from Germany opened in 2014 in the area outside the Fuji Rock venue. Pretzel bread with sausage and sweet & sour red cabbage. The pretzel bread was the best! And most impressive of all, all the German macho shopkeepers were out with their shirts off and aprons on. We haven't seen this one since 2014, so we'd love to see it open again! I looked it up and it looks like they're opening a shop in Japan, so I'll be there when it opens! ＜Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures!>
5. Hokkaido Nakashibetsu Shiitake Mushroom "Shiitake no Kara-age" @ Summer Sonic
Fried giant shiitake mushrooms from Nakashibetsu Town. Full of flavor and surprisingly delicious, and they go so well with beer. It was so good I had to make this at home. You'll find them at various events, so if you see them, you must give them a try.
6. Fuji Milk Land "Stripe Cheese" @ Asagiri JAM
It may not be festival food anymore, but Fuji Milk Land in Asagiri Highlands has a stall at Asagiri Jam to sell their cheese. It's so-called thread cheese. The first time I tasted this stripe cheese, I was amazed at the taste and the aroma, which was completely different from anything I had ever tasted before. Since then, I've been buying it every year putting it in the cooler box, before it gets sold out. Then I stop at Milkland on my way home to buy some more. I recommend it.
7. Chisan-ya "Nijimasu salt baking" @ Asagiri JAM
Yes, salted rainbow trout. We always eat it at Asagiri JAM. It's grilled over charcoal so it's fragrant and the meat is very tender and delicious. It goes well with beer.
8. “Cream stew (bread or rice)” at Asagiri Jam, a stew shop in the highlands
It gets very cold at night in the high altitudes of Asagiri Jam, and I am indebted to this cream stew. It warms me up and it’s very delicious. It's made with fresh milk from Asagiri Highlands, and stewed with Mangen pork and vegetables. It's very different from the cream stew I make at home. When you eat it, you will feel very happy. The choice of bread or rice is also important.
I can't introduce them all here, but there are plenty of other delicious festival foods as well. For now, I've listed my Top 8. I might do a drinks section (mainly alcohol) in my next blog.
That's it! Here's hoping all the festivals go off without a hitch next year!