July 14, 2007

Imagawayaki at the OCBC Obon Festival [Anaheim]

After scouring the internet for weekend happenings, I came upon the Orange County Buddhist Church's annual Obon Festival, which is a holiday for honoring your ancestors. The kendo was open for prayer and Buddhism educations sessions Though we stuck around for the Taiko drumming and parts of the Obon Odori dance, we were really there for the imagawayaki, which brought back fond memories from my trip to Japan a few years ago.

The imagawayaki stand was easily the most popular at the festival with a line that wound about the booth and moved in slow spurts. The imagawayaki is fluffy like a pancake, but firm and crisp like a waffle. It is filled with the red bean paste inside and can be molded into a number to different shapes, most commonly a fish. Imagawayaki are typically sold as festival snacks, though we found them everywhere on our trip to Japan.

At the Obon Festival, a handful of volunteers manned the cast iron griddles, turning the imagawayaki, delivering it, and packaging them for purchase. With the number of people helping out, you would have expected the line to move swiftly--not so, when the man standing in front of you orders 20 to take home. The imagawayaki are best hot off the griddle and made as fresh as they were on this lovely Saturday.

There were numerous other food items such as dango, BBQ ika , and Japanese rice dishes. Unfortunately, we were pressed for time and only had half an hour to stand in line.

BBQ Ika (squid)

Terriyaki and other rice dishes, dango (Okinawa-style donut)

There is a place in Little Tokyo where you can buy imagawayaki year-round: Mitsuru Cafe, 117 Japanese Village in Little Tokyo, (213) 613-1028.

* Thanks to my anonymous commenter for correcting my cultural faux

Obon Festival (various dates and festivals throughout July)
Orange County Buddhist Church
909 S Dale Ave
Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 827-9590


Anonymous said...

Hi, I found your blog through Monster Munching. Just want to say I really enjoy reading your blog. The layout and photos are great. I am Vietnamese and am married to a Japanese man, so the restaurants you review are right up my alley. :)

My husband and go to the Obon every year (we were married there). The "Hawaiian BBQ" is actually BBQ ika and it's delicious. And the "Dango" is actually Okinawa style dango which is a donut (not mochi like regular dango). The donuts are sinfully superb.

POPtart said...

Please excuse my cultural faux pas! Thanks for filling in the gaps that proved insufficient for Wikipedia. =]

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