A Yatai (屋台) is a food stall, that can be found especially during summer, at festivals, shrines, temples and popular parks, on weekends and other special occasions.
Food provided by Yatai will vary according to region, season or occasion. Even if in the street, the food is always colorful, fresh and healthy, but also cheap! Traveling in Japan on a budget, Yatai is a perfect way to try a variety of popular Japanese dishes without spending much money.
Some of the most popular dishes often found at a Yatai include…
Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) Okonomi means “as you like it” and yaki means grill. It consist of a thick pancake like batter with cabbage and sometimes noodles too. Once cooked, the okonomiyaki is topped with sweet savory sauce called okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, katsuoboshi (dried fish flakes) and aonori (dried seaweed).
Takoyaki (たこ焼き) which means grilled octopus and is a popular fried dumpling filled with a few bits of cooked octopus. It is served hot with takoyaki sauce a sweet brown sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, katsuoboshi and aonori.
Yakisoba (焼きそば) or fried noodles is a tasty combination of ramen-style noodles stir fried with cabbage, onion, carrot and often with small bits of pork, beef or chicken. It is seasoned with yakisoba sauce, a rich brown sauce. Before serving, yakisoba is often garnished with aonori, beni-shoga, katsuoboshi and Japanese mayonnaise.
Yakimono (焼き物) means “grill” and mono means “things”. It includes small bits of meat, vegetables or shellfish placed on a stick and grilled. You can have, yakitori, small fish, cuttlefish, steak, corn and much more. The ingredients depend heavily on the region, season, the food stalls specialty and even the event itself.
More can be found, this is just a list of some of the most frequent dishes found at Yatai.