London - Japanese Matsuri ("Festival") - Saturday 19th September
This event might be of interest for Japanese food and/or culture fans:
Doesn't seem to have been announced yet who the food stallholders are going to be but I'm led to believe that Saki will be taking part and that's one of London's better Japanese restaurants.
Nice to run into you there!
Tried a few stalls, but the highlight for me was the dorayaki/stuffed pancakes from Wagashi Japanese Bakery. Eminently smooth surfaces, moist and very lightly chewy. The custard filling was merely ok, but the pancake was excellent. According to the brochure, they also have chestnut and red bean versions but that didn't seem to be available at the stall.
The brochure also says that they're a sister shop to a Japanese company and their recipes are based on the original. Their sweets are carried by Yo!Sushi, Japan Centre, Feng Sushi, Sushi Hiroba (listing from the brochure) and others.
Their ice creams (chestnut or black sesame) weren't particularly exciting to me. I didn't try the green tea/matcha ice cream as they ran out, but the brochure states that their matcha is from Uji, which is probably a good sign, as it's also a district known for gyukuro (from which matcha is made).
@ limster. Yes nice to run into you and very random! Thanks for the Wagashi Japanese Bakery tip, I think that the melon bun I had from Japan Centre a few weeks ago may have been part of their range.
@ foreignmuck. Like you, I was put off by the horrendous queues and nothing tempted me massively. I know the owner of Saki and wanted to try their udon but they had sold out by the time I got to their stall. Interesting to see which restaurants were participating and yes good to see that it was busy and that Japanese culture appears to be increasingly popular in this country.
I did come across an interesting stall called Nama Yasai LLP (www.namayasai.co.uk) selling Japanese vegetables, salad leaves and herbs grown in the UK. I bought some wasabina which is new to me, strong mustardy taste. There was also a stall (sarahwedgbury.co.uk) promoting/selling a range of sakes from Akita which I checked out.
The queues were really bad, I had to pick and choose which stall to try. Quite a few of the stalls were from Brick Lane market (e.g. takoyaki, okonomiyaki, various fried items) or places that I had been to already. So I skipped those for stalls new to me, which made it a bit easier.