Sumer in Japan is matsuri (festival) season. I love festivals! I love seeing all of the people wearing yukatas. I love the smell of grilled squid and greasy fries and yakitori and grilled corn and yaki soba and takoyaki. Okay. I'll stop. I'm making myself hungry. Anyway, the smell of festival food in the air is one of my favorite things about matsuri season. My most favorite thing is probably the fireworks though. They're pretty amazing. Eating festival food while watching fireworks is even more amazing.
I went to the Kintai festival this past Saturday and I was not disappointed at all. They had the real festival food set up on the rocky side of the Kintai Bridge. I say "real" because if you remember my post from the Lantern Festival, I was a little disappointed that they didn't have the real festival food stalls.
The first time we walked over to check out the food stalls, they weren't quite set up yet. So most of them hadn't even started cooking yet. It was a little disappointing, but we would just have to come back in a couple of hours.
On our way out though, I spotted a sign that said "Renkon Korokke" (in Japanese of course).
What??? Renkon Korokke??? Renkon is lotus root. I LOVE renkon! Korokke is croquette. As in, potato croquette. I LOVE korokke! I was curious to see what the renkon korokke looked like and tasted like so I walked over. The lady behind the little counter had just put some into the fryer. I asked if I could take some pictures of the ones that hadn't gone into the fryer yet and she kindly said yes.
She also said she would have some ready in a few minutes. Of course we waited. A few minutes later, she was handing over a couple of lotus croquettes and we were handing over 200yen each.
Oh how I wish the yen rate would improve. I just spent close to $3 for a croquette! But it looked so good! I didn't even care. As much as I wanted to hurry up and try it, it was SO hot. So, we just started heading back. As soon as we got back to our area, I took it out of the bag
and took a picture (I have such great self restraint sometimes.....just sometimes).
Then I took a bite. It was still warm. Oh, it was really good. If you like lotus root and potatoes, you'll like this.
A couple of hours later, we decided to head back over to the food area. Wow! There were SO many people! There were lines at a lot of the food stalls. It was hard for me to get close and take pictures. Heck, it was hard to even stop and take pictures. People were bumping into me because it was THAT crowded. I also lost people. They were behind me and then a few minutes later, poof. Gone. So I tried to stand off to the side and look for them. After a few minutes, I gave up and kept moving. I slowly made my way around to the other side. There were three rows of food stalls, and for some reason the first row was the busiest. Once I got out of the first row, I did manage to get a few pictures. Still not as many as I would have liked and it was hard to completely stop so some of my pictures are blurry. Bad photographer.
And for dessert......
So, the point of this post is......while you are in Japan, make sure you check out as many festivals as you can. Try some of the foods. The grilled corn on the cob is really good. The grilled squid is one of my all-time favorites! Get out and take in the the sights and the smells of matsuri. The Kintai festival is easy because it is so close, but there are other festivals nearby. The Yanai Goldfish festival is coming up on Saturday, the 13th. It's a cute festival with goldfish lanterns and floats. Lots of food stalls and LOTS of people. You can drive, or take the local train. The festival is all up and down the street in front of the the train station so it's very convenient.
This Wednesday I am going to Trois Cafe for lunch and I have specially requested the lotus root creme brulee for dessert. Yes. I said LOTUS ROOT CREME BRULEE. Have I mentioned how much I love lotus root? I have never heard of a renkon creme brulee though so I am super excited. I shall blog about it of course. Just typing about it is making my mouth water.....