Forking at the Festival

2 Aug

Street Food as it should be - Imagawayaki

Every year since I was a kid (and since before I was a kid), the Powell Street Festival has happened at Oppenheimer Park in the area known as Japantown in Vancouver. And every year for the past few years, I have missed it.

But not this year! This time, even my annual summer trip to Japan couldn’t get in the way – I was determined to go and eat Vancouver’s version of Japanese summer festival fare and reminisce about a time when I danced on the stage in my yukata (summer kimono) with the other girls from my Japanese language school – the only brown hair in the bunch.

It lived up to my anticipation. Not only were there lots of cute little (and big) halfers roaming around, making me feel like I belonged to a secret club, but there was food, glorious food – festival food! Join me on a culinary tour through Vancouver’s longest running community festival.

Inari Sushi

Inari Sushi

Inari sushi – Sweet, fried tofu sheets filled with rice.



Okonomiyaki – Literally, “grilled as you like” these are savoury Japanese pancake/omelettes, usually topped with a Worcestershire-based sauce, mayonnaise, aonori (a type of dried seaweek) and katsuobushi (bonito flakes). Yum!

Spam Omusubi

Spam, anyone?

Spam Omusubi – A fusion of war-time rations and omusubi (a.k.a. onigiri), the Japanese sandwich (a rice ball), Spam omusubi is a food that I’m not sure I can endorse. Although my Japanese and Korean friends swear by Spam, I can’t quite imagine what grilled ham, sandwiched between two pressed blocks of rice and wrapped in seaweed tastes like. By this gentleman’s face, I imagine it can’t be that bad, though!

Spam Sushi

Spam Sushi

… just in case you didn’t get enough Spam.

Takoyaki in Vancouver

Takoyaki in Vancouver

Takoyaki – Octopus balls! The longest line-up at the festival for sure, the next time you see these, run to the queue and dig your heels in. Don’t give up – these balls of batter filled with seafood (and yes, octopus) are worth the wait!



A round take on Tai-yaki (the fish-shaped version), Imagawayaki is essentially a sweet pancake filled with sweet red beans. In Japan, you can also get white beans or custard in the middle. mmmm, custard…

Sawagi Taiko

Sawagi Taiko

Okay, you can’t eat this, but I just had to highlight these amazing women. Sawagi Taiko is an all-female taiko drumming group based here in Vancouver. If you’re interested in taking a one-day workshop, they are offering one in September! Check out their Facebook Page for more information on how to register. See you there!

There’s still one day left, if you’re reading this on August 2, so get out there and,

Let’s Forking at Festivals with our community members!!


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