Have you heard of hanabi matsuri?
Hanabi matsuri, which means fireworks festival, is a Japanese summer tradition which is celebrated throughout the country from July to August.
Think carnival games for the young and old, yatais, or food carts, hawking local cuisines, and dazzling fireworks displays.
In case you didn’t know, Japan is home to some of the best pyrotechnics in the world.
If you can’t make it to Japan in time to witness the upcoming summer festivities, fret not, because SingPost Centre will be bringing Japan to you.
Happening from Jun. 15 to 23, the Isetan Hanabi Matsuri Food Fair will take visitors on a culinary journey exploring the different regional cuisines in Japan.
Think of it as having multiple Hanabi festivals all conveniently condensed under one roof: SingPost Centre.
3 must-try foods
Here’s a sneak preview of what will be available at the festival:
Grilled unagi and scallops skewers (1 for S$4, 3 for S$10)
No trip to Japan is complete without a visit to the famous Tsukiji Market in Tokyo.
This perhaps explains why Tsukiji Unagi Shokudo is one of the vendors that will be at the Isetan Hanabi Matsuri Food Fair.
Hailing straight from the Tsukiji Outer Market, known for its seafood restaurants dishing out the fresh catch of the day, Tsukiji Unagi Shokudo specializes in all things grilled eel.
It only serves the blue skin new baby unagi, known for its high-fat content and incredibly tender meat that melts in your mouth.
Tsukiji Unagi Shokudo claims that the eel they serve is “A5 premium top grade” and can only be found in 10 per cent of the market.
Fortunately, there is no need to search high and low for the blue skin new baby unagi as it will be available at SingPost Centre.
Patrons can look forward to sampling Tsukiji Unagi Shokudo’s unagi, as well as its grilled scallop, in skewered form.
The scallops are sourced from Mutsu city, Aomori and are known for their sweet, rich flavour and plump texture.
Grab a skewer at S$4 or mix it up and get three skewers for S$10.
Those who love unagi can also opt for a half fillet portion, which goes at one for S$12, and can be mixed and matched with grilled japanese cod fish or maguro kamatoro (tuna collar) goes at three for S$30.
Full unagi fillets are also available at one for S$25, two for S$45 and three for S$60.
Patrons looking for a heartier option can top up S$5 to get one complete bento meal consisting of rice, unagi soup and unagi bone crisps for any of the above.
It isn’t a festival if there is no okonomiyaki.
A festival staple and must-have, okonomiyaki is a grilled pancake dish prepared entirely on a teppan, or iron plate.
The dish varies depending on the region, but it has two main variants which originate from Kansai and Osaka, and Hiroshima respectively.
The former involves mixing the ingredients into the pancake batter, as you will an omelette, and can be more commonly found throughout Japan.
The latter’s ingredients are carefully layered one upon the other, almost like constructing an art piece, which perhaps explains why it is harder to find.
Thankfully for us, Kompton will be dishing up the Hiroshima okonomiyaki variant during its debut at the Isetan Hanabi Matsuri Food Fair, where you can get to watch it prepared right in front of you.
Talk about a feast for your eyes and your stomach.
Kompton’s Hiroshima okonomiyaki will be going at S$14 and onwards, depending on the toppings.
Patrons can choose from toppings like mentaiko, spring onion, shrimp and squid, shrimp and spring onion and oyster, or go for simplicity and opt for the original.
We recommend sharing the okonomiyaki (and splitting the cost) with a few others as it can be a rather filling dish.
Pyraene France Cake (S$5.30)
Cap off your Japanese culinary adventure with some sweet treats.
Look out for Bon Toraya, another stall that will be debuting at the Isetan Hanabi Matsuri Food Fair.
While this is its first time at the fair, Bon Toraya actually has a long history dating back all the way to 1951, when it was founded in Toyohashi, a city in central Japan.
It specialises in handcrafted Japanese and Western-style sweets and the pyraene france cake is its signature and “flagship dessert”.
According to Bon Toraya, the unassuming pyraene france cake has become the “local soul food” in Toyohashi and up to 3,000 can be sold in a day.
The cake comes in three flavours – chocolate, vanilla and matcha – but vanilla is its best seller.
As profound as the name is, the dessert is actually quite simple, consisting of a fine cream encased in a fluffy sponge cake.
But we all know that the simplest dishes are the hardest to make.
The cream used in Bon Toraya’s pyraene france cake is a case in point, where it is made with a secret blend consisting of four types of fresh creams.
What are you waiting for?
Try the Toyohashi dessert and Bon Toraya’s best selling vanilla pyraene france cake for yourself at the Isetan Hanabi Matsuri Food Fair at SingPost Centre.
Each cake retails at S$5.30.
About Isetan Hanabi Matsuri Food Fair
As mentioned, this is just a sneak preview of what’s in store.
There are plenty of other regional delights at the Isetan Hanabi Matsuri Food Fair.
Happening for 12 days only, from Jun. 13 to 25, the food fair is located at SingPost Centre’s level 1 atrium.
@nova.mothership Hanabi Matsuri 📅: Jun. 13 to 25 ⏰: Jun. 13, 12pm to 9pm Jun. 14 to 24, 11am to 9pm Jun. 25, 11am to 7pm 📍: Singpost Centre, Atrium Level 1 10 Eunos Road 8, S408600 🍴: Jumbo Mitarashi Dango S$3 Warabi Mochi S$10 Mini Taiyaki S$9 for 16 pieces Kani Salad Sandwich S$8 Pork Cutlet Sandwich S$10 Sapporo Ramen from S$5 Crab Stick from S$10.80 Danish Taiyaki S$5.50 Chocolate Banana S$4 Hiroshima Okonomiyaki S$14 Candied Sweet Potato S$8 for 200g Kyoto Small Bean from S$13 for 100g Strawberry Shaved Ice S$12 Candied Japanese Cherry S$6 for 3 pieces Premium Mix Jelly S$24 for 20 pieces #tiktoksg #hanabimatsuri2023 #sgfoodie #japanesefood #thingstodosg ♬ たぶん
The author of this SingPost Centre-sponsored article recommends Tsukiji Unagi Shokudon’s Unagi bento, oishine.
Top image by Fiona Tan