(Hiyashi chuka with shredded ham, cucumber, egg, and tomato)
Two weeks ago my friends and I went to the Powell Street Festival, an annual event in Vancouver celebrating Japanese food and culture. Fellow bento-er Nilmandra has written about its food stalls, and I have to agree with her that the selection of matsuri treats was impressive.
So here is a bento inspired by one of the many things I had at the festival. I had learned about hiyashi chuka from the New Dotch Cooking Show, but this was my first time having it. I loved its refreshing taste and simplicity. After doing more research on flickr and seeing wonderful examples like this and that, I decided to make my own (detailed recipe here). Cheap, quick, and easy: it is just what we need what summer fatigue kicks in.
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I went to the festival two days in a row, each time with different people. It had been rainy and cloudy the whole week, but fortunately we were blessed with good weather that weekend. The festival took place at a local park, but there were also side events hosted at nearby schools, galleries, and community centres. Free entertainment and cheap eats? Wee!
(I love her ensemble! – photo credit: Justin)
Initially, my companions and I had wanted to see the festival for its suikawari event and its art exhibition. Little did we know that it was its food that would become our primary interest. With food stalls lining up opposite sides of the park, we spent most of our time running back and forth and lining up for food, and picnicking on the grass. When I visited the festival again the next day with another friend, we still did the same!
(Crayon Shinchan; making imagawayaki)
At the end of my two days there, I had tried something from almost every booth: yakisoba, potato croquette, yakimochi, takoyaki, yakitori, imagawayaki, hiyashi chuka, temaki, tofu chocolate fudge cake, and even a soy milk pina colada. It seems so much fun to run a festival food booth; I wish someday I could help out at some similar event!
(FYI, I am very good at making takoyaki on Wii.)
One of my buddies, who was down with a bad case of pneumonia and desperately wanted to get out of the house, got a bento box and liked it a lot:
Get well soon!