An unprecedented development for Tokyo’s famous specialty soul food.

Ever since the pandemic hit Japan, fewer people are dining out like they used to, with many choosing to eat at home instead. Restaurants have been adapting to the changes by making use of vending machines so their dishes can be available to diners at any time of the day or night, and the latest specialty to appear via the automated delivery system is a Tokyo specialty called monjayaki.

Like okonomiyaki, the famous “savoury pancake” from Osaka, monjayaki is a batter-based specialty that’s grilled on a hotplate. Although it contains the same main ingredients as okonomiyaki, it’s prepared and eaten in a very different way. 

Okonomiyaki is shaped into mounds and eaten with a fork like a pancake.

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Monjayaki is flattened on the grill and eaten from the hotplate with a small metal spatula.

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The best place to eat monjayaki is in Tokyo’s Tsukishima neighborhood,  where you’ll find “Monja Street“, an entire street filled with restaurants specialising in the grilled dish. Now, there’s a new vendor on the street – the “Frozen Monja Vending Machine“, which made its debut this summer, selling four different varieties of monjayaki.

The four varieties available are:

Mentaiko Mochi Monja, which comes with mochi rice pieces and a large mound of mentaiko (Alaskan Pollock roe) carefully selected from Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market.

Wagyu Tendon Curry Monja, which contains carefully simmered Yonezawa Beef and a special blend of curry powder.



Gomoku Monja, an “old-fashioned” monjayaki, containing a mix of vegetables, meat and fish, which is loved by children and adults alike.

▼ And the Squid Ink Monja, which contains rice and a cream-based broth to create a risotto-like dish.

Operated by the head branch of the Tsukishima Monja Okoge restaurant, located in Tsukishima, the new vending machine allows customers to replicate the experience of dining at the restaurant in the comfort of their own homes.

▼ All monja ingredients are sold frozen, in servings for 1.5 people, and include two metal spatulas.

The restaurant trialled the packs numerous times to ensure the serving size, and the size of the chopped ingredients, would be a perfect fit for hot plates used at home.

Each pack comes with instructions on how to cook the monjayaki, and the restaurant has also uploaded a video to YouTube showing exactly how to cook their frozen meals, from start to finish.

With each pack priced from 1,300-1,500 yen (US$11.84-$13.66), the vending machine is a great option for visitors outside of Tokyo looking for a special souvenir, and monja lovers in the city can now get their fix of Tokyo’s local “soul food” whenever they have a craving for it.

If you’re more of a ramen fan, though, there are a couple of new vending machines where you can now get restaurant-quality noodles, and don’t forget there’s also an unstaffed gyoza store that’ll feed your cravings for dumplings at any time of the day or night!

Location information
Frozen Monja Vending Machine / 冷凍もんじゃの自動販売機
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Tsukishima 1-21-6

Images: PR Times
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