I must admit that my knowledge of Japanese food is limited to Sushi and Tempura, but as a food writer it’s my job to continually broaden my culinary horizons and that includes experimenting with all types of cuisine.
Self described as “Celebrating the joy of Japanese Festival Cuisine,” Glow Fish Truck centers it’s menu on a very festive looking dish known as Okonomiyaki.
Often referred to as Japanese pizza or pancake, Okonomiyaki is a savory griddle cake typically found in the Kansai and Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the country and now on a Los Angeles-based food truck.
The name is derived from the word “okonomi,” meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked”.
The basis of the finished product is centered on a variety of ingredients primarily meat (pork or bacon), assorted seafood and vegetables like green onions and sometimes cheese) the final selection of toppings and batters tend to vary according to region.
Knowing nothing about Okonomiyaki, I had to study the menu for several moments before placing my order. After I felt I’d gained a through understanding of the dish and it’s preparation, I was confident enough to move forward and ordered two distinct entrees.
For my first selection I selected the “1A”. This pancake is made with shrimp, bacon, scallions, pickled cabbage and topped with Bonito flakes. Bonito is a type of fish similar to Mackerel that’s been smoked, dried and shaved into delicate flakes.
From the moment you open the container you’re immediately hit with a strong aroma of smoked fish from the Bonito. To me, it looked and tasted more like fish food.
The “1A” – like all of the Okonomiyaki’s – starts with a cabbage based batter, except this one is blended with a generous portion of plump, pink shrimp, fuchsia colored pickled ginger and chopped smoked bacon.
Once removed from the grill it’s decoratively drizzled with two sauces – an Okonomi sauce that looks and tastes similar to Teriyaki sauce, and Japanese mayo.
Despite the odd sounding pairings, the ingredients work surprisingly well together. The shrimp is plentiful and quite fresh, the pickled cabbage was not as strong in taste as I expected, and of course, you can’t go wrong by adding bacon to anything, in my opinion.
The only drawback for me was the Bonito flakes, but keep in mind that I’m not pointing this out as a criticism. I realize that the ingredient is just an acquired taste.
Even though the dish is referred to as a ‘pancake,” its fluffy, almost airy texture reminded me more of an omelette than a pancake.
As a matter of fact, the portion was generous enough that it could be shared with at least one other person, and priced at $10, I thought it was a dish well worth the experiment.
For my second choice, I selected the Rosa Del Diablo $7. This Okonomiyaki is made with chicken, fresh scallions, provolone cheese, jalapeno peppers and Soyrizo (a soy-based meat alternative, similar to chorizo i.e. Mexican Sausage)
The Rosa Del Diablo was the stand-out dish here.
It all worked very well together, and made for a very pleasant Japanese / American fusion dish.
The cheese created a texture creamy like an omelette and totally melted in my mouth. The Soyrizo and jalapeno’s made it savory without being overly spicy. Overall, it was a hearty dish that left me feeling surprisingly full but not weighted down.
Like the 1A, the Rosa Del Diablo sauce only enhances the flavors of the base ingredients, actually adding to the Okonomiyaki instead of subtracting from the savory fillings.
Finally, I ordered a side of Garlic Edemame – $3 – Edemame is a green vegetable more commonly known as a soybean.
Glow Fish prepares them quite simply, just steaming them with a bit a garlic.
Even though I’ve never eaten Edemame before, I found it to be pretty uneventful.
If you like Edemame and garlic, you’ll probably appreciate this dish.
Menu Selection 4
Total Score: 4.2
Where to find them: