Orlando Japan Festival
The woman in her kimono gently rolled a ball of sugar in her hand and mixed it with a pinch of water. Like a magician, with the sleight of her hand, she began to transform the puddy-like mixture with each stroke into a crane, outreaching its neck and wings and began to paint it pink and red with food coloring. The children looked up at the magical edible creature in awe. Ah, the sights of the annual Orlando Japan Festival.
I’ve always been a fan of festivals. I love the excitement of the crowds as they meander through the stalls, the entertaining performances on display, and most of all, the delicious food that you can only buy with cash money at a festival.
It was to my delight to find not one but over 4 different stalls that served various Japanese food items a la street vendor at the Orlando Japan Festival. Rangetsu, Sushi Tomi, Sushiology, Mikado, Japan Food Aki, and more all brought out their weapons to the foray. From sushi to yakisoba to teriyaki chicken, the vendors ran a wide gamut of traditional Japanese offerings.
Hardboiled eggs in sauce
My picks of the day were from Rangetsu. The first few Orlando Japan Festivals were actually held on the premises of Rangetsu, with its blue terraced roofs and large outdoor pond scenery. But I suppose in recent years the festival had outgrown the walls of Rangetsu and it was decided to move the festival to the Hunter’s Creeks plaza off of John Young Blvd just south of SR 417.
I chose takoyaki, a popular Japanese dumpling sold on the streets and made with batter and stuffed with octopus pieces and spices. The takoyaki are round and soft with the pleasant rubbery texture of octopus when you bite them.
Also, I choose chicken karaage, a fried style chicken dish with soy sauce, and yakisoba, the long wheat noodles served with chicken and red ginger. All of these items totaled less than 9 dollars, not a bad deal!
Overall the food was great, but it was the combination of street food, anime cosplayers, vendors, taiko drummers, dancers, and the lady with the masterful edible sugar creatures that made this Orlando Japan Festival special.
Takoyaki or Octopus balls from Ran-Getsu at the Orlando Japan Festival
Chicken Karaage from Ran-Getsu at the Orlando Japan Festival
Yakisoba with Chicken from Ran-Getsu at the Orlando Japan Festival
Find out more about the Orlando Japan Festival here: