Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a pancake with mixture of flour and water as base, topped with vegetables such as cabbages, pork, seafood, and other ingredients, grilled on top of a “teppan” (iron plate) and then served with mayonnaise, sauce and seaweed flakes. On the other hand, monjayaki is made using the same base added with Worcester sauce, topped with ingredients such as cabbages and is eaten with a special spatula. Both are dishes grilled on iron plate and are famous as one of the flour-based food, or “konamon”. 

The origin of okonomiyaki is confectionery?!

It is said that okonomiyaki was first created during the Azuchi-Momoyama period. The famous master of Japanese tea ceremony, Sen no Rikyu created a cake called “fu-no yaki” which was made from flour. During Edo - Meiji era, the “fu-no yaki” has then spread among the common people, and evolved further to become “monjayaki” and “dondon-yaki”, both similar to today’s okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki was widely spread after the second world war. The mixture of flour and water topped with onions and other ingredients and eaten with sauce, called as “Yissen-yoshoku” (1-cent western food), began to be sold at sweet shops and soon became popular because it was filling. 

Hiroshima style “Kasane-yaki” and Kansai style “Maze-yaki”

There are two types of okonomiyaki, the Kansai style and the Hiroshima style. Hiroshima style, or “Kasane-yaki” (repeatedly baked) is where the batter is first spread on the iron plate or frypan, and ingredients are added onto it one by one. The ingredients such as cabbages, prawns, pork are not mixed together with the batter. On the other hand, for the Kansai style, or “Maze-yaki”, the ingredients are mixed together with the batter and then pan-fried. The textures of “Maze-yaki” (Kansai) and “Kasane-yaki” (Hiroshima) are completely different.  

“Monjayaki”, the ingredients are watery and seasoned before grilled!  

Monjayaki (もんじゃ焼き) is made by pouring the watery mixture of flour and water onto the iron plate and then grilled. The ingredients are similar to okonomiyaki but contain more water and mixed with seasoning and become pasty and do not congeal into a solid pancake when grilled. It is said the monjayaki is called such due to people used the batter to write during grilling. In Tsukishima, Tokyo, there located many monjayaki restaurants.