Thursday 18 August 2016

No end in sight! - Shimokitazawa Spicy Food Festival (激辛フェスティバル / Gekikara festival)

All day yesterday my students and I had been talking about a typhoon that was due to hit Tokyo last night.  It was the first typhoon of the season to make its way to Tokyo so there was a buzz in the air.  I finished work and poked my head outside and found that there was no rain so I thought "Great, time to head to Shimokitazawa for some more spicy food!".  So ignoring the people walking all around me with umbrellas I jumped on the train to make my way there.  On the train I started thinking about what I wanted to try and scoured the website looking at all the delicious photos.

Arriving at Shimokitazawa it had started raining very lightly.  I ignored the drizzle and set off to my first destination, Restaurant and Bar Es.

The spicy menu item at Es was a spicy omu rice.  Omu rice is a dish made up of fried rice covered with a soft cooked omlette.  It is usually covered with some kind of sauce which can vary from tomato sauce or ketchup, demi glaze sauce, and a curry sauce to name just a few.  Es's claimed to be a spicy sauce with a fried rice cooked with butter.  Sounded good!  I ordered and within 5 minutes it arrived.

Now I have had omu rice on a number of occasions and it is a delicious meal, a comfort food even.  I poked my spoon into the fluffy goodness and took a huge spoonful and in it went.  A couple of chews later my eyes bulged and I did a double-take at the omu rice.  "Did you just make my teeth sweat?"  It was spicy at a level I had not expected.  Now, each of the dishes listed on the website are listed as spicy or extra spicy.  This one was listed as spicy but the heat rivalled the chicken wings that I had tried recently with the habanero powder that was listed as extra spicy.  I was impressed!!

It worked up a sweat too.

Thanking the owner who thanked me for coming (with a knowing smile on his face...) I exited Es and made my way outside.  The rain was about the same as it was when I had arrived so I thought "Great, one more before heading home".  I walked the 5 minutes or so to the next place, Gastro Pub Gozo.

The spicy menu item here was meatballs served with capsicum, or green peppers and a small dish of pickled jalapenos on the side.  This place also has some craft beers so I selected one of them to wash it down with, a nice smooth pale ale.

These ones were not spicy at all, but they did taste great and I promised myself I would come back to try some of the other items on the menu.  They look like an upscale pub with upscale pub food.

Finishing up, I made my way outside and found that the typhoon had arrived.....  The 5 minute walk to the station became like walking in a swimming pool, such was the volume of water that was soaking its way into my clothes.  Everyone else had their umbrellas and were kindly not looking at me struggling through the torrential rain, but I knew what they were thinking!  Luckily it was summer rain and was not too cold.  I finally arrived home looking like a drowned rat, but satisfied with the night's dinner!

Thanks again for reading.  Stay tuned, again, for the next update!



  1. Loving all these spicy looking dishes. Love hot food!!

    1. Thanks mate. I'm loving the festival too. Hopefully it becomes an annual event!