In some respects, trying to describe what okonomiyaki actually is, is a tough call. But in its essence, this Japanese treat is a savoury pancake, that is made on a table-top plancha or flat-top grill, that can be filled with a variety of crunchy vegetables, fish or meat and is usually finished off with some special mayonnaise, a spicy brown sauce and some toppings such bonito fish flakes or small crispy shrimp. Anything goes basically, as the word ‘okonomiyaki’ loosely translates ‘how you like it.’ So the emphasis is on fun, more than anything else. Given that chips are also equally joyous to eat, this could be described as a marriage made in heaven.
The chips themselves don’t get that much extra treatment, just the addition of sliced kombu, or seaweed, to add a punchy element of umami to the overall flavour. The real excitement,however, comes afterwards, when you’ve slathered all the condiments over the fries and added a healthy dose of bonito on top. Your regular salt and vinegar pots may well become redundant after trying this out.
And as always, look for King Edward or Maris Piper as your potato varieties for this dish. They really do make the best chips.