Fuji Rock bites

Food to sink your teeth into at Fuji Rock '10

Fuji Rock bites

Photo by Uchutaishi☆Star

There’s definitely more to Fuji Rock than just the music that garners it an incredible amount of attention each year, with unique location and the organiser’s keen sense of environmental awareness among them. However, it’s also worth remembering that Fuji Rock offers a unique chance to enjoy some of the best festival food in the world.

Of its eleven designated food areas (not including the camp site area), such as the Field of Heaven area (which offers foods that tie in with the theme of the neighbouring Field of Heaven stage), the largest is the Oasis area. Each area offers a different type of food, such as cuisine from a specific country or organic foods. Just about all the food stands at Fuji Rock serve great food and provide an excellent level of service – and all for somewhere in the range of about ¥500 an item. Fuji Rock also provides festival-goers with information on what’s popular in each area and a map that’s been specifically made to show the different chow available.

This year, there will be a total of 89 food stands, and although three days won’t allow you to visit them all, if you can get to some or all of those listed below, you should be more than satisfied with the offerings you’ll find. If you’re used to attending music festivals that only offer cliché fare such as hamburgers and pizzas, then you’re in for a tasty treat at Fuji Rock Festival '10.

Five Fuji Rock favourites that you’ll have to queue for

Kinroku Eleven: ‘Ganso Echigo Mochibuta’ (Oasis area)

The queue that you’ll invariably find in the middle of the Oasis area is for this stand’s specialty – ‘Mochi Buta Kushiyaki’. Made from grilled pork so soft that it hardly seems like pork at all, these succulent kebabs should be more than enough to satisfy anyone looking for a light snack. It’s probably no exaggeration to say that just about everyone who comes to Naeba will want to sample at least one of these.

Tokoro Tengoku: ‘Tengoku Burger’ (Tokoro Tengoku area)

Queues for the incredibly popular Tengoku burger form by the riverside in front of the White Stage. Be prepared for the surprisingly large quantity of juice that flows from the burger’s large grilled-patty. Complete with a great tasting bun and plenty of crunchy vegetables, this is one burger that’s well worth the wait.

Naeba Shokudo: ‘Tororo Meshi’, ‘Tomatoes’ and ‘Cucumbers’ (Oasis area)

The Naeba Shokudo is one of the most prominent stands in the Oasis area, and their ‘Tororo Meshi’ (rice topped with grated yam) is one of the most popular lunchtime treats available. So popular in fact, that if you don’t see a queue in front of the store it probably means that they’re taking a break to grate some more yams. Other popular dishes served here include whole tomatoes and cucumbers served with salt – perfect for breakfast.

Pizzeria Sakuragumi: Pizza (Field of Heaven area)

The Field of Heaven is located about a 20-minute walk up the mountain from the entrance gate. On top of the travel time, when you find the queue here you’ll probably have to wait another 20 minutes before you’re served. It’s worth the wait, though: the pizza here, known as ‘Heaven’s Pizza’, is well worth the effort you’ll have to expend to get it, and isn’t just any other festival pizza. Baked in an iron oven, these pizzas are the real deal – soft dough, crunchy crusts and plenty of mozzarella cheese. Plus, you might even catch a glimpse of some of the performing artists in the same queue.

Asagiri Shokudo: ‘Guruguru Wiener’ (Avalon area)

As soon as you see one of these whirly wieners you’ll instantly want one. Sold at a stall named Asagiri Shokudo, operated by the organisers of a music festival named Asagiri Jam that takes place at the base of Mt Fuji each year, these unique wieners are soft on the inside, roasted to a crisp on the outside and are beyond comparison. They go great with a beer.

Six new nibbles for 2010

Luvca*naeba (Oasis area)

A stand operated by an evening café from Musashi-Koyama in Tokyo, and is opening at Fuji Rock for the first time this year – under the peculiar theme of ‘Have you had enough fish?’. Specialty items here include ‘Meguro no Sanma’ (a dish containing saury), ‘Ikayaki’ (grilled squid) and ‘Unamabushi Don’ (eel mixed with rice).

Shoryu (Oasis area)

Whether or not this stand, renowned for its particularly long and great tasting spring rolls, named ‘Sekai Ichi Nagai? Harumaki’ (which translates to, ‘Are these the longest spring rolls in the world?’) will prove to be a Fuji Rock favourite or not is anyone’s guess. Hopefully the weather will turn out, so as not to spoil the crispiness of these delightful rolls.

Okinawa Cuisine Ashibina (Oasis area)

Operated by a shop from Tokyo that specializes in Okinawan cuisine, Ashibina offer a variety of Okinawan favourites ranging from ‘Okinawa Soba’ and ‘Okinawa Yakisoba’ to awamori (an Okinawan-style sake). Hopefully, they’ll bring some of the Okinawan sunshine with them as well.

The New Otani Niigata (Oasis area)

A stand set up by a collaboration between The Hotel New Otani in Yuzawa and The Hotel Italia Ken, The New Otani Niigata offer a menu that’s been especially produced by some of their top chefs for the event, and includes dishes such as donburi (rice bowls topped with a variety of ingredients) and a range of noodle dishes.

Café Ubud (Oasis area)

Serving up authentic Balinese food prepared by a Balinese chef, Café Ubud offer noodle soups with varying degrees of spiciness, chicken wings with chili sauce and a host of other dishes that are perfect for helping you regain some lost energy.

OluOlu (Oasis area)

Made with a patty that uses a special kind of soft pork named ‘Mochi Buta’ and a bun that contains koshihikari rice produced in Uonuma, the ‘Uonuma Burger’ stands a chance of selling as well as the ‘Tengoku Burger’.

Four local favourites from Niigata and Gunma

Tanaka Kumakichi: ‘Maitake-Don’ (Oasis area)

A Fuji Rock regular that specializes in cuisine made with maitake mushrooms, Tanaka Kumakichi sells ‘Maitake-Don’ (a rice bowl topped with maitake mushrooms), that has helped popularize maitake as a Niigata specialty. This year, the stand will be adding ‘Buta-Don’ (pork rice bowl) to their Fuji Rock menu.

Ayuchaya (Oasis area)

Ayuchaya is a stall the sells grilled ayu (sweetfish), harvested from the rivers of Uonuma. After eating some of the more complicated international cuisine available, these salty fish go down a treat – especially when followed by some of Niigata’s meishu (choice rice wine).

Chuetsu Chiku Sakagura Corner (Oasis area)

One of the things Niigata is famous for is its sake (rice wine), and the Chuetsu Chiku Sakagura Corner is the perfect chance to sample some local Echigo Uonuma varieties. Plus, the stand also offers a delivery service, so if there’s one that you particularly like you can buy it here and have a bottle or two shipped to any address within Japan.

Ryokan Tanigawa: Bettei Senjyuan (External Shop area)

A stand operated by a luxury ryokan (Japanese style inn), called Tanigawa Bettei Senjyuan from Minakamimachi in Gunma Prefecture. They offer fares such as ‘Minakami Meibutsu Chigirikko’, made with suiton (flour dumplings), and a particularly tempting burger made with premium ‘Joshu Mugibuta’ (a choice variety of pork).

Five other foods not to miss

Echigo Beer (External Shop area and other locations within the festival)

Along with producing some outstanding rice wine, Niigata also produces excellent beer. Echigo Beer has a full body and a slightly bitter taste that beer lovers will enjoy. If you know where to look you can find Echigo Beer within Tokyo; however, at Fuji Rock it’s readily available on tap.

Gohei-Mochi (Oasis area)

Like the ‘Mochi Buta’ and ‘Guruguru Wiener’, ‘Gohei-Mochi’ is another skewered fare that you’ll not want to miss out on. It’s a large oval shaped piece of mochi (rice cake) covered in a special miso (savoury soybean paste) flavoured sauce. ‘Gohei-Mochi’ are something that once you’ve tried you’ll invariably want to eat again. If in doubt, go for either the ‘Shiromiso Shirogoma’ (white miso and white sesame) or the ‘Akamiso Kurogoma’ (red miso and black sesame) flavour options.

Kuro Curry (Oasis area)

Higashi-Yama Tokyo specializes in simple menu items such as ‘Zha Jiang Mian’ and ‘Bukkake-Udon’; however, one of the most eye-catching dishes they serve is a jet-black curry called ‘Kuro Curry’. The flavour of this peculiar curry is so complex that, like the reason behind its jet-black colour, it can’t easily be explained. Plus, topped with a heap of finely chopped cabbage, this particular dish is also a great source of dietary fibre.

Fruit Cocktail (Tokoro Tengoku area)

Although the fruit here sells at somewhat elevated prices, the stand’s ‘Cassis Orange’ and other fruit juice cocktails are outstanding; plus, they make an excellent alternative to beer.

Organic Coffee (Field of Heaven area)

A popular coffee shop that’s been a regular at Fuji Rock for years. If you’re after a cappuccino or a latte then you’ll need to queue up and wait; however, you can avoid the long queue here by opting for a regular coffee – which is really the best way to best appreciate its flavour anyway.

Fuji Rock Festival '10

Date: Fri July 30-Sun Aug 1
Time: 9am gates open, 11am start, 11pm end
Location: Naeba Ski Resort (Yuzawamachi, Niigata)
Performers: Muse, Roxy Music, Massive Attack, Them Crooked Vultures, John Fogerty, Atoms For Peace and about 200 more artists
Tickets: 3 day ¥39,800, 1day ¥16,800, car park pass ¥3,000 per day (sold for 2 or more persons), campsite tickets ¥3,000 (valid for festival period)
*Car park ticket pass and campsite ticket are not sold separately from entrance tickets.
Website: www.smash-uk.com/frf10/ (English)

JTB UK tour information
Special Package for Fuji Rock Festival '10
Website: www.accessjapan.co.uk/tours/2010-fujirockES04.html

By Mai Michitsuji
Translated by Brin Wilson
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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