I have a fascination with Japan and it’s a travel destination that I hope to one day visit. I won’t deny it that the biggest factor is Hello Kitty, my favorite Japanese kitty of all time. ;) It’s my dream to one day take that Hello Kitty plane to Japan, go to Sanrio Puroland, buy Japan Hello Kitty exclusives and eat delicious Japanese cuisine. Ahh yes, Japanese cuisine, another reason why I would love to go to Japan one day. For now however I am lucky to bask in Hello Kitty happiness here in California and eat a different places that specialize in Japanese cuisine.
Just recently I tried out a great Japanese restaurant named Gaja Japanese Restaurant in Lomita, California. Gaja Japanese Restaurant specializes in various Japanese dishes of okonomiyaki, monjyayaki, pasta, udon and risotto.
On my trip here I got to try a variety of some of their various specialities. My meal first started off with fresh and healthy salad consisting of spinach and nice sweet dressing.
After the salad, I got to try their Chinese style pork and egg udon.
This was a huge bowl filled with soft and long udon noodles, tender strips of Chinese style pork and scrambled egg. It’s a dish that reminds me of home cooking. It has a nice broth that just gives some comfort and warmth.
On this day, I also got to try their Japanese style shimeji carbonara pasta. I’ve always been a fan of carbonara pasta and when I read they had shimeji, I was quite intrigued and excited. Shimeji is a group of mushrooms found in East Asia. I love mushrooms and found this a great addition to carbonara. Their carbonara is rich cream based dish with little strips of bacon. Their carbonara is more like a soup dish versus a pasta dish.
Last but not least I had to try their okonomiyaki. This is what Gaja Japanese Restaurant is famous for. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake. The name comes is a combo of two Japanese words, okonomi and yaki. Okonomi means “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki means “grilled” or “cooked.” Here at Gaja you have the option of making and cooking your own okonomiyaki or having them cook it for you. Since it was my first time here ever, I had them cook it for me. I decided on the pork okonomiyaki.
When my okonomiyaki came out, I was simply in awe with the huge pancake that was presented to me. It was a giant okomiyaki made out of eggs, shredded cabbage and pork. Drizzled on top was the okonomiyaki sauce, mayo and seaweed. I chose to skip the bento flakes since I am not a fish flake person.
Taste wise, it was amazing. I loved the crispy outer edges of the okomiyaki and was such a fan of the freshness of the whole pancake!
It was my first time trying this type of Japanese cuisine and I was very impressed. This restaurant introduced me to another flavor of Japan and only further inspired me to one day visit the land of the rising sun.
For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Gaja Japanese Restaurant.