Mitsuwa’s “UMAI”: Japanese Gourmet Food Festival


665 Paularino Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 557-6699
Mitsuwa’s annual UMAI festival is here and it was in full bloom at the market.  Even though it was 2:00pm on a Thursday, it was fairly packed.  Parking was hard to get also, so come early.  As for the festival, I was hoping for a lot more and was actually surprised at how few booths there were.  There were only two booths there, but multiple food offerings at both booths.  We’ll go in depth, but let’s start with what we tried first, the Takoyaki!

There was actually a line for their takoyoki, not a long wait, but there was a line.  We were both very excited, and when we got our box, we were so impressed with the presentation that came with the takoyaki!  A nice box, and a nice bag to go along with it!

The box was amazing, better presentation then anything else I’ve ever seen, however, as for the takoyaki themselves….

….eh…they were VERY SOGGY.  I’m use to having takoyaki crispy, so this was very odd.  The octopus was left whole inside as well, not chopped up, so it was very hard to chew and tough as well.  As for the seasoning, it was right on spot…not too strong, just the right amount.  It cost $6.95 for 8 pieces, which was okay I guess, but eh…I wouldn’t bother with it, it wasn’t that great, I’ve had a lot better.  We also bought Potato Apple Pie that was in this same stand.


This pie was actually pretty good.  It’s definitely something different.  It’s not overly sweet, just the right amount.  This pie was about $8.50.


This is where they were selling the beef tongue with rice…we decided to try it 🙂 It was $9.99.  Although kind of expensive for the amount we got.


The tongue was actually quite tender, or a lot more tender then I had anticipated.  It tasted like sirloin, which was a surprise.  I definitely would give it another try if they do sell this on a normal basis.


What you see above is the fish cakes that we also got.  They had a special, 2 for $4.50.  I have one word of advice, if you don’t want to dry heave, don’t get the pumpkin fish cake.  I thought it was interesting to try, but it tasted very odd to me.  The taste was something part pumpkin pie with little amounts of sugar and an oily fish cake 0_0…eh just don’t get it.  The squid fish cake was actually a lot better relative to the pumpkin one.  I guess this would be the one to get if this was your thing.

The overall impression of UMAI is that it’s not as big as we thought it was going to be, and it’s VERY EXPENSIVE.  They only take cash as well, so bring lots of cash.  For all the food we bought, we spent about $35 for everything.  It wasn’t a lot of stuff for $35 as you can see, so I guess you’re paying for the novelty of the food, which, I’m sure wasn’t very novel since I can get takoyaki somewhere else and also the mochi.  The mochi, on another note, was super expensive as well.  We’re talkin about $17 for 10 little tiny pieces.  I don’t know much about mochi, but I know I wouldn’t be paying that much money for mochi.  I guess come if you’re close by and see if there’s anything you might like, but if it requires a drive, I wouldn’t recommend it.  The festival is very small, maybe 100 ft long at best.  We pretty much took pictures of everything that was offered there and posted it below, and as you can see, it’s not a lot of stuff….so take a look and you can see for yourself if you think you want to come.  We, on the other hand, were kind of disappointed, but at least we did have some fun seeing some of the things they had to offer.  It’s just overall really pricey.  At the end of the day, its more like, “UMAI: OH MY…I’m broke” haha.











~ by thankgoditsfood on June 4, 2009.

2 Responses to “Mitsuwa’s “UMAI”: Japanese Gourmet Food Festival”

  1. I love takoyaki! Where else can you get it in So Cal?

    • Mm I know certain Genki Living sells takoyaki. Their takoyaki is like the one we had at the Mitsuwa food fair-kinda mushy…I’m not sure if that’s how takoyaki should taste haha.

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