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Umami Mart's Oakland HQ turned one year old this last month. What a wonderful year it's been! To celebrate (as we do), we threw a big matsuri (festival) in the street -- Broadway hasn't seen anything like this! We gathered many of our food-tastic friends from San Francisco and Oakland to help make our one-year super special.

But we didn't even know how special it could turn out to be. Ryohei aka Yamahomo aka MOTO came out to surprise us for the party all the way from New York City!!! He showed up just in time to get Yoko and I dressed up in our yukata (summer kimono). But of course he had to upstage us with his top-notch style and chimney cake hair. Duhhhhh.

The matsuri began promptly at 6pm with us lookin' all summer-in-Japan -- with plenty of street eats, Kirin beer, and Kewpie dolls to raffle off.

Raffle tickets for babies and rare lemon cheesecake pocky sticks. Also Kirin and Old Taft Beer here to hydrate the party people


Takoyaki by Yataiya:



Octopus balls nom nom nom

The takoyaki (octopus balls) were a HUGE hit. The line seemed to go down the street for them.

Steve of Ippo Ramen serving up his signature bowls of salt, shoyu and miso ramen.


Steve pops up at Umami Mart every Sunday at 11:30am-3pm. Come say hi and slurrrrrp.

Lizzy of Greasebox serving her fried chicken. Yahoo!

Grease Box delicious fried chicken and pickles

After popping up all around town for the last couple of years, Lizzy recently opened her own brick-and-mortar restaurant in North Oakland. Congratulations, Lizzy!

Kaki-gori (shaved ice) by Skylite Snowballs:

Skylite Snowballs: Amazing flavored snowballs

Katie and Mary Kate were so kind to create Japan-inspired toppings and flavors just for our event. The Matcha milk with azuki beans was outta this world!

Kimchi and poached egg over rice by Peko Peko:

Peko Peko with boats of rice and kimchi

Ashley and Chris of Kronnerburger!

Chris is now aging his own beef. His awesome burger just got awesomer. Seriously the best burger I've had in a while. MellyG thinks it's the mayo.

Beer by Scott and Devin of Old Taft Brewing:

Here's the only photo I personally took all night, of our good friend Richard:

The main event of the matsuri were two sets by Emeryville Taiko. People gathered around the street  to check out the rukus (even protestors marching down Broadway with riot police).

Photo by Melissa Gordon

Emeryvill Taiko on the streets of Old Oakland

Yoko and I got to go up and drum with the crew!

Yoko and Kayoko taikoing on the streets of Oakland

I loved this, it was so much fun. Obviously, Yoko is the more rhythmically inclined one.

We had DJ Chungtech spin J-Pop for the rest of the night. There's no party without J-Pop!

Yoko and I are very lucky to be surrounded by such a warm community of fellow umami lovers. So many people showed up! For the first time we had many Umami Mart blog writers together in one room: Yoko, myself, MOTO, Erin Gleeson, CJ of Tap This (who can no longer drink beer! Sadface), Washi. We have made so many wonderful new friends through Umami Mart Oakland and look forward to meeting more people in the Bay Area, and beyond the galaxy!

Kayoko and Yoko in their kimonos

Thank you for making this past year so memorable. See you at next year's Umami Matsuri!

*All photos by Mara Cao unless otherwise noted. Top photo by Melissa Gordon.