A long-standing family tradition, it's just not summer without going to an Obon Festival.
Last weekend was our local West Los Angeles Buddhist temple's celebration and my first of the summer. With giddy anticipation, I could visualize the taste of crunchy doughnuts hot from the kettle - known as Okinawan dangos. But when we arrived, there were no dangos to be found. In its place was a sign for Blueberry Imagawayakis.
When I asked the ticket booth where the dangos were... all I got was:
"Sorry. No dangos.
Just shaved ice and blueberry imagawayakis for dessert."
But then I thought... maybe this was their way of offering up a healthier treat?
So, I tried the blueberry pancake-like imagawayaki. It was gooey in the center, just like the ones with azuki beans... just different. The filling was sweet and reminded me of jelly rather than fresh fruit. The stand also sold chocolate chipped imagawayakis, which I preferred over the blueberry.
And though these alternative festival treats were an interesting addition to the traditional food and game booths, I could not help but yearn for some of those deliciously fried dango doughnuts.
Oh well... there's always the next obon!
Listing of summer obon festivals
July 31 - August 1: Gardena Buddhist Obon
August 14 - 15: 70th Annual Nisei Week Festival