Tasting okonomiyaki

During preparations for my trip to Japan I did a lot of pre-reading about the things I wanted to see and do. I knew Japan was famous for sushi and octopus dumplings (takoyaki), so naturally that was on my culinary bucket list. But upon arrival I soon realized that each city in Japan is famous for their own variety of popular dishes. For Hiroshima, that was okonomiyaki.

After a long day exploring Hiroshima on foot, it was time for some dinner before catching the train back to Osaka.

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After looking for a place to try some Japanese-style dinner, you can imagine my excitement when we found one of the best Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki restaurants in the city!

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Hiroshima, just like Osaka, is also famous for okonomiyaki which is commonly described as a savory Japanese pancake. Okonomi literally translates to what you like while yaki translates to grilled which tells a lot about how the dish is made. Like a regular pancake (but less sweet), okonomiyaki starts with a base of batter containing flour, eggs, tempura scraps (known as tenkasu), noodles, cabbage and pork. This is cooked on a hot griddle. When both sides have been cooked, a range of toppings are added while the base is still placed on the griddle. First is the okonomiyaki sauce is added which is brushed on the bottom, followed by Japanese mayonnaise squirted out in zigzag lines. This is followed by your choice of dried bonito fish flakes (katsuobushi), garlic and cheese.

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The chosen ingredients differ from dish to dish depending on the personal preference of the person but it’s easy to see why it’s often referred to as a Japanese-style pancake or pizza!

Okonomiyaki is served all over Japan so you will be sure to find it no matter which city you’re in but it’s best to try it in either Hiroshima or Osaka. These two cities form the birthplace of this delicious dish. Each city prepares it slightly differently. Osaka-style okonomiyaki or kansai-style okonomiyaki is prepared by mixing the batter and ingredients into the bowl first before cooking the base while Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki consists of the batter only being fried as a thin crepe followed by placing the ingredients on top of the base. Yakisoba noodles are commonly added to Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki.

Life of Shal_Tasting Okonomiyaki

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The dish can be eaten in one of three ways: 1) by sitting at a counter in front of one huge griddle-like teppan and have the chefs make it in front of you 2) by sitting down at a private table with a built-in teppan and cook your own with the help of the chef or 3) having the okonomiyaki prepared in the kitchen and placed on the teppan in front of you to keep warm as you eat it.

We tried our Hiroshima style okonomiyaki at the famous Nagata-Ya restaurant located nearby the Memorial Peace Park and it was absolutely delicious! 

Over to you dear readers! Have you tried okonomiyaki? Which style did you try and which do you prefer?!

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Hi World! I'm Shal - an environmental microbiologist, writer, teacher and artist from Durban, South Africa. I've spent the last two years traveling and teaching Chemistry and English to young kids in Asia. Life of Shal was founded as a way to share travel experiences, tips and other worldly magic with you! Join me on my journey!

One thought on “Tasting okonomiyaki

  1. Looks delicious! The closest I’ve come was “okonomiyaki fries” at a local tiki bar (french fries with okonomiyaki toppings), but I would LOVE to try the real thing!

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