Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki

Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki_1 Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki_2

It is not so rare to see foreign tourists sitting in front of a table with a built-in hot plate and a mouthful of hot Okonomiyaki- a savory Japanese style pancake. In fact, Okonomiyaki is one of the most popular Japanese dishes for overseas visitors. The main ingredients are very simple- cabbage and flour. But why does Okonomiyaki taste so yummy??!

Okonomiyaki is indeed a national dish for the Japanese. The recipes vary from region to region.  There are two main styles of Okonomiyaki:  Osaka style and Hiroshima style.

The Osaka style uses a variety of ingredients, including thinly shredded cabbage, flour, eggs, etc., which are mixed up into one batter. The wealth of foodstuffs makes Osaka Okonomiyaki quite thick.  Adding minced Yamaimo (Japanese mountain yam) to the batter gives it fluffiness to lighten this impression. Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki contrast with this style, and are more similar to French crepes. First, spread a semi-liquid mixture of flour and water thinly on a hot plate. Then add Soba or Udon noodles, vegetable and meat. It is spectacular to watch each ingredient being added in layers very quickly by a specialized chef.  We get very hungry just by watching it!

Okonomiyaki was really easy to make, and was initially a children’s snack, but as it became popular amongst all citizens, the adding of more elaborate ingredients was developed.  Thin pork is the most common meat used, but squid, shrimp and sometimes oyster can be added as well. Hiroshima is also famous for oysters. Mochi (sweet rice cake), cheese, and Mentaiko (the marinated roe of cod), etc. can be used as toppings. The name Okonomiyaki is derived from the word “Okonomi”, which means “whatever you like”, so you can change things up to make your Okonomiyaki however you want it. On your next visit to the restaurant, please feel free to ask for anything you want to be added to your special Okonomiyaki!


Photo by Hiroshima Prefecture

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