Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake, made of flour,egg, toppings and sauces. Common toppings include pork and seafood. It’s a casual, inexpensive meal that goes especially well with beer. There are two major kinds, Osaka style and Hiroshima style. I’ve had Osaka style many times but never the Hiroshima variant. My first visit to Hiroshima was the perfect opportunity.
Okonomimura is a four story food hall featuring 25 separately run food stalls, serving Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki. I used my GPS and smartphone to find this place, navigating though the Nagarekawa entertainment district. It took a little extra time to find, within this densely packed area, but it was worth it. I saw this neon sign, and realized that I finally found it.
I got there fairy late, after my evening photography at Miyajima and some stalls where closed. However, there were still places to choose from. I didn’t do much planning and didn’t know if a particular establishment is better than the other. I basically looked for a place with customers but with open seats and an English menu.
I did take snaps of several food stalls, just to document the flavor of the place. All looked about the same size and featured a large griddle and bar stools surrounding it. With Okonomiyaki, they make the pancake in front of you and you can eat it hot, right off the cooking surface.
This is the place I end up selecting. There were a few customers to the left and two or three open stools my side.
Here’s the cook making my meal. The major difference between the Hiroshima and Osaka style, are the noodles. Osaka version is a solid, denser pancake with no noodles in the middle — it’s heavier and more filling. I wasn’t very hungry and the lighter Hiroshima style worked out perfectly.
Finally, this food stall may win the prize for the visually busiest and gaudiest.
Each place has their own character, as you can tell. More importantly, I’m sure each owner/cook imparts their own personality. No doubt, if I lived there, I would find my favorite place. But my semi-random selection was satisfying. I only went once, so I have no idea how different each store’s Okonomiyaki tastes.
There are places with English menus and perhaps other languages too. Highly recommended if you are ever in Hiroshima.
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