Characteristics of Hiroshima's specialty, Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki, Hiroshima's Soul Food!
Hiroshima's Okonomiyaki was born out of food shortages in the years following World War II.
Originally it was called Issen-yoshoku, or "one-coin western food," and was made with flour and green onion. Later, the addition of more vegetables and noodles resulted in today's Okonomiyaki.
Today Okonomiyaki, Hiroshima's soul food, is served in more than 800 Okoomiyaki restaurants throughout the city. That's why people think of Hiroshima as the town of Okonomiyaki.
People outside Hiroshima use the term "Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki" but to locals this sounds strange, because Okonomiyaki was born in Hiroshima. Hiroshima people won't compromise on this point.
The passion for Okonomiyaki
From childhood, the flavor of Okonomiyaki is familiar to every resident of Hiroshima. Some families make home-made Okonomiyaki.
Unlike Kansai style Okonomiyaki, in which ingredients are all mixed with flour dough, the layered ingredients of Hiroshima's Okonomiyaki allows the flavor of each ingredient to stand on its own. Hiroshima people consider their layered Okonomiyaki the only true form of the dish.
It's not too much to say that no one dislikes this local specialty, and we recommend it to people throughout Japan.
Every local has a favorite Okonomiyaki restaurant, and being addicted we can't help eating it at least two or three times a month.
There are two major brands of Okonomiyaki sauce. One is "Otafuku sauce," which is a bit sweeter, and the other is "Carp sauce" which is somewhat spicier.
Because the Hiroshima-based manufacturer of "Otafuku sauce" supports the opening of Okonomiyaki restaurants, there are more Okonomiyaki restaurants using "Otafuku sauce."
How to eat OkonomiyakiThere is no single way to eat Okonomiyaki. You can eat bite-sized pieces straight from the spatula, or put larger pieces on a plate first to eat them more elegantly with chopsticks. There are no strict rules for eating Okonomiyaki, and everyone can eat it freely. That's one of the reason that men and women of all ages enjoy Okonomiyaki.
Recommended Okonomiyaki Restaurants
Well-known Okonomiyaki Restaurant "HAZEYA" loved by locals
HOTEL PARK SIDE HIROSHIMA PEACE PARK recommends "HAZEYA" as the best Okonomiyaki restaurant. It's about a 7-minute walk from our hotel to the restaurant.
- 3-3-27 Otemachi, Nakaku, Hiroshima
- Business hours
- 11:00-14:00 / 17:00-21:00
- Sundays and national holidays
What are the characteristics of their Okonomiyaki!?
The vegetables are steamed by the moisture of the cabbage as it evaporates.
Through this process, the flavor and sweetness of the vegetables penetrates the whole Okonomiyaki, creating a delicious dish that doesn't rely only on the flavor of the sauce.
One of Okonomiyaki's ingredients is noodles! Before grilling the flavorful, carefully selected noodles, they're boiled to create a unique, chewy texture.
Another point is pouring a small amount of Okonomi sauce over the noodle before grilling!
Thinking about the balance of the Okonomiyaki's taste, the restaurant's master came up with this procedure! They serve not only Okonomiyaki but also grilled dishes to accompany alcohol. All the dishes are cheap and delicious!
Asako Kishi, a famous Japanese food critic, was also astonished by the great taste of their "Meat-stuffed shiitake mushroom."
Its welcoming atmosphere invites you to visit the restaurant alone. Our recommendation is their 1,350 yen "beer set," which comes with an appetizer, a grilled dish, Okonomiyaki and beer.
Hiroshima Okonomiyaki's Origin! "Micchan"
Hiroshima Okonomiyaki inventor Isao Ise's first Okonomiyaki restaurant. It can be considered the origin of Hiroshima Okonomiyaki.
- 6-7 Hacchobori, Nakaku, Hiroshima
- Business hours
- 11:00-15:30 / 16:30-21:00
"Micchan" has several branches. Among those branch restaurants, Isao's eldest son Mitsuo Ise is still making okonomiyaki at this restaurant. On holidays, lon lines stretch in front of his restaurant and it's well known that it takes more than an hour to get a seat.
This "Micchan" is the oldest Okonomiyaki restaurant in town. Because it's so popular, they have to serve Okonomiyaki on a plate instead of straight from the grill where it's cooked.
They use Micchan's original sauce, specially made by the Otafuku Sauce company.
It's a bit far from the HOTEL PARK SIDE, about a 20 minute walk, but this is one of Hiroshima's must-go restaurants.
"Hassho," where people line up to eat
When locals are asked "what's your favorite Okonomiyaki restaurant?," many will answer "Hassho."
The restaurant is beloved by locals, and it's common to find customers waiting in line.
- 10-6 Yagenbori, Nakaku, Hiroshima
- Business hours
- [Tue. - Sat.] 16:00-22:30
[Sundays & National holidays] 16:00-21:00
The 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of the month
When you take a look at their menu, you'll see their pride. They serve only basic Okonomiyaki with noodles (or udon noodles). These days, most Okonomiyaki restaurants offer toppings including cheese, green onion, and Kimuchi Korean picles. But Hassho sticks to the basics with samurai rigor, offering only pork, egg, and noodle Okonomiyaki.
The restaurant's location is in the middle of Yagenbori, the biggest drinking district in the Chugoku & Shikoku region. After a night of drinking, many locals end up at Hassho.
At this restaurant, Okonomiyaki is served on a hot plate. So why not try it straight from the hot plate, blowing on it, with a spatula?