Welcome to the A to Z Challenge, an initiative that invites bloggers to post an alphabet-themed post every day (excluding Sundays) during the month of April. As part of this challenge, I’ll be sharing some of my travel memories to known and unknown places in the hope to inspire your travel dreams.
O is for…Okonomiyaki (Japan)
Japan continues to top our favorite trips list, with Hiroshima being one of our favorite places in Japan. So rightly so, that okonomiyaki, a dish from Hiroshima, remains as one of our favorite travel meals. It’s not often I post about food in my travels. There are a handful of meals I’ve had around the world that I would travel back to eat again. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy eating when I travel, it’s just not usually the first memory that pops up for me. Okonomiyaki is an exception to that.
What is okonomiyaki you ask? It is a regional dish most common to Hiroshima and Kansai areas of Japan. It is type of healthy layered pancake/crepe of sorts. It can include cabbage, noodles, thin layers or pork or other fish and a pancake layer finished with a special sauce.
I don’t remember how I learned about this dish, but it was on my ‘must do’ list for our visit to Hiroshima. And we are so glad we made the trek across town to the Okonomimura building filled with more than 25 small open restaurants from the 2nd to 4th floors. Each restaurant/stall has seats around a teppen (flat grill) where patrons are watching their food being cooked and then eating their creations.
Each restaurant has their own take on okonomiyaki, with their own seasonings and ingredients. Since no one spoke English, we just walked down the tiny packed aisles peeking in at each of the restaurants looking for something to strike our fancy. At the place we chose, the layers were cabbage, sprouts, udon noodles, some other stuff I can’t remember, pancake/crepe layer, a fried egg and topped with Okonomiyaki sauce. My husband included a meat layer for himself, but I got mine without meat/fish. Below are some photos of the making of my okonomiyaki.
And then the next layer is added on – the pancake/crepe layer.
And the final product that I gobbled up.
In addition to eating this amazing meal (two nights in a row!), Hiroshima was an amazing city to visit. I can’t believe it’s not on more people’s Japan itinerary. I don’t know what I expected Hiroshima to look or feel like, but it exceeded all expectations. Have you ever arrived somewhere and immediately felt at home? Thats how it was for us in Hiroshima. The street cars, the modern feel of the city, the art and memorials scattered through the city, as well as the stark reminders of the effects of an atomic bomb. This city has everything a traveler would love – vibrant nightlife, restaurants, cultural and religious sites as well as a mind blowing Peace Memorial Park dedicated to remembrance and education relating to the atomic bomb.
If you are headed to Japan, Hiroshima needs to be on your itinerary!