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Hiroshima Okonomiyaki – Try A Japanese Soul Food

Okonomiyaki is one of my favourite foods in Japan and I always eat as much as I can when visiting, partly because I have never really found a good one outside of Japan.

It’s a savoury Japanese pancake and comes mostly from the Hiroshima and the Osaka regions, although it’s available across the country. I spent a month in Osaka, which is one of my favourite cities in Japan, but I have to say that the best okonomiyaki I had was in Hiroshima.

It’s regarded as a Japanese soul food and is delicious.


Hiroshima Okonomiyaki

The name okonomiyaki basically means “as you like it on the grill”, and it is a very popular street food dish and also inside big food courts.


Inside an okonomiyaki eatery.
Inside an okonomiyaki eatery.

The first thing you need to know is that there are many different varieties of okonomiyaki out there. I visited a famous okonomiyaki building in Hiroshima called okonomimura that has three floors of around 25 different eateries.

Each of those eateries specialises in its own version.

You sit around a large grill with other customers and place your order of what you want (or in my case just point to the person’s food next to me as I couldn’t read the menu), and then watch them cook it up from scratch.

The chefs are masters at their trade, cooking many dishes at a time.

The noodles are cooked on the right.
The noodles are fried on the right.

They start with frying up noodles, cabbage and some batter, which are then layered on top of each other.

Next, they add some pork and vegetables, or other toppings if you want, such as squid and octopus.

Adding the layers of pork.
Adding the layers of pork.

At this point, they are left for a while for all the ingredients to cook together before some eggs are fried up and placed on top.

Eggs are fried to be put on top.
Eggs are fried to be put on top.

Now a layer of sweet tasty sauce is spread over it all (kind of soy tasting but sweeter)

.

Now the sauce.
Now the sauce.

Then some final touches, and you have the scrumptious finished dish, ready to be devoured.

Part of the fun with this whole eating experience isn’t just the sitting around watching the whole process, but also the social ambience that goes along with it.

You get to eat it on the grill with a small metal spatula.

Eating off the grill.
Eating off the grill.

Okonomiyaki Recipe

If you want to give it a go at making this at home for yourself this is a recipe you can try out.

Ingredients:

Batter:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup dashi (Japanese soup stock) or water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Filling:

  • 2 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced pork belly or bacon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup seafood (shrimp or squid), cut into bite-sized pieces (optional)
  • 1/4 cup tenkasu (tempura scraps) (optional)

Toppings:

  • Okonomiyaki sauce (or a mixture of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup)
  • Japanese mayonnaise
  • Aonori (dried seaweed flakes)
  • Katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
  • Pickled ginger (beni shoga) (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Batter:
    • In a large bowl, mix the flour, dashi (or water), eggs, salt, and baking powder until well combined and smooth.
  2. Prepare the Filling:
    • Add the chopped cabbage, green onions, and any additional fillings (pork belly, seafood, tenkasu) into the batter. Mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  3. Cooking:
    • Heat a large non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat and lightly oil it.
    • Pour a portion of the batter mixture onto the skillet, spreading it out to form a pancake about 1/2 inch thick and 6-8 inches in diameter.
    • If using pork belly, place slices on top of the pancake.
    • Cook for about 4-5 minutes on one side, until the bottom is golden brown and the edges start to set. Flip the pancake carefully using a spatula.
    • Cook the other side for another 4-5 minutes, until the pancake is cooked through and golden brown.
  4. Toppings:
    • Transfer the cooked Okonomiyaki to a plate.
    • Drizzle Okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise in a zigzag pattern over the top.
    • Sprinkle with aonori and katsuobushi.
    • Add pickled ginger if desired.
  5. Serve:
    • Cut into wedges and serve hot.

Enjoy your homemade Okonomiyaki!

The book Japanese Soul Food is highly recommended for some great guides and recipes to make some Japanese soul food at home.

Share the recipe:


Hiroshima and Okonomiyaki

The Japanese and foreigners alike love this dish (although I can’t speak for everyone of course). After I first ate it I would always perk up when it was mentioned by someone else as a possible dinner.

If you ever make it to Japan someday, I hope you will then remember to try this food. If you are lucky enough there may be an okonomiyaki restaurant near you.

This is my post about a day trip from Osaka to Hiroshima that will show you what to do in Hiroshima and nearby Miyajima Island.

If you like Japanese food check out my post on 10 traditional Japanese foods you should try.


FIND PLACES TO STAY IN HIROSHIMA HERE


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6 thoughts on “Hiroshima Okonomiyaki – Try A Japanese Soul Food”

  1. Looks delicious my friend! I’ve wrestled with the idea of doing articles on food too, and I like your attitude about it – “why not?”

  2. Pingback: Osaka To Hiroshima Day Trip (+ Miyajima Island) - Backpackingman

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  4. Pingback: Tokyo or Osaka (For Travel & Living In 2021)

  5. Pingback: Awesome 2 Weeks Japan Itinerary (Plus More)

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