Saturday, March 13, 2010

Japan: Hiroshima

We only stayed in Hiroshima for a day and half, and most of our time were spent at sobering museum, but we did manage to head down to the okonomiyaki street. Okonomiyaki is Japanese savoury pancake containing...pretty much whatever you want. Okonomi means "what you like" while yaki means "grilled". The batter is usually flour, grated yam, water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage. Udon noodle seems to be a popular ingredient to be mixed in the batter along with green onion, meat, seafood, kimchi, mochi. I saw a few weird ingredients too like blue cheese.

In the okonomiyaki restaurants, each table had a built in grill. The server would bring a bowl of the raw ingredients we had ordered and we would mix and grill it ourselves. The bigger places had a large counter with bar set up where the cook prepared the dish in front of the guests.

From the bottom (batter, undo, eggs, onions/green onions, bonito)

In Hiroshima, the ingredients were layered rather than mixed together like in other parts of Japan. They used a huge amount of cabbage, which was usually on the bottom of the layers. Ingredients started out piled really high and sinked down as the cabbage softened. The order of the layers differed from restaurants to restaurants and depending what you ordered. A sauce was also offered to drilled onto and around the pancake as it cooked. It sort of tasted like gooeyer and sweeter version of Worcestershire sauce. There were also various different condiment on the side: chili powder, white pepper, mayo, ketchup, salt, soy sauce, ponzu sauce...

When the pancake was ready to be eaten, we cut it with the little spatula available to us into pizza slices and then transferred the individual pieces onto our plate.

You can also find Okonomi Yaki in Vancouver at the Modern Club on Dunbar Street

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