I have been to Japan several times but I have never been to Hiroshima before. I always thought it just had a grim reminder of the World War and nothing else. My brother suggested I visited Hiroshima, to have a look at the war memorial and even to check out their food culture. I was so eager to explore Hiroshima this time round. So, come follow me in my journey.
We took the tram from the city centre to the War Museum and I was surprised to find so many tourists visiting the museum. It was an eye opener for us when we walked and saw the remnants of a building that was the result of the atomic bomb destruction. We visited the muesum and it contained a wealth of knowledge of the bombing that took place in Hiroshima.
After the visit to the museum, we decided to check out Hiroshima’s shopping and food. We returned to the city centre and we had some bento lunch. I ordered the garlic pork bento and it was less than AUD$10. It tasted very home cooked and they had a generous helping of tender pork slices and tempura. There was a English Menu available. I saw the Carp T shirt in one of the gallery and I was told that that was the state baseball team.
Our hotel was only 5 mins to the train station and this made it so convenient for us to move around, shop, eat and enjoy the local sights. The shopping centre was just next door and we had plenty of options. After the entire day of shopping and a visit to a large onsen in the nearby town, it was time for dinner. One of the new friends I made previously in my trip recommended me to try out one of Hiroshima’s best local delights. It was the Hiroshima’s Okonomiyaki. He was nice enough to formally introduce me to the owner and head chef of Lopez Okonomiyaki over the phone.
With my wifi dongle and google maps, we headed to the train station to find our way to this restaurant. I had to ask some locals for directions. Thank goodness, this restaurant seems to be the locals’ favourite haunts for Okonomiyaki. Just ask for Lopez’s Okonomiyaki and many will know.
Boy! The place was packed and people were waiting to get seats. I want to be seated in front of the chef, where he would make the okonomiyaki from scratch to finish.
Lopez, the owner and head chef was so friendly and he introduced to me their famous okonomiyaki and passed me an English menu to refer to. We waited for around 30 mins and we were ushered to our seats. Lopez was telling me that their okonomiyaki was different from Osaka’s version. I ordered a Yasai + Niku + Tama (vegetable, pork and egg ) okonomiyaki and a soba + nike + tama (noodle, pork and egg) okonomiyaki plus a Kirin beer and a squid teppanyaki side dish.
We observed the chef busily making the okonomiyaki. It started off with a crepe-like thin flour dough base, with a generous topping of cabbage. It was further accentuated by acts of pressing and grilling the pancake down, final flip and top it up with the well cooked soba noodles, also dripping with their signature okonomi sauce and nori flakes. As I was waiting for my order to be prepared, my fellow patrons were all enjoying their okonomiyaki, savouring each mouth watering slice. I looked at them, felt envious and I started drooling as the Okonomiyaki looked real good.
Thankfully, the owners knew we needed some help to aid our hunger pangs. They served us the beers and the cabbage salad. The cabbage salad had ponzu and daikon added on top. Crunchy and refreshing, it is amazing how this humble vegetable has so many uses in the kitchen. Lopez’s wife prepared the tasty squid teppanyaki for us. It was tender yet savoury and the taste was heightened with the salt pepper mixture that was set before us.
Finally, our okonomiyaki arrived. The left picture is hers and the right one is mine.
She got hers with the noodles and mine without soba noodles. Her okonomiyaki with noodles was quite good and yummy. My okonomiyaki tasted good and I was just trying to adjust myself to the Hiroshima’s version. The texture was somewhat different from the Osaka’s okonomiyaki. I feel that there was a fair bit of bite due to the cabbage in the pancake and the crepe like layers make the texture totally unique.
This experience is rather good, having a great view of the chef’s culinary skills and having tasty okonoyimaki. Moreover, the okonomi sauce was simply addictive. The service over at the restaurant was excellent and swift. We were even given a brochure that explained more about the Okonomiyaki culture in Hiroshima and how it originated.
We will be visiting Osaka’s popular Okonomiyaki stores soon and would love to make a comparison. Have you tried any delicious okonomiyaki yet? If you are in Hiroshima, be sure to check out Lopez and his okonomiyaki are touted to be one of the best there.
Address: Kusunokicho, Mashinishiku, Hiroshima 733-8511, Hiroshima Prefecture
Phone Number: +81 82-232-5277