Ok, I hereby officially declare this blog a food and temple blog. Now that this is out of the way, here’s the latest culinary discovery: Okonomiyaki.

I had already seen them being prepared at the late night hanami in Osaka, but they were all made with meat – I asked.

It turns out, they are the local specialty in Hiroshima. Made on every corner. So I just hoped someone could leave out the meat.

Indeed, no problem, they make them fresh, and in a number of varieties: topped with cheese, or an omelette with shrimp, with meat or without… It makes sense: okonomi means ‘taste’ or ‘as you like’; yaki means freed or grilled.

The local variant of Hiroshima is a layered dish (Osaka mixes the ingredients…), I watched intensely as they prepared it in front of me on the teppan, the hot iron plate that serves as cooking area.

The base is a little thin crepe, on top of which comes a heap of shredded cabbage, the spices, meat, squid, octopus or shrimps.

Meanwhile they fry some soba noodles on the side, then the crepe and the cabbage come on top of that…. then they prepare an egg on the teppan and turn the whole thing over again onto the egg, and fry it some more… Got it?

They keep tossing and turning it and when it’s ready, the whole cake gets one final layer of Okonomiyaki sauce and is chopped up in handy pieces…

I had three different ones in two days, a standard one, a spicy noodle one and the last one made with udon instead of soba noodles.
All were super yummy, and a welcome change to the daily ramen I had in the last 20 days.