Gourmet Foods You Should Eat in Hiroshima, in Addition to Okonomiyaki and Seafood
In Hiroshima, there are many sightseeing spots, such as Miyajima with Itsukushima Shrine, Atomic Bomb Dome, and Shimanami Kaido connecting islands floating in the Seto Inland Sea with bridges. Meanwhile, Hiroshima is well known as a place where it is possible to taste attractive local gourmet foods, with food culture peculiar to Hiroshima and foodstuffs blessed by rich bounty of the Seto Inland Sea.
Among from numerous places for Hiroshima local gourmet foods, we are introducing spots that are popular among not aliens but local people, for example, restaurants for "Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki" that is a representative of Japanese flour-made food culture, tasty "Oysters" and "Anago (sea eel)", yield amounts of which are larger than in other regions in Japan, and “Hormone (Innards) Tempura” and “Dandan noodles without soup” which have recently emerged as Hiroshima's comfort foods. Why do not you try eating local gourmet foods to experience unpretentious Hiroshima?
Okonomiyaki is a very healthy comfort food of Hiroshima, which is made by spreading batter made of water and flour on an iron plate like a crepe, putting plenty of cabbage, bean sprouts, sliced pork, noodles, eggs, etc. on the batter, and grilling them while keeping the layers of ingredients. It is also called Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, relative to Kansai-style okonomiyaki made by grilling batter mixed with ingredients. It is said that okonomiyaki began to be made in the devastated land after the World War II, ingredients of which have been enriched along with the restoration of the city. The okonomiyaki is also a taste that has been loved long not only in Hiroshima but also at shops and stalls in summer festivals all over Japan. Please be sure to try a unique way to eat it, in which you cut it into bite size pieces and carry the piece to your mouth with a tool called Hera (kote).
In Hiroshima bay in the Seto Inland Sea, there is an environment where requirements for growing delicious oysters are fulfilled, including gentle waves and flow of tides, and abundant plankton. Oysters are cultured in various regions of Japan. However, the yield amount of oysters cultivated in Hiroshima Bay is the largest in Japan, and its history is said to date back to the Muromachi Period over 400 years ago. Oysters produced in Hiroshima are characterized by being big and thick, plump texture, and rich sweetness. In shops called Kaki Goya, you can taste at reasonable price fresh shell-on oysters gilled with charcoal fire like BBQ, which is called “Hamayaki Style”, from winter to early spring when oyster comes to season.
Sea Eel (Anago)
Miyajima has been famous as a production area of Anago since the Edo period. While Hiroshima is well known as a production area of oysters, it is also said that high quality anago can be caught, as there is plentiful plankton around the "oyster rafts" to cultivate oysters, and a lot of small fish that can be food of anago dwell there. The season of anago is a rainy season in early summer called “Tsuyu”, when it rains for a long time. Anago caught at this season is called "Tsuyu Anago" and very delicious with the most fat in a year. In Miyajima, an island in the Seto Inland Sea, “Anago meshi is famous, an origin of which is said to be "fisherman's meal". Anago grilled with sweet soy source is put on rice. You can taste it, by buying a packed lunch “Ekiben” sold at special stores and stations in Miyajima.
Hormone (Innards) Tempura
Hormone Tempura is said to start by making tempura using innards that are left over after meat processing of beef and pork for the purpose of making good use of them. While tempura made by frying battered vegetables and seafood in oil is often eaten at home throughout Japan, Hormone Tempura is unique to Hiroshima. It is Hiroshima’s hidden delicious and reasonable comfort food, characterized by its spicy source. "Hormone Tempura Mamesuke" is well known as a popular restaurant of tempura of innards. It is a popular local restaurant where you can enjoy crispy texture and delicious taste of fresh innards of pure Japanese beef, which are fried with special tempura flour. Please also be sure to experience a unique style that you cut hot tempura served on a cutting board into bite size pieces with a small kitchen knife provided.
Hiroshima-style Dandan Noodles without Soup
Although a mainstream of dandan noodles in Japan is spicy ramen in plenty of soup, common ones in Sichuan province in China, the home of dandan noodles, do not have soup, and are seasoned with chili oil and Chinese pepper. In recent years, the noodles made by modifying such true dandan noodles have gained popularity as a local gourmet food in Hiroshima. One of restaurants that sparked the boom is "Chinese Noodles Kunimatsu". It provides excellent dandan noodles without soup, consisting of homemade noodle, minced pork seasoned with miso, chopped onion and Chinese pepper, with special sauce based on handmade seasonings such as chili oil, sweat bean sauce and Chinese sesame paste. It is a key point to mix the source, noodle, and ingredients thoroughly so as to make it taste better. Adding rice into remaining sauce is Hiroshima style. There are six ranks of spiciness. As a mild type is available, children can also eat the dandan noodles without anxiety.
We wish to express our heartfelt sympathy to everyone who suffered from damages caused by the heavy rain, which hit the western Japan in July 2018. If you are planning to visit Okayama and Hiroshima, please check the most updated information before your journey.