If you love street food, then one of the things you must try while in Japan is Okonomiyaki, basically a savoury pancake containing meat or seafood and vegetables. Japan has two main styles of okonomiyaki: one from Osaka, the other from Hiroshima. The biggest difference between the Hiroshima and Osaka style is that the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki has noodles added to the mix. In this feature, we talk about Hiroki, a relatively well known Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki restaurant in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo.
Hiroki is a nondescript establishment with an unassuming entrance, so much so that you might walk past it and not notice it at all.
One easy way to find it is by looking for a lantern like the one below.
Most of the dishes available are on the poster by the entrance, so you can make your choice before entering. This is a popular place so be ready to queue during peak hours.
The shop is small with a few tables. Most of the seaters are on the counter around the large pans where the chefs cook. Even though it’s not spacious, it doesn’t deter enthusiasts from eating here. Cozy, friendly and intimate, you can feel the warmth of traditional Japanese eateries.
We tried the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki with spring onions. The best thing about an okonomiyaki restaurant is that you can often see the chef make your dish.
First, two thin pancakes are made, followed by adding lots of cabbage and other vegetables. Once semi-cooked, the pancakes are topped on the veggies.
The chef simultaneously cooks several orders as the pan is massive.
If you add any toppings like shrimp, these will also be cooked alongside.
It usually takes about 10-15 minutes from the time of ordering for the dish to arrive.
You will be given a small steel spatula to cut the okonomiyaki on the pan into bite-sized pieces. You can move the pieces from the pan to your plate.
Since the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki comes with noodles, it is quite filling and sometimes can be too much for a person.
You can choose between a few condiments and sauces. The most popular one is the spicy okonomiyaki sauce, which is intense with a slight sweetness.
The noodles are chewy and go well with the crunchy cabbage and soft pancake.
Some customers seemed to have ordered the Special Hiroshima Okonomiyaki, which comes with a whole lot of toppings. Is your mouth watering already?
An okonomiyaki restaurant is often a perfect place to enjoy a meal for solo travelers. Stop by in Shimokitaza to enjoy this yummy treat without visiting Hiroshima.
Teppanyaki Hiroki Shimokitazawa
Address: 2-14-14 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours: 12:00 – Last Order 21:30 (as of July 2021)
Official website: http://www.teppan-hiroki.com/en.html
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