Okonomiyaki savoury stuffed pancakes – a ‘must-try’ food in Japan

Savoury Japanese pancakes stuffed with cabbage, grilled as you like it

These cabbage-based savoury pancakes can be stuffed with anything you like, and there are regional variations. This post looks at two types of okonomi-yaki (yaki means grill) that we ate in Hiroshima and Osaka. If you haven’t tried them before, they’re an absolute must try in Japan. It’s not just the eating, it’s the whole experience of watching them being created on a grill in front of you, through to the final touches – sticky sauce topping and a sprinkling of nori (seaweed) or katsuobushi (bonito flakes, or dancing tuna flakes).

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Hiroshima-yaki
Okonomi-mura, a Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki food theme park at 5-13 Shintenchi in Naka-ku, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.
LardButty rating: 3.5/5

We visited Okonomi-mura (“Okonomiyaki Village”) an okonomiyaki food theme park in Hiroshima, in the early hours of 23 December.  There are 25 food stalls on three floors, and most of the stalls have seating for about 10 people around the grill. Even at this time of night, they were all pretty busy.

We found two empty stools and chose some saké and pancakes off the menu (it contained some English translations, and there was a bit of pointing and smiling involved).

With Hiroshima-yaki, ingredients are layered rather than mixed together – see video:

oki for lardbutty
Preparing okonomiyaki at Okonomi-mura, Hiroshima – 6 second timelapse

And they’re stuffed with noodles (yakisoba or uden) rather than rice. So we tried one of each:

– mixed seafood special with udon noodles (below left)
– double pork double egg with yakisoba noodles (below right)

It’s a meal in itself, containing protein, carbs and loadsa veggies. At Okonomi-mura, they use their own type of sticky okonomiyaki sauce, specially created by Sun Foods. The sauce really finishes it off. These pancakes are sprinkled with nori (seaweed) and sesame seeds too. Yum.

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Hiroshima Okonomiyaki containing noodles – mixed seafood/udon (left), double pork/yakisoba (right)

More photos here>>>

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Osaka-yaki
Kiji restaurant at 1-1-90 Oyodonaka, Kita-ku | Umeda Sky Bldg. B1F Takimi Koji, Osaka 531-0076
LardButty rating: 5/5

Currently rated 3rd of all the restaurants in Osaka on Tripadvisor, Kiji restaurant in the basement of Umeda Sky Building is well worth a visit.

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At Kiji restaurant in Umeda Sky Building basement – Christmas dinner

We ate here after visiting the beautiful Himeji Castle and grounds on 25th December. It was the middle of the afternoon and we waited in a seated queue by the door for about ten minutes.

The restaurant is quite shabby-looking with walls covered in messages, memorabilia and paper currency from all over the world, along with Tripadvisor (and other) certificates of excellence. Here, we were first introduced to the highly practical Japanese storage benches, where your seat is a wooden box with a lid in which you can store your bags, coats, and umbrellas, and keep the limited floor space clear.

Once seated and storage sorted, we ordered two cold Suntory ‘the malts’ beers (a nice, refreshing malty lager, as the name suggests) and two okonomiyakis – K chose mixed meat and I chose a pork (bacon) + seafood.

Here in Osaka, the shredded cabbage, mixed veggies and protein were all mixed up (rather than layered). And contained rice (rather than noodles). And coated in a gorgeous sticky brown okonomiyaki sauce. Double yum! Ignoring the slightly shabby surroundings, these pancakes get 5/5 for taste.

20161225_Kiji Osaka okonomiyaki pancakes
Osaka-yaki at Kiji – bacon + seafood and a mixed meat okonomiyaki

More photos here>>>

Two beers and two pancakes totalled 3,690 yen (about £25.00).

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Christmas dinner bill @ 3,690 yen

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