For locals and tourists alike, okonomiyaki is one of Japan’s most popular cuisines, best enjoyed in company of others. The name okonomiyaki means “cooked the way you like it,” and you can find different local styles all over Japan. A classic savoury wheat-flour pancake usually includes a mix of seafood like prawns and octopus, thinly-sliced pork, and shredded cabbage. It is served piping hot right off the griddle, topped with bonito flakes, savoury-sweet brown okonomiyaki sauce, and mayonnaise. Modern versions may also include toppings like cheese.
Osaka is famous for its Kansai-style okonomiyaki, while Hiroshima has a slightly different version. The Kansai-style is the most common version found across Japan, where everything is mixed into the batter at the start, and served up as a single, big pancake. The Hiroshima-style is built slowly, layer by layer, and is distinguished by its extra ingredients: yakisoba noodles and fried egg which is placed on top.
At Osaka-style okonomiyaki restaurants, diners cook and serve their own okonomiyaki on a griddle which is placed in the middle of the table, using the spatulas provided to flip and cut the pancake. At a Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki restaurant, the dish is prepared by chefs and then served to the patrons.
To try your hand at cooking your own Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, head to OKOSTA Okonomiyaki Cooking Studio near Hiroshima Station which is run by Otafuku Sauce Co., Ltd., a popular brand of okonomiyaki sauce. Here you can learn how to cook the classic Hiroshima okonomiyaki with special toppings like tomato & cheese or Hiroshima produced vegetables, or prepare it in vegetarian or halal versions. You can also opt to make this experience into a dinner package which includes free flow drinks and other Hiroshima specialties such as oysters and beef.
OKOSTA Okonomiyaki Cooking Studio
Address: ekie building, 1-2 Matsubara-cho Minami-ku, Hiroshima Prefecture 732-0822
Operating hours: 11am-8pm