Having left the still mountains of Koyasan, we travelled to Hirosima – home of the Okonomiyaki.
Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake, “grilled as you like it” with a variety of ingredients; typically batter, cabbage, pork and optional items such as squid, prawns, octopus and sometimes cheese. In Hiroshima, these are layered rather than mixed and served over noodles with a fried egg ontop. Lashings of delicious okonomiyaki sauce smother the ingredients just before serving!
As this was being put together I honestly thought that it would not be very nice, however, I was very pleasantly surprised. The flavours not only worked together but the okonomiyaki sauce tied it all together with its sweet-savoury (umami) flavour.
I thoroughly enjoyed this experience – walking into a 3 story building with several Okonomiyaki Hiroshima-style restaurants on every floor. Seriously – only in Japan.
The following day we ferried it over to the Island of Miyajima, where not only did we climb to the top of Mount Misen (and down again!) and get involved in traditional festivities and celebrate with locals in a Festival of Lanterns; I also had the pleasure of eating oysters caught fresh from the bay.
The only difference with these oysters was that instead of being served fresh, these were deep fried and served over rice with an omelette on top! And as vulgar as this sounds and as huge an abomination to cook oysters generally would be, this dish was great to eat. Admittedly, anything deep fried is good!
Who would have thought that cooked oysters would be good?
The oysters were meaty and succulent and topped with the egg made for a filling, savoury, pit-stop in the middle of a very hectic day where refuelling with carbs was necessary to be able to continue on the fast paced journey that we were taking through Japan – all washed down with the ubiquitous miso soup.
After the adventure of walking down what felt like millions of steps from the top of Mount Misen to the bay of Miyajima we looked into a window where sweet treats were being made. These are called Momiji Manju – red bean maple leaf shaped pastries from Miyajima Island:
The gentleman who owned the shop, instructed his wife to serve us some green tea whilst we were trying one. I brought a box of these back to Gibraltar and were a hit with everyone I gave one to.
Onto Osaka next – the stomach of Japan!