Hiroshima #3 – Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き)

Okonomiyaki… how to describe this delicious dish? The word means basically “cook it how you like it” and refers to a sort of pancake type thing made with different ingredients depending on, well, what you like!

Okonomiyaki is famous in Hiroshima as well as the Kansai region, especially Osaka. Each area has a different style of making it. Instead of mixing it all together like in Osaka, Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is layered, and usually with noodles on the bottom then topped with lots of chives and a sweet sauce. Part of the fun of it is making it yourself on the table in front of you, and then trying to eat it with flat spoon type things before it burns. Talk about food with an effort!

Getting Hiroshima style okonomiyaki in… Yamaguchi. Oops.

Miyazaki #6: Chicken Nanban (チキン南蛮)

Miyazaki’s 6th postcard is the popular local dish Chicken Nanban, fried chicken breast with a little vinegar and a tartare sauce topping. The exact ingredients tend to differ from eatery to eatery, so its pretty easy to find a version everybody likes. I had the chance to try the dish in Miyazaki City, and liked it a lot!

Dish and postcard

I totally got one of these pre-packedged sauces to take home, but it wasn’t very good…

There’s also lots of recipes floating around if you want to try making it yourself, without any pre-packaged stuff. My favorite Japanese recipe website, Just One Cookbook, has a recipe that I’m hoping to try soon. You can find it here, and if I end up making it I’ll report on how it was!

Akita #6: Kiritanpo (きりたんぽ)

Akita’s 6th postcard features the delicious kiritanpo, cooked rice pounded and formed onto skewers, then either grilled on a fire, or cut and added into soup like dumplings. I got the chance to try both types when I visited Akita, and really liked both. Definitely grilled and slathered with sweet miso paste was my favorite, however!

Nabe and postcard

The ingredients, including the kiritanpo

Close-up in the soup

Grilled with miso paste… yum!

A local specialty I definitely recommend!

Kumamoto #1: Spicy Lotus Root (辛子れんこん)

Anyone familiar with Japanese food knows of wasabi, the spicy but yummy paste made from a variety horseradish root ground. But wasabi isn’t the only spicy paste that is available here; the second type is called karashi and is a spicy hot mustard paste. This stuff can clear your sinuses just as quickly and effectively as wasabi, and is… dare I say it… maybe even MORE hot that wasabi! This spicy paste is stuffed into the holes of a cooked lotus root, and served as a local specialty in Kumamoto.

I tried a small piece fried like tempura and really enjoyed it, but I was cautioned ahead of time to take SMALL bites… just be careful if you do have a chance to eat it. It is yummy, but HOT!

I didn’t get a picture of the one I ate, but here’s a place selling some near Kumamoto Castle

I felt a bit bad about trying to take a picture without buying any, so it’s not a very good picture. But that’s just an excuse to go try some yourself, right?