If you happen to visit Hiroshima, there's one thing you shouldn't miss out on your itinerary: a culinary adventure! Being rich in culture, Hiroshima offers a wide variety of cuisine ranging from seafood, cold noodles, to their own style of okonomiyaki. Get your taste buds dancing with these delicious bites.
Looking for the perfect treat in Hiroshima? Your first stop should be the well-known momiji manju. Shaped in the form of a maple (momiji) leaf, momiji manju is a signature delicacy made from soft cake filled with sweet red bean paste. Not only does it taste great, but this steamed bun has a long history that goes stretches more than 100 years, making it the most popular souvenir for those who are visiting Hiroshima. Though originally they are filled with red beans, nowadays you can find a variety of fillings to satisfy your sweet tooth such as chocolate, matcha and even cheese. You can find this sweet treat to bring home in most confectioners throughout Miyajima where they were first created.
Being one of the biggest oyster suppliers in Japan (up to 60% of the country's total oyster production) Hiroshima is definitely the place to enjoy a great oyster dish. The city offers a wide range of oysters, be it grilled, raw, marinated or baked, you name it. One popular local dish is kaki-no-dotenabe, an oyster hot pot with miso spread around the edge. Locally grown oysters are undoubtedly so popular that a grand annual oyster festival is held on Miyajima Island and has become one of the biggest festival in the prefecture.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons
Though you may have heard or even tried Japan’s okonomiyaki, Hiroshima has its own take on this Japanese pancake-pizza-omelet. The city is widely known for their own style okonomiyaki or often called hiroshimayaki. Unlike other okonomiyaki where all the ingredients are mixed together, the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is made by having it on a thin layer of batter and topped with a generous amount of cabbage on yakisoba noodle and all sorts of toppings such as pork, cheese, and oysters. Popular places to get a bite of this savoury treat are Okonomimura and around Hiroshima station where customers are mostly seated in counters facing the chef as they prepare the dish on a hot, sizzling griddle. Though long lines are mostly visible outside the counters, once you have a bite, it is definitely worth the wait.
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Other seafood items to try in Hiroshima other than oysters is anago. While you may have heard of the more preferable dish, unagi (freshwater eel), anago (saltwater eel) offers an incredibly softer and more tender texture that will melt on your first bite. It is also less oily and rich in nutrients, making it perfect for those who are health conscious. Grilled anago is usually served over rice as a local specialty which you can find in many restaurants across Miyajima.
Last but definitely not least, a visit to Hiroshima won't be complete without trying the spicy tsukemen. This bowl of cold noodle is served with hot spicy broth to dip in that comes seperately. It also comes in different levels of spiciness, ranging from level 0 up to level 20, depending on your preference. It is quite similar to the cold noodle Zaru-soba, but Hiroshima's tsukemen specialty lies in its broth. The tanginess of the soy sauce together with chops of red chilies and chili oil in its broth is what makes this dish a true bowl of warmth and happiness that you will not forget.
Photo by Seapedia on Wikimedia Commons