Recently I finally had a piece of it in my mouth again. In the middle of Berlin. I wasn't in Tokyo, Osaka or Hiroshima, but in Berlin. At a weekly market in Moabit, I was offered a snack that I had eaten so often in Tokyo and elsewhere in Nippon: Okonomiyaki.
But what is Okonomiyaki?
Three ingredients are essential for the dish: cabbage, eggs and flour (or taro root). Then there are, for example, seafood, meat, cheese or even pasta. And of course mayonnaise, the Japanese seasoning sauce okonomi, seaweed and bonito flakes should not be missing. This results in an incredibly powerful umami experience in the overall mix! The dough of the Okonomiyaki is often refined with dashi, a delicious fish / kombu broth.
How is Okonomiyaki prepared?
The rich dish is prepared on a hot iron plate, usually outside, with the help of a spatula and looks like a large pancake. The ingredients and the methods of preparation are different in every region of Japan. The metropolis of Osaka in particular is known for its delicious okonomiyaki, the dish is simply an absolute must when you are already there.
Where do you get the hearty pancakes?
Okonomiyaki are an absolute festival classic in Japan. Find them on every weekly festival in Japan. But also outside of cultural events you can often find snack stands or specialized restaurants that offer Okonomiyaki.
My personal tip in Tokyo: Restaurant Hachi in Sasazuka. A small spot with very funny bosses. Here's a few impressions of it.
A little Japan nerd note
In Tokyo, strictly speaking, the pancakes are called monjayaki. The dough for this is a little more liquid before frying than with the classic Okonomiyaki. Of course, every city also has subtleties in the composition of its hearty “Japanese pizza”. For example, there are differences in whether the ingredients are fried first or added directly to the batter. No matter how, in my experience the Okonomiyaki variants are all very tasty and rich.
Simply translated, Okonomiyaki means something like: "Cook what you want." I will definitely prepare Okonmiyaki myself soon: By the way, you can find the ingredients for it with us: Okonomiyaki flour, sauce, noodles, QP kewpie mayonnaise, dashi broth and the delicious bonito flakes.
Well then, itadakimasu!