When it comes to famous food from Hiroshima, you cannot go past Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. It originated from a simple snack made from flour mixed with water, green onions and other ingredients, which was then cooked on a grill. Malnutrition was an issue after the war, and so shops selling this dish started adding cabbage, eggs, seafood and noodles as ingredients to add more nutrition. It seems this is how the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki became a meal on its own. Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is cooked in a particular way. First the batter is thinly spread in a circle on a hot grill. Then the ingredients and noodles are piled on top of it, and cooked with the heat from the grill. This crepe-style method of cooking okonomiyaki in Hiroshima is distinctively different to the Kansai version, in which the ingredients are mixed with the batter and then cooked together on the grill. Okonomimura (“Okonomiyaki Village”) in the Shintenchi area of Hiroshima City is where you will find many popular restaurants selling their own delicious version of Hiroshima’s soul food, okonomiyaki.
Okonomimura has a long history dating back to after the war, when about 50 food stalls were set up in the Shintenchi area as a part of the city’s recovery efforts. As the number of stalls selling okonomiyaki grew, the Shintenchi area started to become a lively village where people could enjoy eating okonomiyaki. Eventually, it came to be called Okonomimura. The Shintenchi area was made into a park in 1963, and the numerous food stalls there were relocated to a two-story wooden building built in front of the park. Renovations on the building began in 1992, and over the years it has been transformed into the present day four-story Okonomimura building. There are now over 20 okonomiyaki restaurants filling the second to fourth floor of the Okonomimura building. All of them have a food stall-style design, with stools arranged around a grill counter. Okonomimura is a lively place with an at-home atmosphere, where you can enjoy delicious Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki and the warm hospitality of the local people.