With local specialties like fresh oysters and Hiroshima style okonomiyaki, it’s safe to say the cuisine of this city is a must-try and should be one of the top 10 things to do when visiting. From dining like a local, enjoying the region’s traditional okonomiyaki to exploring all sorts of international cuisine on offer. Hiroshima is a food lover’s paradise and there is something for everyone to enjoy. Although the city’s dining scene cannot quite rival those of Kyoto or Osaka, it’s still widely appreciated for its range of restaurants and traditional cuisine.
No trip to Hiroshima would be complete without trying delicious okonomiyaki. This is basically a savory “everything pancake” stuffed with any savory ingredients, though usually including batter, cabbage, and pork layers as standard. Okonomi-mura is rated as the best in Japan for okonomiyaki, so it’s definitely a good place to get your first taste of it. You can chat with the chefs while you wait for your okonomiyaki to sizzle away on the hot griddle. Once you actually get to tuck in you’ll soon realize it was worth the four to five-minute wait. The simple street-style of the décor allows you to focus on the great ‘Japanese Pancake’ you’re about to enjoy. This is great for the whole family and even picky as the dish is prepared right in front of you and you can also pick your favorite ingredients.
Like the famous okonomiyaki, oysters are a must-try delicacy in Hiroshima. They’ve been cultivated in Hiroshima for almost 500 years with the region accounting for over two-thirds of oyster production in Japan. The Hiroshima oysters are fairly large, about the size of a baby’s fist. Although they can be eaten raw, you’ll find these oysters at Ekohiiki are usually served cooked. One of the classic ways of enjoying oysters is when they are deep-fried but the oysters can also be grilled, smoked, pan-fried, or streamed.
We did say Hiroshima was full of international cuisines too so if you’re looking to cleanse your palate with something a little more European, Zona Italia is a great option. Zona Italia is located high on a hill overlooking Hiroshima so you’ll be able to enjoy breathtaking views of the city. river and the bay while you dine on the finest Italian cuisine. Saturdays and Sundays can get very busy here as it’s a popular spot to watch the beautiful sunsets over the city so best to visit in the week if you want to avoid the crowds. The food is classically Italian, indulge in sea urchin pasta and kiln-baked pizzas that seal in the flavor. The garlic toast is also a must-try according to the locals who frequent here.
While we’re on international cuisine in Hiroshima, a must-try and rather a rare place to eat is at an Indian restaurant, Roopali Wakakusamachi. This restaurant could probably have got by on the novelty factor alone but by many accounts, this is home to some of the finest Indian food in the whole of Japan. You’ll find the old classics such as chicken tikka masala with naan which are always a favorite, and the quality of ingredients and portion sizes are also a winner. For those on the move, it’s close to Hiroshima station so it’s the perfect place to stop at even if you only have one day in Hiroshima. It’s a perfect place for a quick bite, and many are known to make regular pilgrimages there on trips to Hiroshima.
Fancy something a little sweet? Polar Bear is a little homemade gelato shop that has a loyal following from savvy Hiroshima locals. Conveniently located in the city center, you’ll easily find this gelato shop by the stuffed polar bear sitting on a chair to indicate that they’re open for business. Polar Bear is well-known for its generous portions, which come in more than 10 different flavors every day, rotating by season. Some of the favorite flavors to look out for are chocolate chip, black sesame and melon. Gelatos are served in cones, cups, or crushed with a monaka ‘sandwich’, with an option to be complemented by a matcha green tea.
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