@61 days until Hiroshima Summit: Okonomiyaki

by Yoshinori Masatsuna, Staff Writer

Okonomiyaki, one of the specialties of Hiroshima loved by the people, originally started as Issen Yoshoku (One-Penny Western Food), a snack for children made of chopped Negi (scallion) and Chikuwa (a kind of fish paste shaped into a tubular form and grilled) on a crepe with sauce on it. After the war, stands to sell Issen Yoshoku appeared which used iron plates in the rubble. Later, eggs, pork, cabbage and other ingredients were added to the dish, which became popular as Okonomiyaki.

In 1952, Otafuku Sauce Co., Ltd. (Hiroshima City’s Nishi Ward) started the sale of Okonomiyaki sauce. During the golden age of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp (professional baseball team based in Hiroshima) in the 1980s, customers gathering at the restaurants near the Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium (Naka Ward) were shown on TV, making Okonomiyaki a signature food of Hiroshima. According to the 2016 Economic Census, Hiroshima prefecture has approximately 1,600 Okonomiyaki restaurants (including Yakisoba, noodles stir-fried with meat and vegetables, and Takoyaki, a ball-shaped pancake with diced octopus, restaurants), the highest number per 1,000 population in Japan.

(Originally published on March 19, 2023)