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The Okonomiyaki

By Nahoko Sato |

Okonomiyaki is a famous Japanese-style pancake/crepe. Try the Kansai-style and Hiroshima-style and taste variety!



Okonomiyaki is a Japanese-style crepe/pancake whose name, okonomi, means “whatever you like” or “whatever you want”. As you can easily imagine, the great thing about this tasty dish is that you can complement it with all your favorite ingredients. Today, allow DINKtravelers to introduce you to this delish pancake that is super popular in two different regions: Kansai and Hiroshima.


Its origins date back to the Aduchi-Momoyama era (1573-1603). Sen no Rikyu, master of the tea ceremony, served Fu no yaki, a simple baked confectionery. The batter was made with flour and water, a mixture that was then baked in very thin layers somewhat similar to a crepe. Finally, it was rolled up with miso.

As time went by, Fu no yaki changed to Yoshoku yaki, which was sold at stalls and mom-and-pop candy stores during the Meiji era. This second version represented the roots of Kansai okonomiyaki. This food is usually prepared with egg, flour, water, cabbage, yam, and pork or seafood, although there are other varieties. Our recommendation: try the orthodox menu –pork okonomiyaki… it’s simple, traditional and delicious. Other options include mochi (rice cake) & cheese, pork & kimchi (Korean pickle) and tomato & cheese.


Preparing it is very simple. Chefs just mix all ingredients and fry them on a hot steel plate. Actually, some restaurants have tables with a hot steel plate that allows you to watch the process of cooking. Before trying them, don’t forget to add Worcestershire-like sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito slices and nori –seaweed powder. Beauty tip: Nori can get stuck between your teeth, so check before smiling!

Hiroshima okonomiyaki also comes from Fu no yaki but it changed to a different form that is Issen Yoshoku. The Sen was a type of currency and Issen Yoshiku cost 1 sen (0.01yen) during the Meiji era, so that’s where its name comes from. Its major difference with the Kansai version is that this one includes yakisoba (stir-fried soba noodles) and has a different cooking process.


First, chefs bake the batter as described above. Second, they put sliced cabbage, bean sprouts and pork on the batter and cook it through. Then they turn it over with a spatula to cook it evenly. In the meantime, they fry yakisoba and serve it on the okonomiyaki. Next, they crack an egg and fry it in the same shape as the crepe. After serving the okonomiyaki on top, it’s ready to eat! Don’t forget to add the classic concentrated vegetables and fruits sauce on top. They’re the key to its addictive flavor!

Compared to Kansai okonomiyaki, Hiroshima okonomiyaki uses much less flour. That’s because okonomiyaki became popular after World War II, a time when flour was very precious and expensive.

Now, it’s time to vote! Try both versions and send us your comments about your favorite.