Friday, March 20, 2015

Okonomiyaki Museum

My friend from the YMCA, Despina is Greek and is full of energy and enthusiasm.  So when I got an invitation to go with her to the Okonomiyaki Museum I happily accepted.  The museum is between Miyajima and Hiroshima.  The building is shaped like a large wooden egg and is really quite odd.

We start out in the kitchen.  There are several large stainless steal griddle tables in the room.  We brought aprons and bandanas to tie back our hair and get started.  We are stepped through the process of making Okonomiyaki.  It starts with making a thin, round crape, add shredded cabbage, green onion, some sea weed flakes, bacon, egg noodles and sauce.  It is a delicious treat and fun to make.

Yasuko-san, Despina and I holding up our spatulas that are used to eat Okonomiyaki.
After the cooking class we got a tour where we learned the history of Okonomiyaki.  Although it started long ago, the current version was adopted after WWII when Japanese were trying to figure out what to do with war rations given by Americans and Europeans containing items such as wheat flour and Worcestershire sauce.  Different regions in Japan have distinctly different styles, Hiroshima style keeps the layers distinctly separate and Osaka style is more of a scramble.  The current version that is popular has been around for about 15 years.

We were then given a tour of the factory where they make the most popular brand of Okonomiyaki sauce which is a thick, tomato, Worcestershire, sweet sauce.  After the tour we were each given a bottle of sauce (still warm from the assembly line and time stamped only a couple hours earlier that day, talk about fresh!)  a package of noodles and instructions on how to make Okonomiyaki at home.  It was a fun day with much laughing and good food.  It was certainly worth the cost of the tour and lesson (about $10) and the time on the train.

After writing this blog, I just wish Okonomiyaki was a shorter word ;-)

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