Okonomiyaki means “cook as you like,” and it’s the signature dish of Osaka. There, it’s a thick pancake batter mixed with shredded cabbage and other vegetables, grilled on the tabletop with your choice of meat, fish, vegetables, shrimp, squid, cheese and more. Then it’s typically slathered with a hearty brown Worcestershire-based sauce and decorated with mayonnaise from a squeeze bottle in a line pattern that always reminds me of Cy Twombly paintings, sprinkled with aonori seaweed. and topped with flakes of shaved bonito which wave back and forth in the steam.
Hiroshima turns the concept inside out. The pancake becomes two crepes, between which are sandwiched the other ingredients (oysters are locally popular) and sauteed noodles too. It’s hearty, satisfying and food of the people. Viva!