One of the more popular Japanese dishes is Okonomiyaki, which translates into “what you like grilled.” But it is also known as the Japanese pancake and offered in many restaurants around the world.
Yes, this is now famous, but do you know that there are two types in Japan?
I will introduce the history of Okonomiyaki and explain the difference in Kansai style and Hiroshima style. The rival techniques that debate who originated first to this day.
What is Okonomiyaki?
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese style pancake made from flour, cabbage, meat, and sometimes seafood, then coated with sauce, mayo, and Aonori, a dried seaweed. The pancake is cooked on a big iron plate, and people eat this as dinner. But let’s look at it a little deeper.
The history of Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki was born in Azuchimomoyama era, which is the 16th century. The origin is told to be a snack which Sen no rikyu (千利休), the great tea master, ate with tea. After some decades, it was developed as Suksoyaki (助惣焼), a Japanese one-pot meal with simmered meat, and sold in stalls.
After the Meiji era, people started to use some vegetables for Suksoyaki. Then it became current style Okonomiyaki and a main dish, not a snack.
Okay, but when did the two types emerge?
Kansai means the west part of Japan, and Hiroshima is the name of the southern prefecture. People often discuss which is better and compete with each other.
・The difference of texture
The dough of Kansai style Okonomiyaki is stickier. On the other hand, when we cook the Hiroshima kind, we mix flour with water, so it becomes smoother. When you eat it, you will feel it is very soft.
・Hiroshima style uses Noodles
The main ingredients of Kansai style Okonomiyaki are vegetables, mostly cabbage, however, Hiroshima style uses Noodle as well as vegetables, so it is more dense and filling.
・The difference in how to cook
For Kansai style Okonomiyaki, we mix all ingredient first and cook it all together on the iron pan. The dough includes the air inside so that it will be fluffy texture. When we cook Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki, we pile each ingredient; cabbage, flour, and so on, one by one. So, it will be thicker than the Kansai style at the end.
・The difference in sauce
For Kansai style, we use a bit spicy sauce, and the Hiroshima style is sweet. Hiroshima prefecture also sells a special sauce for their Okonomiyaki, and it is popular among tourists.
Furthermore, we use mayo for Kansai style Okonomiyaki. However, for Hiroshima's style, it is hardly done.
Outside of Japan, Kansai style Okonomiyaki is commonly offered while Hiroshima style is less known. But in local Japan, both are popular, and you can find them in almost every area in Japan.
You can also cook Okonomiyaki quickly in your home. Grab the recipes from our website and cook both Kansai style Okonomiyaki and Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki. See which one is your favorite!