The Foodie Magazine has the opportunity to pioneer its way through the regions less heard back on our trip to Japan and here we came up with best places to eat while in Chugoku and the western part of Shikoku.
Japan is all about perfection on what we see and what we experience, including of course, every part of my foodie exploration during my recent trip there.
Treading a road less traveled to the Chugoku area where the famed city of Hiroshima resides and a bit to the south, heading to Ehime prefecture across the narrow sea to the Shikoku island, I was held in awe with not just the how this western part of the big Honshu island has to offer with its beautiful nature but also with the food.
From the city of Hiroshima to the heart of Ehime in Matsuyama, hereby The Foodie Magazine shares you the best places for traditional fares and seafood as the main star.
Okonomiyaki is ubiquitous in Hiroshima that it is even can be seen from the moment I put my footsteps on the city’s main train station. Everyone was seen having it for lunch or dinner and long queues are seen on many places.
Despite having the literal meaning of ‘cook as you please’, how people actually cook this Japanese pancake is actually very straightforward. In Hiroshima, after the batter has been set, the cook will then stack it on a bed of cabbages in abundance, bean sprouts, tempura crumbs and pork.
An egg is then cracked open and cooked for a moment before being topped with the okonomiyaki. Lastly, taking an advice from an old friend, I decided to instead ask for seafood as a substitute for the pork. With the special sauce topped on it and sprinkles of togarashi to whip up its spiciness, it was perhaps one of the best okonomiyaki I ever had.
At the Full Focus Building on the 6th floor, get yourself caught in a maze filled with okonomiyaki shops where people would choose their favorite shops to enjoy the slice of Hiroshima’s best with good drinks and good friends.
Full Focus Building, 10-1 Matsubara-cho, Minami-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima
ALL ABOUT OYSTERS AT KAKI-YA
The beauty of Itsukushima Shrine and its legendary torii are known worldwide and this site is not only Japan’s third most famous tourist spot, but also one of the world’s heritages.
Right in the heart of the shopping street of the island’s only town, there’s one famous restaurant where people would queue long for its grilled oysters. Kakiya is the name and arriving early before lunch saved me a good seat to enjoy the lunch. The restaurant itself has been featured in publications such as Hiroshima’s Michelin Guide and Lonely Planet Japan.
For a lunch set that consists of grilled oysters, fried breaded oysters, and oysters rice with miso shiru; it was a kingly gift that gave me power to explore this majestic island and preparing myself with the manju making class at the island’s best shop for the delicacy – Yamadaya.
Kaki-ya, 539 Miyajima-cho, Itsukushima, Hiroshima
THE FRESHEST GRILLED SEAFOOD AT YOSHIUMI IKI-IKI KAN
One of my best highlights of the journey was the decision to stop by at this rest area on Oshima island before heading to the mainland of Shikoku. With an astonishing view of the world’s longest suspension bridge of Kurushima-Kaikyo, the experience of eating freshly grilled seafood at Yoshiumi Iki-Iki Kan topped any places that I ever visited.
Yoshiumi Iki-Iki Kan has its own seafood market where customers can choose what they wish to eat and pay before grilling it. Wide selections from live fish, octopus, oysters, and cockles are available here including skewered meat, corn on the cob, and many more.
Right next door, Yoshiumi Iki-Iki Kan has prepared an alfresco dining room and prepares each customer a charcoal stove. Experience yourself the Japanese way of grilling seafood and enjoy it with a bowl of taimeshi or the sea bream rice.
Yoshiumi Iki-Iki Kan, 4530-2 Yoshiumi Chomyo, Imabari-shi, Ehime
THE TAIMESHI OF DOGO
The sea bream is everywhere to be found in Ehime prefecture and it’s like comparing it to Norway with its salmons. In many restaurants, the use of white rice is often substituted to taimeshi or a mixture of flavored rice with shredded cooked sea bream. Delicious and fulfilling, the taimeshi becomes a great company for any of Ehime’s rich lineup of cuisines.
At the Dogo Beer Bakushukan, the tavern serves wonderful cuisines of Matsuyama in addition to the city’s reputation for its beer brewery. The dinner set consists of various choices between chicken and beef, but that day I preferred Dogo Beer Bakushukan’s version of sea bream with rice as a dinner set.
The sliced raw sea bream is served upon rice and then to be mixed with raw egg. Add a bit of soy sauce on it and there you go, a dish to remember when in Matsuyama. After such a wonderful treat, don’t forget to pamper yourself on the bath next door at Dogo Onsen before calling it a night.
Dogo Beer Bakushukan, 20-13 Dogoyunomachi, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime
Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE Jan 2015 edition
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Photography by Dennie Ramon