A few days ago, I joined the okonomiyaki party at Tadaima Japan Shinjuku Ryokan with my friend David from Belgium.
Okonomiyaki is a popular Japanese dish. It is a kind of big salty pancake in which you can put whatever you like – its name means ‘cook what you like’. The base is flour, water, eggs and cabbage. For the rest, your only limit is your imagination!
We were welcomed by our host Miki in the lounge of the Tadaima Ryokan, a small but cozy place furnished with antiques. She explained there are mainly two kinds of okonomiyaki: the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki made with noodles and less flour; and the Osaka style made only with flour. Miki then guided us through the making of two different Osaka style okonomiyaki.
We decided to make a ‘classic’ one topped with pork meat and another one without meat but plenty of cheese on top instead. Making okonomiyaki is surprisingly easy! First, we mixed the ingredients for the base in a big bowl. It was fun for me to mix it with cooking chopsticks, Japanese style, instead of the big spoon I am used to.
Cooking on the big electric griddle was definitely the most fun part. We all happily chatted together and shared our experience of Japan while anxiously waiting for the right moment to flip the okonomiyaki. It smelled so good it made our stomachs growl, and finally we indulged ourselves in putting plenty of okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise on top!
Making okonomiyaki was not as hard as it seemed, and it was a lot of fun to make together. The price felt reasonable for the amount of time we spent, and the quantity was enough to feel full. Bonus: before we left Miki gave us the recipe, so we can make okonomiyaki at home again.