Eating Oysters in Hiroshima
I realize it's on the verge of oyster season in Japan, and I should be passing through Hiroshima in a couple weeks, and am wondering where I should go for some good oysters. From a Hiroshima tourism page (linked below), I got some info about Kanawa Oyster, which I had heard about before. But I can't figure out if I can eat there relatively cheaply, or if it's at all informal, which I would prefer since I'm only stopping to check out the oysters (and probably some okonmiyaki), on my way further south towards Yamaguchi-prefecture. Any other recommendations for local Hiroshima cuisine (quick and cheap, the better) would be appreciated.
Hi Eric! First off, I have no oyster advice, but I have some (admittedly old) okonomiyaki info.
I haven't been in Hiroshima in about 15 years, so take my advice as you will, but a friend of mine who was living there at the time took me to an okonomiyaki place called Mitchan (written all in hiragana, mi, small tsu, chan) that was quite good. Looking them up on the web, it appears they have a branch in the train station, in a shopping strip called the "JR Shinkensan Meitengai". There's also a branch called the "Fukuya Ekimae-ten" that appears to be right in front of the station; looks like the address is Matsubaracho 9-1, Minami-ku. Both are open from 10am on through the evening, no break.
You know how Hiroshima-style is different, right? Just in case you don't, or anyone else reading along wants to know, Hiroshima-style doesn't have the thick batter that the Osaka style has. It's more of a thin crepe, with noodles, vegies, egg, etc. layered on top of it. I prefer this version, actually.
Are you going to Miyajima? The "meibutsu" ("famous thing") there is called momiji manju, a small maple leaf-shaped spongey-type cake (like a ningyo-yaki, not a traditional manju) traditionally filled with azuki, but now also with chocolate, custard, etc. versions. You'll find them all over Hiroshima but it's fun to try the freshly made ones you can get on Miyajima.
I just heard from my friend Eiko, who grew up in Hiroshima. She says:
"I think a place called "Takafuku" will be good. They serve the cuisine of the Inland Sea. Their Web site is at http://www.hiroshimadaisuki.com/gourmet/030619/index.html
They are in Nagarekawa are which is the major drinking district of Hiroshima. But be careful not to step on the feet of any gangsters (yakuza), even by accident. There are plenty of them in that area.
"There is also "Kakifune Kanawa" and their Web site is at http://gourmet.yahoo.co.jp/gourmet/restaurant/Chugoku_Shikoku/Chugoku_Shikoku/guide/0109/M0034000304.html
I don't think they actually move this boat, but they have their own oyster farm in Hiroshima bay. So the stuff they serve is pretty good I heard.
"Then there is Suishin, and their Web site is at ttp://www.suishin.or.jp/
My family used to go this place often when I was little. They are fine, but maybe it's less fun for someone going alone.
"If you have any other questions, please ask.
re: Bryan Harrell
Bryan, thanks for gathering this info. It's going in my file. I should add that the reason for stopping in Hiroshima is merely to transfer from the shinkansen (bullet train) to a local train, but I figured that since I'm there, I might as well look for some local delicacies while I have a few hours in the afternoon (and perhaps on my way back as well). I realize that this severely limits the potential for a great culinary experience since I don't plan on being around during the dinner/izakaya hours. If you or anyone else has additional suggestions based on these limitations, it will be tremendously appreciated.
I looked at the web site and 8,000 yen (or more!) for a dinner in a shack on a barge sounds a bit too much. Of course, I know very little about Hiroshima, having only been there a few times. Still, it looks like a tourist trap, with most of the tourists being Japanese from other parts of the country.
While Hiroshima is famous for oysters, you don't have to have them there because they are shipped all over the country, quite quickly, too. My advice is to find a nice looking izakaya, poke your head in the door and ask if they have raw oysters ("nama-gaki"). If they do, head in and have some, along with a few small dishes. You shouldn't need to spend more than 5,000 yen to get really stuffed. At this time of year, nearly every place as good raw oysters, so you don't need to go to a special "famous name" restaurant for them.
I just remembered I have a friend who is from Hiroshima, and returns there regularly. I will ask her and make another posting.