Dec 02, 2018 Attraction

A Light-Hearted Okonomiyaki Experience in OKOSTA ! Vegetarian and Muslim-Friendly

#Attraction ,#Culture ,#Eat&Drink ,#Halal ,#Hiroshima Local Food ,#Vegetarian

At the mention of Hiroshima’s soul food, okonomiyaki i.e. a savory pancake with various ingredients would definitely come to mind.

Since this is a must-have dish when traveling in Hiroshima, why not take the opportunity to do it yourself instead? Okonomiyaki sauce manufacturer Otafuku Sauce Co., Ltd. opened this place named OKOSTA at the north exit of Hiroshima Station in October 2018 where visitors can experience how to make an okonomiyaki themselves.
OKOSTA is a place where you can cook and enjoy freshly-made okonomiyaki using the spatula all by yourself.
In order to cater to varying needs by tourists from overseas, there are also vegetarian and Muslim-friendly options available here. This time, I will be introducing how the okonomiyaki-cooking experience is like and what’s so appealing about OKOSTA!

4 Reasons Why You Should Go to OKOSTA

Since you are already in Hiroshima, you should definitely head to OKOSTA for a unique okonomiyaki experience. Here are 4 reasons why this is the place to go.

Excellent Location Next to Hiroshima Station

OKOSTA is situated at the north exit of Hiroshima Station so you will be able to find this easily once you head towards the correct exit and follow the signage. You should keep a lookout for this huge signboard located opposite the entrance of Sheraton Hotel. Being able to reach here without the need for any further transfers from Hiroshima Station is definitely a plus-point.

Feel Free to Join at the Last-minute When You Suddenly Have Some Free Time

Generally, for okonomiyaki-cooking experience sessions, you will need to reserve in advance via the Internet or phone. However, you can join in the sessions here anytime as long as there are available slots.  If there are unused griddles and staff members around to conduct the sessions, you will be able to participate without any prior reservations.

This is ideal for those who have some time on hand until their next Shinkansen trip or find themselves with some extra time due to a last-minute change in plans. In addition, as aprons and paper hats will be provided for the experience session, you can come and join the session without preparing or bringing along anything.

Short Session Which Fits Well into Your Schedule Easily

The okonomiyaki experience takes about 1 hour to 1.5 hours which includes the time for eating your creation. As the skillful staff members here can provide assistance readily, you will be able to join these short sessions. There may be staff members who can interact with you in English.

Group Session is Also Available

The okonomiyaki experience allows up to 10 people to use each griddle at the same time. This allows everyone to cook their okonomiyaki at the same time.  For children in the first to fourth year of elementary school, they can also participate in the session as long as each child is accompanied by one adult. As there are 4 huge griddles here, the facility can host as many as 40 people for each session!

Attempting to Make Okonomiyaki!

From now on, I will be writing about my first okonomiyaki cooking experience as well as introduce the vegetarian and Muslim-friendly meal courses available at OKOSTA.

Experience How a Professional Works by Using the Huge Griddle

The griddles used for the experience session is just like what the professionals use at restaurants. You will be able to try cooking your okonomiyaki on the low and high heat portions of the griddles.

The first hundle is making the batter circle!

The beautiful batter has to be as thin as a crepe with an even thickness. A key characteristic of the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is this batter which acts as the lid on the ingredients inside the okonomiyaki after it is flipped over. You should aim to make a thin and round batter which is about 20cm wide. The lecturer’s advice – “Once you pour the batter onto the griddles, use the ladle to make a circle by turning it around 4 to 5 times so that the center is transparent and that the batter is gradually spread outwards.”

“Kasaneyaki”-Another Name of Hiroshima-Style Okonomiyaki

Kasaneyaki is an another name of Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki where various ingredients and vegetables are placed on top of the thin batter instead of being mixed with it. The usual ingredients you can find in a layered okonomiyaki include cabbage, tempura crisps, green onions, bean sprouts, pork, yakisoba noodles and egg.

While cooking the okonomiyaki, it is important to steam the cabbage until its sweetness is drawn out while the bean sprouts spread out like a net prevents the okonomiyaki from losing it shape. As such, there is a lot of knowledge which you can learn about how to arrange and cook the ingredients in an okonomiyaki even though it may not appear as a conscious thing to do for most people.

Shrimps and Squid Used in the Muslim-Friendly Version Of Okonomiyaki

The process is about the same for a Muslim-friendly okonomiyaki so the only differences are with the ingredients and seasoning used. Instead of pork, shrimps and squid are used in this version.

The Best Part of Cooking Okonomiyaki is the Moment of Flipping It!

What determines whether an okonomiyaki experience will be fun is the moment when you flip it on the griddle. I was worried over whether I could turn over the okonomiyaki which was stacked high with various ingredients. Although it may look difficult, I was able to give it a shot after being taught the secret to using the spatula skillfully. It was a very gratifying moment when I succeeded even though I also felt nervous about it.

Adding the Specially-Ordered Yakisoba Noodles and Eggs and We Almost Done!

After the vegetables and ingredients had been cooked, the finishing touch would be adding specially-ordered yakisoba noodles used exclusively at OKOSTA and eggs.

Once everything had been cooked well, flip the okonomiyaki again! Pour the Halal-certified sauce on the okonomiyaki!

I was very satisfied with the end result despite my first attempt at doing this.

Vegetarian Okonomiyaki Using Soybean Meat!

The vegetarian okonomiyaki offered at OKOSTA uses soybean meat instead of pork and a sauce which does not contain any ingredient made from meat or fish.

The Muslim-friendly okonomiyaki uses Halal-certified sauces. Otafuku Sauce’s factory in Malaysia uses Halal-certified ingredients to make this sauce. In addition, this okonomiyaki substitutes other ingredients for a fish powder and the soup stock that is to be used loosen cooked noodles for those with dietary restrictions. You can still join the experience session with peace of mind. There is a lot of effort made to ensure that more people can enjoy okonomiyaki regardless of their dietary preferences or restrictions.

Create a Special Memory of Hiroshima by Trying to Make the Okonomiyaki

You will find a lot of joy in just 1 to 1.5 hours by participating in this okonomiyaki-cooking session. Through food, you will be able to enjoy your trip even more as you can learn more about the place’s culture at the same time. Besides, the experience is even more memorable since you are cooking the okonomiyaki yourself. OKOSTA is near to the station and allows you to pop by easily without the need to make prior reservations, so would you like to create some special memories of Hiroshima by coming here?

 

OKOSTA
Address 1-2, Matsubara-cho, Minami-ku, Hiroshima-shi
ekie DINING TERRACE (map)
Closest Station JR Hiroshima Station
Open 10:00am – 10:00pm
Please check the experience session timings on the website.
Website Official Website