The Great Flavor of Shobarayaki : Who’d have Thought Rice Would Go This Well with Ponzu?!

“Hello, I’m Nishida from Komeponzu!”
“And I’m Fukumitsu from Komeponzu!”

Believe it or not, this is the first time for local comedians to appear on Setouchi Finder… or maybe it isn’t J. Mr. Nishida (left) and Mr. Fukumitsu are members of Shobarayaki Project Komeponzu (pet named: Komeponzu), a citizens group from Shobara city in northern Hiroshima prefecture that is dedicated to revitalizing their city.

Shobarayaki is a type of okonomiyaki that is rumored to be remarkably different even among the regions numerous okonomiyaki variations.

 

This happy duo volunteered their guide services saying, “If it’s about Shobarayaki, just leave it to us!!”

 

We visited an okonomiyaki restaurant called Kobayashi that has many fans even outside the prefecture. We decided to try the restaurant’s much-loved “Shobarayaki Special”.

A big heap of fresh cabbage harvested locally! (This is a portion for one.) The cabbages grown in the chilly Shobara area are deliciously sweet.

What? rice?! That’s right, this is the biggest characteristic of Shobarayaki!

 

In order to revitalize their city, the local okonomiyaki restaurants and the youth division of a corporate association (of which Mr. Nishida was president at the time) among other organizations within Shobara city, researched the various types of okonomiyaki, and this is how the idea of using rice instead of noodles for Shobara’s specialty came up.

 

The seasonings used differ according to the restaurant. With kimuchi as one of the ingredients, the okonomiyaki at Kobayashi has a lovely spicy finish.

It’s ready!! Another surprise is this mountain of green onions strategically placed on top! However, the main thing to pay attention to here is the sauce. In order to bring out the sweetness of the rice, they use a ponzu-based sauce. (Ponzu is made from citrus juice and soy sauce.)

 

I see, so the origins of the name Komeponzu lay in the combination of rice (‘kome’ = rice in Japanese) and ponzu♪

Well, then, without further ado, let’s dig in.

 

It’s really deliciooous!! The combination of rice and ponzu is spot on! Restaurant Kobayashi’s special sauce is refreshing yet has a kick to it; the flavor is close to the sauce used for yakiniku (grilled meat). You could just keep on eating and eating…!

“I love making the customer’s happy, so I can’t help but enjoy my work,” says Ms. Kobayashi, the shop manager, with a big smile.

 

Made with local ingredients with local people in mind, her big smile is the best seasoning to go with any okonomiyaki.

The northern part of Hiroshima is abundant with the blessings of the land… The seaside is great, but so is the mountainside!

 

Come visit Shobara city and discover some of the hidden charms of Hiroshima.

Okonomiyaki Kobayashi

Address: 2-18-6 Nishihonmachi, Shobara city, Hiroshima prefecture
Open: 10.30-19.00 (Last orders 18.00)
Closed: Mondays (If Monday is a national holiday, closed on Tuesday)
Tel: 0824-72-7825
Homepage: http://shobara-yaki.jimdo.com/ (Japanese)

*Check for information on Shobarayaki shops within the site.
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Izumi Furukawa

 

 

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Izumi Furukawa

Izumi Furukawa

Izumi Furukawa Hello. My name is Izumi Furukawa and I was born in Kagawa Prefecture. Before getting married in 2012, I wrote for various magazine companies and Internet based media organizations in Tokyo. After marrying, I moved to Hiroshima and am now raising my child as well as writing stories about my fascination with this area through Setouchi Finder. Most of the articles I write are about places I visit on weekends with my family. My favorite driving course is Route 375 from Saijyo to the Miyoshi Area, and my favorite food from the Hiroshima area is Anagomeshi (from Miyajima)!!

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