When talking about okonomiyaki, people usually imagine the Kansai or Hiroshima style versions. However, plenty of other regional okonomiyaki styles exist, too.
Mitsuhamayaki, the soulfood of Mitsuhama, Matsuyama city, is one of them.
Out of the 20 something restaurants in the area that sell Mitsuhamayaki, we visited Miyoshi (Mitsu branch store).
As it has remained unchanged since the day it opened, the store’s appearance has the air of history that brings with it a feeling of safety almost as if you’d visited numerous times over the years. As you go through the noren-curtain, you’re instantly faced with the savory smell of sauce!
Dishes include either nikutama (i.e. meat) daitsuke udon or soba noodles. The daitsuke refers to the “skin” that in Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is made by spreading a thin layer of batter made with water and wheat flour.
It’s interesting to see how things are named differently according to the region, isn’t it?
Firstly, mackerel powder is sprinkled on the soba noodles before they’re quickly fried. Apparently, adding mackerel powder to everything is characteristic of Miyoshi’s Mitsuhamayaki.
Then cabbage, fishcakes, and plenty of (slightly sour) sauce are added, and the mixture continues to be fried.
The soba is then put on the batter and topped with plenty of cabbage, beef tallow and pork. And then some more batter is poured on top. Giving a rich flavor and fragrance to the dish, the special characteristic of Mitsuhamayaki is the addition of beef tallow. Lastly, the mixture is flipped on top of an egg that has been fried on the hot plate, and the dish is finished.
Although I had trouble choosing between udon and soba noodles, I finally picked udon – it was chewy and filling.
By the way, this kind of daitsuke only exists here in Mitsuhama district; the other areas of Ehime prefecture apparently serve Kansai style okonomiyaki!
Actually, I’ve heard that people wonder whether Mitsuhamayaki is the origin of Hiroshima style okonomiyaki. When I asked at the store, I was told, “I heard some fisherman say something like that a long time ago, but I don’t really know-“.
We didn’t really get a definitive answer, but both Mitsuhamayaki and Hiroshima style okonomiyaki were developed separately in accordance with their respective local characteristics. If this has made you curious, how about trying Mitsuhamayaki for yourself?
Okonomiyaki Miyoshi Mitsu Branch
Address: Ehime Prefecture, Matsuyama city, Sumiyoshi 2-4-3
Closed: Open every day
Access: 15-minutes walk from Mitsu station
> A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
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