When heading to the Osaka and Hiroshima based areas of Japan, you’ll often hear the advice that you must try Okonomiyaki.
Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake, consisting of batter (or noodles), cabbage, pork and a variety of toppings to add. It’s cooked on a hot surface, and flipped a number of times until to begins to take the shape of a pancake.
One of the traditional ingredients is otafuku sauce, which is made with meat extract. And this is fairly hard to avoid when trying to order Okonomiyaki in a traditional restaurant. You can order without pork, but generally it will still come with the sauce, which if you’re a strict vegetarian is obviously a problem.
However, if you’re visiting Hiroshima, you do have an excellent alternative. A restaurant called Nagataya Hiroshima, just stepping stones from Peace Park.
They have two menus – one traditional and one vegetarian/vegan. The veggie menu has a number of options, and varies from pescatarian to full vegan. They are careful to use different utensils for veggie dishes to avoid contamination. And they have developed their own vegetarian otafuku sauce.
Due to the nature of the preparing the dish, it is cooked on the same hot surface as meat dishes. But they cleaned it thoroughly between eat dish. For extra reassurance opt to sit at the counter where you can see it being made, which is an interesting experience in itself.
I would definitely recommend a visit to Nagataya Hiroshima. I made to sure to make a return trip, and was not disappointed!