If you are in Hiroshima, Okonomiyaki is must on your "todo" list. Okonomiyaki, often refered to as Japan's version of Pizza, is uniquely special in Hiroshima and described with much gusto by all my Japanese friends.
Mitchan is one of Hiroshima's oldest okonomiyaki restaurant with several branches around the city. We visited the JR station branch located on the first floor, among several eating joints. We were lucky to arrive before the crowd, because by 12:15, there was a long line of people queuing to get in. Although it is a local restaurant, Mitchan does carry an English menu and the staff do speak rudimentary english. The restaurant is very simply decorated with an open cooking station located to one side and tables on the other. Needless to say, the restaurant only serves okonomiyaki.
We ordered the "special" and decided to share it, as upon glancing at neighbouring tables found the portion to be quite big. However there were many Japanese men at the restaurant happily chomping down the "special portion" without any problems.
The noodles arrived piping hot and does sort of look like a pizza as it was thoughtfully sliced out into portions for you. It does have to be eaten that way in order to feel the different layers. The first bite and a whole symphony of taste and textures just explodes in your mouth. The egg noodle is nice and firm (not mushy) and comes coated in a nice smokey bbq like but slightly sweet sauce which is mixed with crunchy cabbage, a bit of pork and prawns and the unique taste of the dried squid. Every bite is a discovery of texture, crunch, ingredients and flavours as the layers unfold in your mouth. We also added the mayonnaise (placed on every table) which weirdly mellows out the taste and makes it exceedingly moreish. I have to confess we polished the plate in under 10 minutes and was the best 1000 yen spent ever.
You reallly can see why Hiroshima okonomiyaki is unique to this city and I have to say Mitchan does it justice.
Incidently, Mitchan also sells its unique sauce if you feel adventurous and looking to replicate it at home.