The History of Okonomiyaki
The origins of Okonomiyaki has a long history, dating back as early as the Edo period (1683 – 1868) when it was just a crepe-like pancake.The name, okonomiyaki, started in the late 1930’s in Osaka. Broken down, the word okonomi means “what you like” and yaki, “grilled or cooked.” It became popular during and after WWII. In Hiroshima in western Japan, a similar crepe dish was formed as well, served with onions and folded over to be served to children.
During the war, rice became shorter in supply, and people had to become more creative using ingredients in their pantries. People threw in cabbage, egg, and pork bellies because of this shortage. A restaurant in Osaka in 1946 claims to be the first to use mayonnaise.
Osaka okonomiyaki, or “Kansai style,” is cabbage with all the ingredients, mixed into a batter, and then grilled on both sides. Other toppings and sauce can be added on top. There is no crepe since the batter is mixed in.
Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is a little more labor intensive. The cabbage, noodles, and other ingredients are layered on top of the crepe. It uses quite a bit more cabbage than its Kansai-style brethren.
At Pagoda Pizza, our Lunch & Dinner Menu will always be served Hiroshima style. It’s more impressive and has more complex flavor and texture.