One of the things that Reza had wished we would try together was okonomiyaki — he’d been looking for a nearby place which provided seafood in the menu for days. This day it seemed, was it. We’ve seen it on tv countless of times, but it was time for us to try out the okonomiyaki experience on our own.
This trip was inspired by a scene in Hanazakari no Kimitachi e, where Ashiya Mizuki and Nakatsu Shuichi were seen having okonomiyaki at a small restaurant. The scene was shot in Tsukishima, a tiny man-made island in Tokyo. Thought it’d be a good idea to go to the exact shop for okonomiyaki.
He did the research and looked for this particular place on his mobile. Found out that it’s located at Nishinaka-dori. Outside the Tsukishima station (Ginza line), it was serene. Probably because that particular area was mostly residential, with high-rise buildings. Took a couple of corners before we reached the street. I think one way to describe the street is ‘traditional’. Lined up were numerous monjya and okonomiyaki restaurants, also shops selling goods like clothes, shoes at a very low price according to Japanese standards. Sighted? From elders shopping, couples looking forward to lunch and a slick Bumblebee. Had a feeling we were the only gaijin (foreigners) around.
Walked back and forth to look for the alleged restaurant. Alas, it was this! Or so we thought. This was the restaurant provided by the website that was guiding us — the name and address matched. The shop was closed, but I peeked at the door to realize how small it was. The interior was really different, too, so I doubt this was the one. I’m sure the real restaurant was located there, but we assumed that the person who provided the information got it wrong.
Too hungry to even care anymore, we went to this restaurant nearby which looked promising… well, at least by the number of people inside. Plus, they provided an English menu, which might mean that they’re pretty popular among foreigners. As soon as we requested for the English menu, we were led to other part of the restaurant next door.
Placed our belongings inside the seat (the seats were like chests, they could be opened). Ordered seafood and vegetables. A couple of minutes after we were given the appliances. What makes having okonomiyaki special is that the restaurant only provides the ingredients and gravy — you’d need to grill and cook it on your own!
This was really new to me. Even the taste of it. Though I enjoy other Japanese dishes like udon, sashimi or sushi, I don’t think I’ve had proper okonomiyaki in KL before. In a way it’s like having vegetable and seafood pancake. By the time we were done cooking, the couple on my right had cooked for at least three separate meals! It was the norm, I was told.
In terms of the taste, I think it was decent, not exactly mind-blowing. But don’t rely on my opinion since I like bland and plain food. Anybody who enjoys okonomiyaki should give this a try. Even if they don’t it’s still a good experience. Try it out for a dish — the ¥1200 for two will be worth it.