Shiho’s little place in the drinking district serves up Hiroshima tsukemen and pan-fried yaki-ramen noodles as well as a bunch of teppan dishes which range from the standard to the toe-curling. Choichoi-ya has a very relaxed atmosphere and, especially in the warmer months, has feel of a street side food stall.
Opening at 8:30pm, Choichoi-ya is definitely a night spot, and suits the needs of those looking for a light meal on the way home from work, a bite before heading off for some serious drinking, or as a place to while away an hour or two nibbling this and that (that’s where the name choi-choi comes from) along with a few drinks. Choichoi-ya is open until 3am and the atmosphere can get quite lively around the counter and at the tables out on the street side “terrace” after midnight.
Hiroshima tsukemen – chilled noodles served with crisp vegetables, slices of char sui pork, a perfectly boiled egg and a spicy dipping sauce – comes in 3 sizes small (one tama of noodles), medium (1.5 tama of noodles) and large (a double two-tama serving of noodles). Even the small portion is quite filling and great value at ¥900. The dipping sauce is, of course, Shiho’s own concoction and something of a trade secret, but we can tell you that it is made with a fish stock base, so while off limits to strict vegetarians, pescatarians can indulge guilt-free if they order without the pork – char-shu nashi kudasai. If you are cutting down on carbs, why not try the ryansai for ¥800 which is basically a big plate of crisp veggies and sliced pork with the spicy dipping sauce.
Pan-fried yaki-ramen noodles also come in 3 sizes and is a really hearty dish. Yaki-ramen originated in Fukuoka and, although warm, doesn’t have the super hot broth usually associated with ramen noodles that, while tasty, can really bring on a sweat. The noodles are topped with seafood, vegetables and pork. Unlike standard ramen Shiho also uses a fish-based stock for her yaki-ramen too.
Side dishes include fried chicken, edamame, hiya-yakko cold tofu, and kimchi, and the more adventurous can order from the teppan menu which run from entry level squid legs (geso) to more hardcore pigs ears (buta-mimi)and horumon offal dishes such as beef aorta (shiro-niku).
The drinks menu, while limited, goes perfectly with the food on offer – cold beers, sake, shochu, chuhai and highballs.
Opening hours: 20:30-03:00
Closed: Sundays and national holidays that fall on a weekday
Shiho doesn’t speak much English but an English Menu is on its way
Address: 1F U Building, 5-25 Nagarekawa-cho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi
Tsukemen at Choichoi-ya
Yakiramen at Choichoi-ya
Shiho at work