Okonomiyaki? Oh please ◔_◔. Do you have what it takes to take on the true soul food of backstreet Hiroshima? [日本語]
“Hmm, I must try oysters while I’m here,” I hear the traveler say. Or, “An okonomiyaki dinner is the way to top off my trip to Hiroshima.”
Noooooooo dear traveler !!!!
To be sure, okonomiyaki and oysters are delicious. I’m partial to them myself. An okonomiyaki topped with a big helping of freshly sliced green onions is indeed heavenly…
No!! We will not go there.
This is no dime a dozen guide. Here, dear reader, I will give you the low down on the true soul food of backstreet Hiroshima. The one that even among locals, only those in the know, know. You know?
Our destination is in an area known as Fukushima-cho, found in the western ward of Nishi-ku, about 5 minutes from the city center by car. To walk requires some effort, but it is definitely doable. In Fukushima-cho you’ll find all kinds of delicacies rarely seen in the city center. Top of the lot, however, are two working class horumon dishes; dengaku and horumon tempura.
Horumon is offal, the kind of meat that gets thrown away in most western restaurants. Dengaku is a soup filled with stewed offal, and horumon tempura is just what it sounds like, offal fried in tempura batter. A few places sell this stuff, but Goto Izumi’s number one recommendation is Fukumoto Shokudo [福本食堂]. Fukumoto is as deep as you can get.
On entering, you’ll see meat offcuts and vegetables in tempura batter piled high. Each is ¥100. Chop them up into manageable-sized pieces on the adjacent chopping board with the knife provided. Pile them on a plate, and then, putting any thoughts about what body parts you may have selected out of your mind, take it to your table.
Next, to order.
The menu offers thick udon wheat noodles and thin somen rice noodles as well as rice, but when at Fukumoto I highly recommend the dengaku udon. This is basically a bowl of dengaku offal soup with some udon noodles in it. The bowl is so overflowing with offal that the noodles can take some time to dig out. What kind of offal is something of a mystery and the staff won’t tell you ,even if you ask. ¥500 a bowl. It is perhaps worth mentioning, that when you order plain old udon here, it, too, comes with mystery meat, source unknown.
Looking for a unique souvenir? Try senjigara – dried meat. It’s a bit like like beef jerky, except completely different. You can get beef, but pork and horse are more common.
Make it this far and feel free to call yourself a bone fide Hiroshima-ite (as certified by Goto Izumi).
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s dengaku!!!!
- Although there are tempura vegetables and rice on the menu, this is no place for vegetarians.
- If you want a soft drink, you’ll be told to go buy one from the vending machine outside.
- There is no English menu and it goes without saying that the staff don’t speak English.
- Opening hours are 10:00-17:30. Fukumoto is not open at night.
Address: Fukumoto Shokudo 1-20-8 Ogawa-machi, Nishi-ku, Hiroshima-shi
Address in Japanese: ふくもと食堂 広島市西区小河内町1-20-8