One Week of Travelling – Hiroshima

For the last big stop on my week of travelling I had planned to go back to Hiroshima, where I had spent my year two years ago. Time definitely flew by since then, but I finally had the chance to meet some really great friends again. The first day was spent in Hiroshima City, where I met with Tadahiko and Manami again, who were bot fellow students at Hiroshima University.

Hiroshima Peace Park

Hiroshima Peace Park

Even though the weather had slowly been getting worse I wanted to see the city center again, so we went for a walk through the Peace Park and the shopping arcades of Hiroshima City. Basically nothing had changed since I had left two years ago, so it was nice to walk on known paths again, that were carrying quite a few good memories for me. Afterwards, we also did some window shopping, before going for a coffee, hot chocolate and parfait respectively.

Tadahiko, Manami and me - Mirror Selfie ;-)

Tadahiko, Manami and me – Mirror Selfie 😉

As I was going to stay at Tadahiko’s place that evening (again, thanks a lot, man!), we went back to Saijo afterwards and had some ramen noodles together. Still one of my favourite kind of dishes in Japan, especially Hakata Ramen from Fukuoka.

The next day saw me walk a bit through Saijo again, where I went to visit the grounds of Hiroshima University again, as well as the sake area. I spend a nice lunch break at Q, which looks like an american surfer shack from the outside, but is easily one of the very best places to eat Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki. And I also took another break for a nice piece of cake at the Kugurimon café in the sake area. I’m not sure, if the place existed two years ago, but they had a really nice atmosphere in there, so I took my time to write some postcards from there ^^

The evening was spent at Chad’s and Chisaki’s (who are now having an adorable little son, whom I’m definitely going to teach some German vocabulary to annoy Chad a bit next time ;-P) place, who were so nice to host me for two nights and to organise a really awesome dinner with some friends from two years ago. Needless to say, it was a great evening, it became really late and we might have been a liiiittle bit drunk (I still can’t believe we drank all that sake in the end oO). Just like in the old days, basically 😉

For the following day, despite some remaining hangover, Chad and I went to the sake area in the afternoon, to visit all the breweries again and have a taste of the new sake for this year (early spring is the time when they produce the new sake). Now that might not have been the most ingenious idea we’ve ever had, but we had a great afternoon, that continued seemlessly into a great karaoke session in the evening with Marcelo, Takao and Dmitry.

So miraculously, we still had a bit of a hangover the next day as well, but as it was the day of the spring sake festival, we needed to go to the sake area again, as there were some of the most premium sake brands of the country available to try for free – and warm amazake (甘酒), which is one of the most awesome drinks you can have on a cold late winter’s day. It’s basically sweet sake, with a very low alcohol content, but is still heating you up from the inside nonetheless. Brilliant stuff!

Wit this preparation, we finally set out for a hike up to the mountain behind Saijo station, which allows for a nice view over the city on a good day. On the way, we had barbecue with Takao first, however, who is one of the best equipped campers I have ever met. And one of the best barbeque-ers at the same time! Needless to say, we were really stuffed, when we continued our hike up to the top of the mountain. Also, for some reason, either our stamina wasn’t as good as two years ago or we had chosen the difficult path uphill, as they had extremely high stairs that made us breathe quite heavily extremely fast xD

But in the end we made it, even though the weather was not so much in our favour, concerning the view:

The View over Saijo

The View over Saijo

Still, a climb well worth it and a great memory to our hikes two years ago. I really enjoyed the few days in Hiroshima and will definitely come again in the future!

Nishin Soba

Nishin Soba is a typical dish from Kyoto, which consists of a soba noodle soup with sweet marinated dried herring added. As Kyoto is far from the seaside, it was hard to bring in fresh seafood from the coast, so dried herring established itself as one of the easier to transport fishes and became one of the important sources of proteine in the past.

As you can guess from this description, I ate this dish when I was in Kyoto in December, but I still wanted to put it up here, because it remained in my head. The taste of sweet herring together with a traditional Japanese soup flavour was completely new to me in that situation and at first I was a bit at a loss as to how I should judge it. But I grew to like the taste very fast and appreciate its difference to the other dishes I’ve eaten in Japan and also back in Europe (Yannik didn’t, btw. :P). For me, the subtle sweetness did fit very well with the broth and made for a well rounded meal together with the soba.

If you want to try it yourself, the following recipe might be helpful. I found it under this link and translated it for you (hopefully without mistakes :D). Enjoy your cooking!

http://www.rakuten.ne.jp/gold/suginoki/c0312.html

You will need (for 4 persons):

  • 400g soba noodles
  • 1 sweetly cooked herring (you can either buy it or prepare it this way(scroll down))
  • 1 leek
  • 4 sheets of dried laver / seaweed
  • 7 cups of dashi broth
  • 120ml of mirin (sweet soy sauce)
  • 120ml of soy sauce

Preparation:

  1. Mix the dashi broth, mirin and soy sauce in a pot and let it boil up to prepare the soup.
  2. Boil the soba in plenty of water until they are boiled thoroughly. Pour the water and put the soba in 4 bowls. Add the soup to each bowl.
  3. Add the finely cut leek, the dried laver and the herring on top. Enjoy your meal! 🙂

Matcha Parfait

Again it’s time for a small break from the sightseeing articles and instead a good moment for a food-related post. After all, who doesn’t like tasty food, especially if it’s sweet and nice-looking 😀

Therefor behold the mighty fine dessert that is Matcha Parfait (see below). Now first of all, matcha is powdered green tea and is also the tea that’s used in tea ceremonies. It’s definitely not cheap, but the taste is really unique and i can only recommend to try it, if you have the chance. I guess, you might even find it in asia shops in Europe, although i don’t know about the quality in that case.

But back to the parfait. When you have something as nice as matcha, it would be a waste to only make tea with it, so there are various products featuring the matcha taste, for example icecream, desserts or sauces. The picture below shows a parfait of matcha cream, cookie, matcha icecream, yoghurt icecream, mochi and fresh fruits – a very delicious combination! It might have cost me around 1200 Yen, but it was definitely worth it 😀

International Cooking Class

It’s already a bit late, but I still wanted to share a few pictures from the International Cooking Class in Higashi Hiroshima. It’s beeing held two times every month with different people from different countries introducing dishes from their homecountry to the participants. In December a friend and I took the chance to teach some German dishes, which were appropriate for the wintertime  and really had a blast with all these nice Japanese women, who were really eager to learn a lot about our cooking and Germany. So please follow the link below for some pictures and also contact me for the recipes if you’re interested 🙂

Photo Album

Omu-Rice

Omu-Rice (オムライス) is basically a rice dish, in which the rice is wrapped in an egg omelette with some sauce on top. While the specific sauce and the preparation of the rice may vary, one of the most common variants includes some vegetables in the rice, while the sauce itself is dark and a bit bitter as well as sweet. But that’s just the baseline and there are restaurants that specialise on preparing the various kinds of this dish in many places in Japan. And apart from the sauce (although Worcestersauce might be a good base) I think it’s pretty easy to prepare this dish yourself. It’s a simple but really tasty food in my opinion 🙂