Momijiya is a popular spot for Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki in Tokyo. Chef Tomonori Tsuda is the second generation owner, and has been making the savory pancake snack — consisting of cabbage, bean sprouts, pork back rib, and egg — for over 200 customers a day for years.
Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki differs from Kansai-style (Western Japanese) okonomiyaki in that the former places emphasis on the cabbage. Kansai-style mixes the batter and vegetables together, whereas with Hiroshima-style, the toppings sit on a crepe-like pancake. The ingredients are piled on top, covered with a fried egg, pressed to expel water and crisp the cabbage, and then brushed with a sweet chili Otafuku sauce made with dates.
Momijiya is as much known for its okonomiyaki as it is for its Hiroshima Carp baseball memorabilia. The spot has become a known hangout for fans of the team, and Tsuda is as big of a fan as any. “I thought it would be a great motivation for everyday, if I could be in a space filled with Hiroshima Carp,” he said, explaining part of his motive for applying for a job at Momijiya when he was 20 and still in university. The shop is also close to the Tokyo Dome where the Carps play, making it a great post-game pitstop for hungry fans. “If an active player comes in, I will be too excited to work.”
“Okonomiyaki can be a main meal, or a snack, or an appetizer with drinks,” says Tsuda. “It can be enjoyed by children, family, and grown-ups. You can put [in] any ingredients you want, and eat it however you like. Everything is up to you. That’s why everybody loves it.”