(Donburi Set Meal - My guess is Katsu-don, which is a breaded pork cutlet fried with egg and served over rice with a sweet sauce poured on top. The yellow shreds in the side dish are Takuan, a pickle make from daikon radishes. The smaller bowl contains a simple broth with Wakame seaweed.)
Hi guh (lit. older brother),
Here are some of the food pics as promised. These were all taken at Miyajima, which is a small island off the coast of Hiroshima. It's famous for the quasi-tame deer that wander all over the city, and for this huge Tori-gate from the Itsukushima Shrine that's built in the ocean. You can walk up to it at low tide in the mornings and in the evenings to touch it, walk through it, or just take a closer look.
Food wise, the Miyajima/Hiroshima area is famous for its Kaki (oysters, but you probably already knew that), Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake), and Anago (saltwater eel, but you also probably already knew that).
(Classic Una-don or eel bowl using anago. The anago has been broiled and lightly brushed with a sweet glaze. Fresh and saltwater eels are the only sushi "fish" that must be cooked before being eaten, as their blood is poisonous unless cooked. In the traditional British ballad of Lord Randall, the young lord is poisoned after eating an eel dish that was most likely underdone.)
You'll notice that there's a lot of the anago in the pictures I took.
(Okonomiyaki - Japanese savory pancake. The dark sauce is a fermented product with sweet and sour overtones, with a flavor reminiscent of Worcestershire sauce, which is another fermented product.)
I've most been eating Kansai okonomiyaki, which has an egg batter with the ingredients suspended inside, but the Hiroshima style is distinct in that it is essentially yakisoba or udon with the batter in two disks surrounding it.
There's a pleasant crisping sensation that you don't find in the Kansai version, although the Kansai one has a more even distribution of taste.
(Shaved ice. No idea what it's flavored with.)
(Edit from Terragnome 070606 - 7:33AM) The shaved ice in the last photo batch was naccha flavored ice with azuki and condensed milk on top. Ice is shaved "Snowflake style" like the Taiwanese style where it feels like you’re eating a cloud.
I've started being more proactive with my food documentation, so I'll send you another email when I've reached critical flavor mass.
(Cold soup used to refresh the palate.)
The beautiful thing about Japan is that there's delicious food in pretty every bakery, department store, and konbini (convenience stores), although I'd kill a man to get some little dragon buns. I couldn't bring myself to fork out 1000 yen (~9 bucks) for 12 last time I saw them at the department store, but one of these days I might just have to give in...
(What follows are additional pictures from the kaiseki meals Terragnome enjoyed.)
(Appetizer course of lightly boiled soybeans, broiled shrimp, and broiled conch.)
(Sashimi course. From the color of the fish, I would guess Hirame or halibut.)
(Steamed course of Tamago-dofu, a steamed and chilled egg custard flavored with dashi broth made from dried skipjack tuna and kelp, and yuzu, a citrus fruit native to Japan.)
(Grilled course. I'm going to guess Hamachi Kama, grilled yellowtail tuna cheeks. But, I honestly have no idea.)
(Fried course. Tempura. I probably don't need to explain that.)
(Simmered course, Kamisuki Nabe or Paper Pot Soup. This one seems to contain a lot of anago.)
(The really cool thing about Kamisuki Nabe is that the pot really is made out of paper. The liquid in the paper actually serves to insulate it, keeping the paper from reaching its burning point.)
(To thicken the soup, you're given a beaten egg mixture to pour into it. The low heat from the flame below gently cooks the egg, giving the soup a custard-like consistency.)
(To read more about the adventures of my brother, Terragnome, and his friends, Wakywebsurfer and Bsrancho, in Japan, visit the Linshesa's Travels blog.)