Saturday, November 7, 2009

Images from Hiroshima's Food Festival

Joe double fisting the meat sticks

Hiroshima's annual Food Festival was a couple weeks ago, so I headed downtown armed with a camera and an empty stomach.

The festival was much bigger than I anticipated, filling not only Chuo Park but also the entire walkway surrounding Hiroshima Castle, and the crowds were so thick that it was difficult to walk a lot of the time.

Although the festival was billed as having dishes from around the world, most of the fare was Japanese. Even so, there were some culinary delights not so commonly found in Japan — mainly, thick hunks of meat.

Giant hunks of meat

Meat on a stick

Hotdog lollypops... I wonder why Americans haven't thought of this already.

For some reason I wasn't much in the mood for red meat, though it did look delicious. Instead I ate some chicken wings, an apple pastry and some dango, which is basically little balls of pounded rice (mochi) on a stick, roasted and slathered with some sweet barbecue-like sauce. I topped it all off with some vanilla soft serve blended with berries. Good stuff! And apparently I was so eager to eat all of it that I never photographed any of it. Oh well.

Here's a big strapping Japanese dude pounding rice to make mochi, though.

After each swing of the mallet into the bucket, that guy in the black and white shirt would quickly reach in and move the glob of pounded rice around.

I was hoping to try some fugu (poisonous pufferfish), which one of my friends had eaten at the festival last year, but unfortunately I didn't see it anywhere. Some other time, if I'm feeling bold, perhaps.

There was all sorts of Japanese food but just about everything I photographed was seafood. The Japanese always have interesting looking seafood at their festivals.

Hanging octopus (tako)

Octopus bowls with some green onion. It's pretty chewy.

Grilled squid on a stick, covered in sauce. Also very chewy.

They look like they'd rather be eating ice cream.

Fish on a stick.

You may have noticed everything's on a stick. It's actually considered rude in Japan to eat while walking in public. (Students get chided for this if teachers catch them doing it!) The exception to this rule is if you are eating something on a stick. Then it's OK. That's why a lot of the festival food is on a stick.

Some kind of shellfish.

Barbecued eel (delicious!) and some kind of snail, I think?

Oysters — one of Hiroshima's specialties.

Okonomiyaki, also a Hiroshima specialty.

Okonomiyaki is hard to describe, but it's basically a thin pancake topped with noodles, shredded cabbage, meat and a layer of cooked egg, with some other stuff like onions or seafood tossed in if you like.

Rice. The LAST thing I wanted to eat at the Food Festival.

Starbucks. Go away, Starbucks.

For the scores of kiddies around, there was even stage entertainment by the darling Pikachu and company. I really adore Japan's obsession with cuteness. How can you not be happy watching a big yellow Pikachu waddle around stage? Really.


Unknown said...

I can't believe they had Starbucks there! Thats so annoying.

Steve S. said...

You need to start a hot dog lollipop booth at the Clark County Fair when you return. That's bound to be a hit among the Fairgoers. Although you might need to deep-fry it to make it sufficiently high-fat.