The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 26 January 2007

Seafood specialties of Miyajima

I love it how many of the regional culinary specialties in Japan involves seafood of some sort! The food of Miyajima is anagomeishi, which is conger eel (similar to unagi, but not the same) with a special sauce on rice. Quite a simple dish, but quite pricey. We went to Fujita-ya that was recommended by the Lonely Planet Guide, and we left the place wondering why this place was recommended and not other (cheaper) places? We were also puzzled over why this place was also recommended in another book guide (was it Frommer's?) (we met a lone American traveller (using this other guide) attempting to get in Fujita-ya, but not knowing any Japanese, she was quite confused over what the lady was telling her. She ended up eating with us on our table, and then exploring Mt. Misen with us after).

The anagomeishi itself was quite yummy, but we felt that it wasn't really quite worth the 2300yen (around AU$23). (We saw other restaurants offering anagomeishi for around 1700yen.) Perhaps Fujita-ya gave more meat? Or perhaps it was trying to milk all the money it can from all the foreign tourists led here by their book guides. We'll never know.

Anagomeishi served with some soup and pickled veges:

Since Miyajima is within Hiroshima-ken, kaki (oyster) is another of Miyajima's specialty. Outside one of the restaurants specialising in kaki, there was a stall set up selling take-away grilled oysters for 200yen a-piece. It was hugely popular too, with a long line for the piping hot oysters. And it was soooo good! Plump, fresh oysters hot of the grill... Mmmm yum!

Big fat grilled oysters:

Maple trees are one of the trademarks of Miyajima, so one of the popular omiyage (souvenirs) to buy are the momiji manju (momiji is Japanese for maple, and manju for sweets). These are small cakes shaped like maple leaves with various fillings inside, including the standard anko (sweet jam/paste made out of adzuki beans), matcha (green tea flavour) and the ever-popular custard and chocolate fillings. It was quite yummy and I bought a couple of boxes to give my collegues. For those that don't know, in Japan, it's almost an expection that whenever you travel, you should bring back omiyage to share - I wrote about it in another post.

Momiji manju in the making:

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