Monday, April 16, 2018

Chugoku Sanyo, San-in 中国地方山陽、山陰 - Kaki-ya 牡蠣屋

Visited 24.04.2015 (Fri)


Gems of the sea. My conclusion from this Chugoku trip was Hiroshima is a food paradise! Enjoyed sipping the noodles coated with broth infused with chili peppers and chili oil (tsukemen) and love the hearty serving of crunchy cabbage strips packed in a pancake (okonomiyaki). In fact, the most unforgettable meal I had was the oysters in Miyajima. Hiroshima is well known for its fat and juicy oysters harvest, which make up 60% of the overall domestic market in Japan. This is largely contributed by the favourable breeding grounds, both in terms of sea temperatures and weather conditions experienced by the Seto Inland Sea. Though oysters can be enjoyed all year round in Hiroshima, it is said that the best period to enjoy these gems of the sea is between November to March. Before coming to Miyajima, we ordered the teppanyaki style oysters at Micchan (where we had our okonomiyaki) as a side dish and were already won over by its taste. Because of this delectable experience, we were all looking forward to indulge in more oysters on the following day in Miyajima.

Best so far! Came to Kaki-ya, which literally means "oyster house", to enjoy our lunch after visiting Itsukushima Shrine. Kaki-ya is one of the many restaurants, located along Omotessando Shopping Arcade, offering oysters related dishes and aims to bring out the goodness of oysters using various cooking methods. Before coming here, I already had in mind to try their signature Kaki-ya set meal (牡蠣屋定食). Though this meal was on the pricey side (2,150 yen), I felt that for the quantity of oysters served on the plate, it was value for money. The sumptuous set meal comprised of:


- 2 x grilled oysters in the shell. This is the first thing you will see upon reaching the restaurant! The grill station is located at the storefront where fresh oysters are shucked and cooked on the spot. The oysters were cooked to perfection, retaining its natural sweetness and flavours.


- Half serving of oysters cooked on rice. The rice was cooked with a broth created using oysters and the oysters were simmered with soy sauce. I was totally blown away by the rice which was infused with the rich flavours of oysters. It was so enjoyable that I could not bare to finish up the last grain of rice...


- 3 x fried breaded oysters, served with homemade tartar sauce and ketchup. I am a fan of fried food and this hit the spot on the first bite. Love the crispy breaded skin encapsulating the moist oyster meat.


- 1 x oiled oyster. This is Kaki-ya's signature creation. Also available for sale in individual glass can, the oyster is first baked with oyster sauce at moderate temperatures in the oven and this step is repeated several times until the oyster sauce is infused into the meat, which has shrunk in size during the cooking procedure. Next the oyster is soaked in grapeseed oil, mixed with chili oil and bayleaf, for a period of time before it is best consumed. I was amazed by how rich the flavour was in this small piece of meat and it totally whet my appetite during the lunch course. In a spur of moment, I was so tempted to bring a few bottles of oiled oysters back home!

- Lastly, a bowl of red miso oyster soup to complete the set.

Kaki-ya was featured in Michelin's Guide for Hiroshima/Ehime published in 2013.
http://gmhiroshimaehime.gnavi.co.jp/shop/0913026801/

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Kaki-ya 牡蠣屋
広島県廿日市市宮島町539
Opening hours: 1000 - 1800 hrs
http://www.kaki-ya.jp/

How to get there?

(1) By foot.
Kaki-ya is located along Omotessando Shopping Arcade. From Miyajima Pier (Miyajima Sanbashi 宮島桟橋), it takes about 7 minutes to reach here by foot.



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Video: Scroll to 2:30 for 爱玩客's feature on Kaki-ya.

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