Sarii-chan is a small township found in the fabled Okonomi Republic, where its friendly soccer-loving headman serves up a delicious version of Hiroshima's signature dish, okonomiyaki.
Locals tend to stay away from the multistory tourist magnet, Okonomi-mura (Okonomi Village). The smaller (2 floors with 5 or 6 shops) Okonomi Kyowakoku (Okonomi Republic) which is in the building next door, however, has a reputation for serving up very tasty versions of Hiroshima's signature dish. The word on the street is that, in terms of taste, it is hard to go wrong with any of the three shops on the third floor.
It is here, on the left in the far corner as you get out of the elevator, that you will find Sarii-chan. Run by a young okonomiyaki and soccer enthusiast, Sarii-chan takes its name from the owner's nickname. It is a typically small shop with a long hotplate and just enough room to squeeze in about 10 people. Sarii-chan and staff only speak a little English, but they are very friendly and when full, rather than feeling cramped, the intimacy usually makes for a very nice atmosphere. Visit in the evening, and you may well end up sharing a few drinks with your fellow diners.
The menu is pretty straight forward Hiroshima okonomiyaki in its various incarnations. Sarii-chan uses high quality fresh soba noodles which are boiled prior to being grilled. In just a few short years, the master has really got cooking okonomiyaki down to fine art, and the noodles are lovely and firm without being crunchy - the term al dente comes to mind. Sometimes eating a whole okonomiyaki can leave you feeling overly stuffed, but here the servings seem just right for someone with a good appetite. Sarii-chan uses the okonmiyaki-sauce sparingly, which allows the flavor to really come through, and the customer can add more from the sauce pots on the counter if they wish. Vegetarians will also be happy to know that, rather than lard, Sarii-chan uses vegetable or olive oil on his grill. He's more than happy to accommodate vegetarians as best he can.
Standard Hiroshima okonomiyaki or niku-tama-soba is ¥750, for which you get the basic pork and egg okonomiyaki with noodles. Add to this from the list of toppings, which includes including cheese and mochi rice cake, each ¥200 extra.
Or, choose from the three highly rated combinations.
Top of the list is the Sarii Special, which is good-sized okonomiyaki, and not counting the beansprouts and cabbage, has 7 ingredients: ika (squid),ika-ten (dry, deep-fried squid), negi (onion) butaniku-W (double portion of pork), egg with either soba (thin noodles) or udon (fat noodles) ¥1400. Kyowakoku-yaki has 5 ingredients: squid, prawn, dry deep-fried squid, pork,and egg with either soba or udon ¥1200. Sarii-yaki has squid, prawns,and pork with soba or udon ¥1100.
If the main dishes don't fill you up there are also various side dishes available for ¥350-¥650.
Mugs of draft beer are ¥500, and you can also get chuhai cocktails and Japanese sake and shochu for ¥400-¥750. Soft drinks are ¥300. If the counter is busy when you arrive, you can take a seat at a table in the middle of the floor and have a drink while you wait for a space to open up.