The martian’s pizza

August 6, 2009

stephmartianThe Empress’s SMH Good Living column has been the most emailed SMH article so far today – and with good reason. This week she checked out an outlandish (to boring old Anglos like me!) Japanese dish called okonomiyaki, which her husband has described as “a martian’s idea of a pizza”.  Writes the Empress:

This could be one of life’s weirdest dishes. Having said that, when done well it’s compellingly delicious. Cabbage with pork, seafood or a combination of both are lightly bound in a flour, egg and dashi batter that is fried as a thick round. This is where things start getting trippy: once cooked, the okonomiyaki is covered with squiggles of Japanese mayonnaise and special sauce that is like the Aussie barbecue variety, sprinkled with nori flakes and piled with bonito shavings, which wave slowly in the pancake’s rising heat.

To find out where to eat this strange delight, visit her column here.


  1. As a pizza addict, I am prepared to try anything once!

    • But it’s really nothing like a pizza, other than in shape, Di. I’m sure you’ll like it but don’t go expecting anything like the Italian thing. Think Martian and you’ll be right.

  2. In that case, Stephanie ‘Intrepid’ Clifford-Smith, I should add that as a Japanese food addict, I am prepared to try anything once! I didn’t think it sounded like pizza pizza, just a yummy thing, and I’m always interested in those. In fact, this is making me peckish…

  3. This is my favourite dish! Oiishi!
    Here I am in Japan, a ‘Gaijin’ – foriegner, officially classed as an ‘Alien’ (I have my “Alien Registration Card’ to prove it), and this delicious dish is being refered to as “a martian’s idea of a pizza”.
    Omoshiroii – ‘funny’ ^o^/

  4. Noooo, weird? Not if you’re Japanese. It’s just a fishy-cabbagey-seafoody-and/or-porky-sauced-pancakey-thingy with waving fish flakes on top, weird? Ok, maybe… I loved this when I lived in Japan, luckily only one train stop away from okonomiyaki central in Osaka (Tsuruhashi, apparently the best okonomiyaki in the city? country? Not sure, but it was fabulous, there was many a queue). I also developed a taste for takoyaki, the octopus balls with a similar taste/profile to okonomiyaki – balls of batter with octopus pieces, spring onions and red pickled ginger. Gooey, yum. Though my partner tells me they’re an acquired taste, which she refuses to acquire. Now weird is corn and mayonnaise slathered over pizza (real pizza that is), another Japanese innovation…

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