Cuisine

Okayama’s Soul food: Ebimeshi

2019-09-22

Food is a vital part of any journey and often acts as a bridge that connects your present moment to the time when you first tasted it. If you want to travel around Okayama prefecture and eat something that would etch the memory of Okayama in your memories for years ahead, natives of this prefecture would suggest you to taste a dish called “Ebimeshi”. “Ebi” in Japanese stands for shrimp and Ebimeshi thus literally translates to a food item containing shrimp. Well, that doesn’t really give us any idea about what the food item is going to be right? Have a look at the picture below for some visual idea of this dish.
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What comes to your mind after you see these pictures? You might be thinking “why is the rice not white? Is it made up of brown rice or some other colored rice which gives the dish its color?” This dish “Ebimeshi” is a form of fried rice with shrimp and is cooked in a special sauce with ingredients like caramel and ketchup. This sauce is what gives the dish its distinct yet delicious taste and also the colored look. Every shop that served Ebimeshi has their own trade secret for the sauce so nobody really knows what is it really made up. Looks like Ebimeshi is the mystery dish!
Ebimeshi was first introduced in a curry restaurant in Shibuya called Indeira in the year 1955. A chef who was originally from Okayama, trained in this restaurant and brought back this dish recipe with him to his hometown Okayama in the year 1966 and the residents of this prefecture received this dish with warm heart and that is how Ebimeshi became the soul food of Okayama. If you are looking for experiencing Ebimeshi in Okayama, one of the recommended chain store is Ebimeshiya.
Usually Ebimeshi is served with threaded eggs called Kinshi-tamago and this combined taste of the rice, shrimp and eggs with the mild sweetness from the sauce is a memory to cherish whenever you think of Okayama.

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Another variant served at this restaurant is the Omuebimeshi which is similar to popular Japanese dish Omurice with the fried rice replaced by Ebimeshi. Omuebimeshi costs 930 JPY including taxes.
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Usually the Ebimeshi is served with a salad side that is cabbage and cucumber sliced and soaked in vinegar. You can also order hot Wanton soup to pair with your Ebimeshi for the cold winter nights. The soup has 3 small wantons along with some cabbage/bok choy. Ebimeshi with wanton soup costs about 980 JPY (including taxes).
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One of the delicious dessert served at this store is Purin-ice which is an ice cream version of Crème brûlée. It is delicious and a must try! One purin-ice costs 280 JPY including taxes.
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These pictures are from Ebimeshiya store (2-53 Mannari Nishimachi, Kita Ward, Okayama, 700-0073) in Kita ward of Okayama city. This store is connected with the Indeira store chain and thus served the unique taste of Ebimeshi that is specially known around Okayama. Here are some more pictures of the store.
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Bon Appetit, Folks!
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