By Peter Sidell
A celebration of basic, healthy ingredients served in delicious vegetable curry, tofu and soya meat burgers, rice dishes, baked goods and desserts. The dishes at Hitsuki are so flavorful, it leaves you wondering why "normal" restaurants and recipes put so much emphasis on adding ingredients that are bad for our health and harmful to the environment. This shop advertises that their foods are macrobiotic: made without fish, meat, eggs, dairy or refined sugar. Hitsuki has a sister macrobiotic restaurant, Gen, located a few blocks away next to the Matsumoto City Museum of Art.
I ordered the soy meat burger and it came with an interesting looking bun. The staff explained that it was made with brown rice flour to make it more healthy. She also explained how to eat it inside a special wrapper so as not to spill sauce all over myself. I dove in without the special wrapper and just wiped up afterwards. The burger was a kind of cutlet, breaded and fried vegetarian meat analog (perhaps seitan) with salads and a savory tofu dressing. It came with a grated carrot salad and miso based soup. For dessert, I ordered the tofu gâteau au chocolat. It tasted like a kind of dark chocolate mousse, and had a great balance of sweet and bitter. I also tried the “blend” coffee which sounded like it had some tanpopo dandelion in it. It tasted just like a good, normal cup of coffee.
I was impressed with the décor. It seemed like a mish mash of antique clutter at first, but as I looked around while I ate, it became clear that everything was carefully laid out. It reminded me of the seek-and-find books my children love.
While I was eating, a group of Japanese high school students on a school trip came in and sat down next to me. As a vegetarian, I seek out places like this, however for the unfamiliar it can be daunting. I overheard them discussing what to have and then they slowly discovered that the menu was quite different from anything they had tried before. Interestingly, they didn’t give up and walk out as teenagers might be expected to do in such a situation. They stuck it out and ordered burgers, curries and desserts. When the food came they ate with gusto and snapped many a photo on their phones. They said they were texting their friends about their good fortune - and without any meat - yo!
There is no English menu, cash only, seating for 20 people. Reservations accepted. Food to eat-in or take-out. It is located at the end of the popular Nakamachi street.
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I've been living in Hiroshima since the mid 90's & still discovering new things to enjoy. I'm a big fan of both the old "wabi sabi" as well as modern and new designs, Japan offers both of these type of places to explore and enjoy. Even after many years here, I am still discovering surprising, fantastic and wacky things about this strange and wonderful land. I hope you enjoy your adventures around Japan- feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about traveling with kids, vegetarian dining or anything specific to Hiroshima.