It’s the second time that I visit Hirome market in Kochi City and it’s the second that I stumble out of this market a little tipsy with a post food-porn grin.
The market is located right in the heart of Kochi between the main shopping arcade and the castle. Kochi city is really fun and a definite stop on any visit to the island of Shikoku.
It was gluttonous love at first sight between me and Hirome market. The market is actually a big food court which reminds me of the food center in Singapore.
The concept is quite simple; find a table, remember the number, order drink and food. Most tables can be shared by six dinners and each time I’ve been there, I ended up having a great time with the fellow dinners sharing our table.
Each stall sells one type of food and often, you can buy the raw product and the cooked fare at the same stall. It’s a unique chance to see the before and after.
The star of the show is katsuo-no-tataki which is a fillet of bonito (skipjack tuna) seared over a strong flame. The chef uses hay which gives the fish its particular taste.
Katsuo-no-tataki is served with raw sliced onion, garlic and green onion. A little bit of sea salt is sprinkled on the fish and you dip it in lemon juice. You might end up with the worse breath ever, but the taste is spot on. Kochi is the place to eat the best katsuo-no-tataki.
My second coup de coeur goes for the fried chicken. Japanese fried chicken is common food all over Japan, but the Hirome market popcorn chicken is beyond any chicken I have seen in Japan so far. It’s so good and at 200 yens for a small bag, we ended up ordering two portions. Yes, it’s only 200 yens, it’s that cheap!
My drink of choice at the market is the very uncommon Tosa buntan chu-hi. Buntan are a delicious pomelos which grows around Kochi and I was lucky enough to visit Kochi before the end of the season. The two ladies who runs a small tea shop can whip a mad drink, it’s pulpy, sour and addictive.
We shared our table with a lovely couple who ordered some very interesting looking shrimps. After they ordered a second plate, we asked them to tell us which stall sold these shrimps. The couple was quite chatty and I learned that these river shrimps were a specialty of Kochi and they have been eating them every year for the last 20 years.
The shrimps are tiny, deep-fried whole and the taste is outstanding. Crunchy, a bit salty and it’s already decided that we are coming back to Kochi for more!
Hirome market is all about meeting nice people, drinking and eating great food. There is a wide variety of food available and there is a liquor store in the market where you can buy the local sake.
Everybody can experience the market its own way and come out with their own Kochi food porn experience.
p.s. There is a famous street food market held every Sunday and it’s worth a visit.
Hirome Food Market (www.hirome.co.jp)