The weather was really blah, but I didn't care. It was the final day for the Hiroshima Food Festival. I wasn't about to let a little bit of rain stop me from enjoying some great eats!
Headed to the train station, met up with some friends, and then headed to Hiroshima. An hour later we were there and couldn't wait to get to the castle grounds area. Hmmm...it was raining a little harder than I had hoped, but I had an umbrella. Besides, it's just a little water. Right? It wasn't like I was going to melt or anything. We got off the tram and started walking towards the park. Once we got there I was overwhelmed by all of the food tents set up on the castle side. Where to begin?? We went to the left and I immeditely saw a sign that said, "soba." I kind of glanced at the other tents as I walked as fast as I could to the soba tent. Now, let me tell you, it was not an easy trek. There were a lot of people and most of them were carrying umbrellas so it took some maneuvering, but I made it. It was really cool because you could watch them make the noodles by hand. I would have taken a picture, but ummmm.....it was raining. I paid my 500yen and they handed me a hot bowl of soba. Mmmmm......I walked off to the side to get out of everyone's way and then I stood there. I looked down at my waribashi (wooden chopsticks) lying across my soba bowl and wondered how in the world I was going to break them apart so I could eat my noodles. My umbrella was not cooperating. When I tried to hold it with my head and shoulder it just fell backwards. So, I closed it and then I had to find some place to set down my bowl so I could pull apart my chopsticks. It was raining pretty hard at this point, but I didn't care. I wanted to eat my noodles! And I did. In the pouring rain. With no umbrella. Oh, it was good. It was also hot. Once I finished my soba and threw my bowl away, I opened my umbrella up again and decided that from that point on I could only purchase food items that only required one hand to carry and didn't need utensils to consume. I was wet and cold, and the rain didn't show any signs of letting up. I didn't care though! I was at a FOOD FESTIVAL! Those two words should always be together! Okay, maybe I was re-thinking this decision a little bit. I was wet and cold and having a hard time holding my umbrella while eating. Then, we started walking and I looked over to the left. The park across the street was FULL of white food tents. It's a pretty big park too. All doubts left my brain as soon as I saw that park. All I could think about was the amount of food we were going to find over there.
We followed the crowd and crossed the street. Wow. I was amazed at how crowded it was. I thought the rain would keep people away, and it probably did keep some away, but a lot of people still came out to enjoy the Food Festival. A lot! We got to the entrance and we all stopped.
It was like a huge mud pit in there.
What a dilemma. It smelled so good though. It's just mud. Dirt and water. Mixed together. What kind of a foodie am I if I let a little mud get in the way of some amazing food? Then, someone saw a green carpet-like thing on the ground. We could walk on that! So, we started walking on the green carpet and it didn't take long for us to find an interesting food tent. There was a huge piece of meat (like, half of a cow or something) hanging and there were some huge steaks on a grill next to it. They were selling cut up steak for 500yen per serving. We lined up and bought us some Hiroshima steak. I took one piece and ...wow! It was so tender and so good!
We saw a couple of these steak tents selling local beef.
We saw a Turkish Kebab food tent too. And not only did they have kebabs.......they had stretchy ice cream!! That's what the sign said in Japanese.....well, it sounds a little different in Japanese I guess. I tried to get a picture of the guy dishing up the ice cream, but there were people standing in front of him each time and I was trying to hold my umbrella and take a picture at the same time. This was the best I could do -
Finally, we came to the end of the mud pit and saw a grassy area with more food tents. It was like food heaven! As we made our way over, I saw a group of Japanese people square dancing. How awesome is that?! They were dancing in the rain.
Then we saw an Indonesian food tent with some very friendly people and some yummy looking satay chicken that I had to try. There was a wonderful peanut sauce all over it. Mmmm....
At this point we decided we were done. I wanted a nice, hot cup of tea and I wanted to drink it sitting down......somewhere dry. We headed back towards the mud pit. On the way there, we stumbled onto this little fishing area set up for the children.
Despite all of the rain and the mud and the cold, I had a really good time at the Food Festival. If you missed out on the it this year, there's always next year. I know I'll be there! I just hope the weather is better.