Hiroshima foodies find it an unsavory name for their savory pancakes.

Fumio Kishida, currently a member of the House of Representatives representing Hiroshima’s 1st District, will become Japan’s next prime minister on October 4, and so his social media accounts are getting a lot more attention these days. Because of that, a lot of people noticed when Kishida recently tweeted a photo of okonomiyaki (a Japanese savory pancake/crepe), a Hiroshima specialty, cooked by his wife.

“When I came home, my wife Yuko kindly cooked okonomiyaki for me. She said she made it after noticing I’d said ‘I love my wife’s okonomiyaki’ on Instagram Live.

Your okonomiyaki is always amazing, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget how especially good it tasted today. Thank you.”

Perhaps in an attempt to curry favor with his boss-to-be, fellow House of Representatives member Hiroyuki Onishi sent a now-deleted reply tweet saying:

“Hiroshimayaki! It really does look delicious.”

You might be wondering why Onishi would feel the need to scrub such an innocuous-sounding message from his tweet history. See, Onishi represents Osaka’s 1st District, and okonomiyaki is a food very near and dear to the people of Osaka as well. However, the okonomiyaki in Osaka is different from the okonomiyaki in Hiroshima.

The core ingredients are the same. Flour, egg, and cabbage are musts, but after that you can add pretty much whatever you want (okonomiyaki literally translates to “grilled whatever-you-like”). The difference, though, is that in Hiroshima the different ingredients are grilled in layers that are stacked up on top of each other just before eating.

▼ An okonomiyaki restaurant in Hiroshima

On the other hand, in Osaka all of the ingredients are stirred together into a liquidy mass before cooking, like this.

The different methods make a huge difference in not only the texture after cooking, but also in which flavors come out strongest. That also means certain ingredients tend to work better with one style than the other, and so chefs are more likely to add, for example, bean sprouts and noodles to okonomiyaki in Hiroshima, while grated yam is particularly popular in Osaka (though again, it’s not the ingredients that determine whether an okonomiyaki is Hiroshima or Osaka-style, but how it’s cooked).

The end result is that there’s a bit of a rivalry between Osaka and Hiroshima over which is the true capital of okonomiyaki, and so to foodies in Hiroshima, calling their version of the dish by a completely different name, “Hiroshima-yaki,” is something of an insult.

▼ No one in Hiroshima would ever call this “Hiroshima-yaki.”

Because of that, Onishi saying the “Hiroshima-yaki” in Kishida’s tweet looked good was seen by some as a bit of backhanded compliment. The Osaka statesman backpedaled by tweeting “Correction: That’s Hiroshima-fu [meaning “Hiroshima-style”], right? So I wonder if Osaka’s okonomiyaki is Osaka-fu?” He ended up rethinking that tweet too, perhaps under the logic that the people in the cities themselves don’t use the “-fu” designation for their own take on the dish, and eventually sent out his third attempt to smooth things over, saying:

“Notice of apology

Hiroshima okonomiyaki and Osaka okonomiyaki are cooked in fundamentally different ways, and so I wish to express my deep regrets for using the city’s name as the name of the food (>人<;)

Glory to the cultures of both Hiroshima and Osaka.”

Onishi went on to express his fondness for both Hiroshima and Osaka okonomiyaki, so he’s probably not going on the prime minister-to-be’s enemies list, and as his use of kaomoji emoticons should convey, the tongue-lashing he got from foodies was pretty tongue-in-cheek. Still, it shows that even though Japan is a small country geographically, there can be some pretty big differences in its regional cuisines (like how there’s one part of the country where “grilled chicken” doesn’t mean “chicken”), so if anyone ever invites you out to eat okonomiyaki, you might want to ask them “Which kind?”

Sources: Twitter/@onishi_hiroyuki, Twitter/@kishida230, Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@kishida230
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where’s he’s always open to invitations to eat Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki.