SUBMITTED BY HYLA ERNST
Thank you, Duanne Cole and Cindy Robertson for this memorable adventure
Cindy, Duanne, and I were on our way to a number of second-hand and antique stores in Hatsukaichi when we smelled something delicious along the road. We continued on with our shopping trip but came back to that general area (literally following our noses) hoping to stop for lunch. Funny thing: the place that we stopped at turned out to be a gift shop with a Thai name, full of Thai gifts. I am Thai and it felt surreal to be surrounded by Thai things in a shop on the side of some random road in Japan. I took a chance and asked the lady working there if she was Thai (she was), and the conversation quickly switched from Japanese/English to Thai. That delicious smell remains a mystery to this day, as she insisted that there were no restaurants in the immediate vicinity and that she wasn’t cooking in the back of the store. Instead, she gave us directions to the Backen Mozart factory nearby, saying that you could find Thai food there.
Not knowing what to expect, we drove down to an industrial side of town, passing several factories. As we got near the water, we noticed what appeared to be a little café tucked into a corner of one factory. Little did we know, we were in for quite a pleasant surprise!
Inside, we noticed that the café was divided into two sides: the shop and the restaurant. On the shop side, you can purchase cookies, chocolate, and other treats that the factory produces. The best part: free samples!
Because we were all ravenous by that time, we made a beeline to the cash register. There wasn’t an English menu and the staff really didn’t speak much English, but we didn’t have any problem ordering. Having a picture menu helped, plus the staff was very friendly and helpful. Here is their menu, which has Japanese, Italian, and Thai dishes. You can order each dish a la carte or you can order a set for a few hundred yen more, which includes a salad, a dessert of your choice, and a drink.
All three of us were happy with our meals and desserts. Duanne’s Eggplant Parmesan was quite delicious and my Pad Thai tasted surprisingly authentic. Actually, one of the chefs is Thai and I got to meet her and (for the second time that day) got to speak Thai. Talk about a small world!
If you are in Hatsukaichi or just driving through, Café Mozart is a great place to grab a quick casual lunch or snack.
ADDRESS: Hatsukaichi Mokuzaikokita 15-24
DIRECTIONS: Go out the main gate and take a right at four corners onto 188. Follow 188 until it intersects with 2 and take a right towards Otake/Hiroshima. Follow 2 into Otake and take the ramp for the expressway after 8km. Keep right at the fork for Hiroshima and merge onto the Sanyo Expressway. In a little over 15km take the exit for Hatsukaichi. Keep left at the first fork, and then take the right fork immediately after that for route 247(You’ll be on the Nishi-Hiroshima bypass). Take the exit for 247 and follow it for several km, crossing 2 and continuing towards the industrial area. At the four way stop immediately after you see water to your right, take a left turn on to street 2. You’ll immediately cross a small bridge and continue for several hundred meters. Take a right at the four way stop just before the next bridge. Go two blocks, take a left, and then your next right. The building is the large one in the middle of the small peninsula. As always, be sure to double check the route before you leave and use your phone/GPS/printed map to help guide you along.
HOURS: 10:00am to 8:00pm (closes at 7:30 on Sundays)
PHONE NUMBER: 0829-34-4324
METHOD OF PAYMENT: Cash ¥