Open Sesame Restaurant is an authentic Japanese restaurant located in Hualien. Restaurant owner Mr. Mizobichi Tsuyoshi bashfully recalls that the restaurant derived its name just because it was easy to remember and that the name itself has no special meaning. This year marks the restaurant’s 20th anniversary, and "Open Sesame" has become an integral part of people’s memories in Hualien.
Twenty years ago, in Japan, Mizobichi first met his wife Lin Xiu-Fang born and raised in Hualien, and the couple moved to Hualien from Japan after their marriage. Mizobichi, who has always had a passion for cooking, opened "Open Sesame" in 2000. He says that business was slow at the beginning because local residents were not used to Japanese-style set meals at that time. However, his perseverance paid off, and as customers gradually learned to appreciate authentic Japanese flavors, business improved. He is also delighted to have customers from three generations of the same family.
The most famous set meal at this restaurant is Tataki, also known as "Straw-burning Roasted Bonito Sashimi," which is a traditional dish from Shikoku, Japan. The bonito is roasted with burning straw to remove the odor, drizzled with citrus juice, and then patted with the back of the knife to enhance its flavor. The outer crust has burnt straw’s aroma while the interior retains the texture of fresh sashimi, imbuing the dish with particularly delicious flavors. It is a signature cuisine of limited supply and is freshly roasted and sold at the restaurant. Mizobichi adds that the Tataki set meal is also a specialty of Sakamoto Ryōma hometown. The restaurant logo was designed with reference to Sakamoto's family crest.
Mizobichi really enjoys the natural scenery in Hualien as the climate is very similar to that of his hometown, Ehime County, in Shikoku. The city is of moderate size and locally grown rice is also delicious. Mizobichi’s parents have also lived in Hualien for some time, and his father especially loves to take a walk in the city, gaze at the scenery along the streets, and savor the hospitality of the local people.
During holidays, Mizobichi likes to take his wife and children to Qixingtan Beach to enjoy ocean views as well as take a walk around Meilun Mountain. All his seven children are fully grown; some have gone to Japan for study and some have started to work, but whenever they come back to Hualien, they are sure to help out at the busy restaurant. Mizobichi also reveals that he particularly likes eating Taiwanese braised pork rice. After work, he often goes to a restaurant in front of the train station to enjoy a bowl of milkfish, which is very healing.
Open Sesame Restaurant
Address: 138, Bo’ai St., Hualien City, Hualien County 970, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Opening Hours: 11:30–14:00, 17:00–20:30(Open irregularly, please call.)