Osaka may not be able to hold your attention for very long if you only came for sightseeing but what the city misses in attractions it certainly makes up for in food. Cafes, restaurants, coffee shops are always crowded from opening hours till they close. A Japanese friend who came to visit from Nagoya, was surprised to see the amount of people eating or drinking throughout the day.”It’s not like that in Nagoya”, she told me.
What should one eat then when they visit Osaka.
The good thing about Osaka’s food is that it is relatively cheap as you don’t necessarily have to dine in a restaurant to experience the food except for Shabu Shabu which you will discover later.Most of the food can be eaten in cheap Tachi nomiya, a place which you don’t even have to sit down, you stand up order your food and drink and eat it at the counter.
Other food like Okonomiyaki or takoyaki are also sold at small street vendors where you can buy it and take it a way to eat. Of course if you want to sit down you can also choose to each the same meal at a restaurant
One of the first questions you will be asked when you come to Osaka is “Have you eaten Takoyaki yet?” Takoyaki is the most famous food in Osaka. It is a small octopus ball cooked in flour and water with a piece of boiled octopus, served with finely chopped spring onions and covered in a flavoursome sauce. They are cooked on a hot plate filled with holes so they come out in a ball like shape. Even though they are small, be warned don’t put a full one in your mouth. They are served scolding hot.
Takoyaki’s are usually served in 6 or 12 balls depending on the size and price. Expect to pay anywhere from 300-600 yen.
Okonomiyaki falls just behind Takoyaki in the stakes as the most popular food in Osaka. The battered flat pancake like Okonomiyaki is cooked to the style of your liking mixed with cabbage, sliced pork or other meat of your preferance or shrimp or other seafood. It is grilled on a hotplate in the middle of the table, Everybody enjoys flipping the okonomiyaki over so it’s cooked perfectly on each side. It is then smeared with a special sauce,mayonnaise and topped with Katsuo-bushi(dried bonito flakes) and aonori(finely grated dried seaweed)
Okonomiyaki is especially enjoyed eating in a large group, so the okonomiyaki can be shared between a group of people. Expect to pay anywhere between 500-800 yen.
Udon may not of come from Osaka but shops owners started dropping in a thin piece of fried tofu called Kitsune to form this dish. The sweet tofu blends in well with the taste of the udon. This has become a standard dish found in any Udon shop in Osaka
Expect to pay 400-600 yen for this dish.
If you are a beer drinker then you will love Kushi Katsu. The small deep fried battered meat and vegetables skewered on bamboo sticks make a great combination with a cold beer.
There are certain sauces, condiments such as spice, salt, tartar for the kushi katsu to be dipped in depending on what has just been skewered. These are to be shared so don’t go dipping your kushi katsu into them after you have taken a bite as it is considered bad mannered.
Shabu Shabu is cooked in a nabe (hot pot) and the vegetables and tofu simmer in the boiling water, the meat either thinly sliced beef or pork is quickly dipped into the broth before being pulled out still rare or cooked to how the people prefer. The meat is then dipped in either a citron vinegar soy sauce or in a sesame sauce dip which I prefer.
What food did you eat when you were in Osaka? We would love to hear from you about your dining experience in Osaka.
To find out more about Japanese food check out this blog