Osaka is often called the fried food capital of Japan (or at least I call it that). With a population of people who are famous for their upfront and straightforward nature and Osaka-ben style of speech, Osaka is a great place in Japan to visit. Furthermore, most people who visit praise the distinctly Osaka styled cuisine, from street food to restaurants.
So if you’re heading off to Osaka anytime soon, here are the five must-eat dishes!
Hands down, takoyaki is the most famous food in Osaka. Takoyaki is a slice of raw octopus, fried in balls of salty pancake batter. Depending on the location, it will have different inserts – the most common of which are cheese, red pickled ginger, and negi spring onions. Takoyaki is served fresh in paper containers of six to eight balls.
The usual toppings for takoyaki are Japanese mayonnaise, sweet BBQ sauce, fish flakes, and seaweed. If you want to cut calories, you can ask for less sauce… but takoyaki is pretty unhealthy, through and through. There isn’t an easy way to cut calories.
While you can find takoyaki all around Japan, no one can argue that Osaka has that the highest concentration of takoyaki; ask any Japanese person what city they think of when they see takoyaki and they will reply “Osaka.”
Kakigori is one of my personal favorite deserts in Japan. This summer dish is shaved ice with a thick syrup. The cheapest kinds are available on most street corners during the summer. Their flavors are typically “Blue Hawaii,” “Strawberry,” “Lemon,” “Melon,” and many others. They will also typically add a sweet white cream topping.
High end kakigori, on the other hand, is a whole new ball game. This delicate desert if typically macha green tea flavored, with delicate flakes and a thorough (but not smothering) taste. It is accompanied by anko red bean paste, ice cream, and sweet mocha pounded rice.
Okonomiyaki, often described as a Japanese pancake, is one of the other famous Osaka cuisines. With ingredients very similar to takoyaki, it is a foreigner favorite.
Okonomiyaki is roughly the size of a small plate. It is batter with cabbage and meat (beef, pork, chicken, squid, etc), fried in on a stove in front of you. The best part of okonomiyaki is the fact you are often allowed to cook the okonomiyaki yourself. The restaurant provides a bowl of ingredients; you can choose the size, thickness, and desired crispness of your okonomiyaki dinner.
Just like takoyaki, the usual toppings are Japanese mayonnaise, sweet BBQ sauce, fish flakes, and seaweed.
Kaitenzushi is a foreigner favorite in Japan, regardless of the city. Kaiten sushi is rotator belt sushi. Most people have seen it in movies and advertisements. It’s fantastic because you can eat as much, or as little, as you would like.
Some people like to order the same thing over and over again; others use this as a chance to try as many Japanese fish as they can.
5. Yakisoba pan
Yakisoba pan is not a full meal; it is a great thing to try when you just need a snack in Osaka. It is yakisoba fried noodles with a red pickled ginger topping, smashed inside a hotdog bun. Yakisoba pan (also known as Yakisoba bread) is sold at most convenience stores in Japan.
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