Could Osaka be Japan’s Food Capital?
Beware when in Osaka… I found my cash depleting at an unimaginable rate whenever i visit Osaka, which in my opinion is the food capital of Japan!
Don’t get me wrong… Compared to cities like Tokyo and Kyoto, Osaka is definitely more affordable.
In Osaka, I was overwhelmed by the variety of food, and I never found myself feeling a tinge of hunger.
I learnt that takoyaki was birthed here in the streets of Osaka and I have never found as many takoyaki stands in another city in the world.
I have been making a yearly pilgrimage to Osaka for the past three years and here are some of the dishes I would not miss:
#1 たこ焼き (takoyaki)
If you are not familiar with takoyaki, these are wheat flour ball filled with a chunk of octopus.
I already love regular takoyaki, I found a variation that me fall in love more with, takosen.
Takosen are takoyaki balls served squashed between two sheets of senbei, perfectly marrying the senbei‘s crisp texture and the tender takoyaki balls.
Personally, I like the popular chain わなか (wanaka) as they have been pretty consistent with their food quality.
Cost: 8 for ¥500, 12 for ¥700, 15 for ¥800
#2 串かつ (kushikatsu)
Kushikatsu is a generic term for deep-fried skewered meat, seafood or vegetables, coated in batter and panko. Do note that there is a strict etiquette on the dipping sauce.
There is an indescribable satisfaction when the juices from the encrusted insides of the skewers as you bite into them while the sauce activates your taste buds.
Kushikatsu joints are easy to find all over Osaka, especially when you are in the main shopping streets of Dotonburi. Just look out for the signs showing 串かつ (kushikatsu).
My personal favorite place for kushikatsu would be 八重勝 (yaekatsu), a shop nestled within an old shopping street in Shinsekai.
Cost: range from ¥100 to ¥350 per skewer
#3 お好み焼き (okonomiyaki)
While this vegetable pancake dish can be found in most of Japan, the dish usually comes in two styles, the Kansai/Osaka style or the Hiroshima style.
In the Osaka style, the ingredients are mixed together with the batter and spread onto a hot flat-grill or 鉄板 (teppan).
味乃家 (ajinoya) is the usual go to place for me, and note that this place gets crowded during meal times!
Cost: usually starts around ¥1,200 depending on the type of ingredients you choose
#4 牛かつ (gyu katsu)
Like its cousin the tonkatsu (pork cutlet), gyu katsu features a deep-fried breaded beef steak.
Even though the crust is crispy and golden brown, the beef within is still rare, allowing you the chance to cook it to your preference on the mini grill provided. The dish is served with rice and pickles.
牛かつもと村 (gyukatsu motomura) serves affordable quality gyu katsu.
Cost: starts at ¥1,200 for 130g beef steak
#5 海鮮丼 (kaisendon)
Kaisendon is a simple and yet luxurious dish, with the freshest seasonal seafood arranged over sushi-seasoned rice, served like a bouquet of flowers.
Kaisendon should be carefully savoured by tasting each piece of seafood individually with a small ball of rice.
This allows the sweetness and texture to be enjoyed individually.
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