Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, Giggly Pancakes, and More! 7 Famous Dishes You Must Eat in Osaka
Famous Food to Try in Osaka That Will Blow Your Mind
Osaka is basically food heaven. They have a ton of amazing food and a majority of it is at a reasonable price. But each region in Japan has what is considered to be their regional famous food; Tokyo has monjyayaki (もんじゃ焼き), Kyoto has yudofu (湯豆腐), Nagasaki has champon (ちゃんぽん) and sara-udon (皿うどん), etc. Since Osaka is becoming one of Japan’s most visited places, we figured it’d be best to list some of Osaka’s best and most popular food.
Osaka’s classic, takoyaki. You can find them all over Japan but they are considered true Osakan food. Most people in Osaka have special takoyaki plates at home that they bring out and have takoyaki parties! For those who don’t know what takoyaki is, it is basically balls of dough with cut octopus (or “tako” in Japanese) in the middle and cooked on a special hot plate. Once they’re done they are topped with a special takoyaki sauce that includes Worcestershire sauce and other ingredients depending on the shop. You can also choose to add mayonnaise, bonito flakes, and green seaweed flakes (青のり; aonori) ontop if you would like (which is considered common). They are super hot though, so be careful when you put one in your mouth and chew! There are plenty of places to try takoyaki in Osaka, but if you happen to be in Dotonbori (道頓堀) one of the more famous stores is Dotombori Konamon Museum (道頓堀 コナモン ミュージアム). Just look for the giant red octopus above! Or try Aizuya (元祖たこ焼き 会津屋), the Michelin Guide featured store that is said to be the inventor of takoyaki.
Okonomiyaki is often described as a savory pancake that is primarily made of eggs, flour, and cabbage and cooked on a hot iron plate. Within there you can add all sorts of meats and vegetables such as pork slices, mochi, cheese, squid…the list goes on. There is probably nothing you can’t add to okonomiyaki, which is half the fun. Plus you get to make it yourself which is part of the experience. Once it is fully cooked, you pour some okonomiyaki sauce (similar to takoyaki sauce but different), mayo, bonito flakes, and green seaweed flakes on top, cut it up and enjoy! Okonomiyaki is also available all over Japan, but Osaka is known for having “okonomiyaki pride”. There are so many famous okonomiyaki places to eat at in Osaka that range in different prices, but two restaurants that are often mentioned are Mizuno (美津の) and Botejyu (ぼてぢゅう).
Kitsune Udon (きつねうどん)
While most people think it is just an average udon that you can get anywhere, even convenience stores, kitsune udon actually originated in Osaka which makes it worth eating while there. It’s said that the first restaurant to make kitsune udon is Usamitei Matsubaya (うさみ亭 マツバヤ) in Minami-senba, Osaka. You can expect the broth to taste different, almost lighter than that compared to Tokyo’s kitsune udon. While you aren’t actually eating “kitsune” (or fox in Japanese), it is a piece of sweet deep-fried tofu on top of the udon. The reason they call kitsune udon though is said because foxes love deep-fried tofu.
Kushikatsu are skewers of meat, seafood, or vegetables that have been breaded and deep-fried until golden and golden. Some stores have special skewers, but typical items on a menu include pork, beef, shrimp, pumpkin, onion, lotus root, quail egg, small green peppers, asparagus wrapped in bacon, and shiitake mushrooms. The best way to eat kushikatsu is by dipping it in the Worcestershire sauce (if you haven’t noticed, Japan likes Worcestershire sauce) or you can eat it with a flavored salt. If you do dip the skewer in the sauce, there is a strict rule on double dipping. Since at most restaurants, the sauce is usually shared between the customers. Kushikatsu Daruma (串かつだるま) is beyond popular and you will most likely see a long line of people. Another popular place among locals is Asahi (串かつ・ホルモン専門店 朝日) in Shinsekai (新世界).
551 Horai Butaman & Uncle Rikuro Cheesecake
Although traditionally a Chinese steamed bun with a pork and vegetables filling, the butaman (豚まん) from Osaka’s 551 Horai is beyond famous and loved among locals. They sell an average of about 170,000 handmade buns a day! You can either buy their fresh buns and eat it then or buy some chilled buns that can keep for many days.(Photo source: 551 Horai)
Recently making the way across social media is Osaka’s Rikuro Ojisan (りくろーおじさん), a shop that specializes in ultra fluffy and jiggly baked cheesecakes with sweet raisins on the bottom. And it’s only available in Osaka! They use a special cream cheese imported from Denmark, milk and butter from Hokkaido, eggs, and other ingredients which creates this incredible creamy and jiggly cheesecake. The highlight is watching the freshly baked cheesecakes being stamped by an iron mold, something that the store does in front of customers.
Kuromon Ichiba Market (黒門市場)
Rather than mentioning a specific food, you can also grab a variety of local Osaka food to eat while you walk around at Kuromon Ichiba Market. It was originally a market where some Namba restaurants would get their supplies from but somewhere along the way more shops opened access to everyone making it one of Osaka’s most popular tourist spots. Sushi and sashimi are primarily the most popular things to eat here, but you can find any sort of meat or vegetable to try here.
Famous Dishes You Must Eat in Osaka
Osaka of course has so much more food to offer! Jiyuken curry, pufferfish, “horumon” (intestines), ramen, yakiniku, even the first omurice ever was created in Osaka. You are sure to eat something delicious during your stay. Be sure to keep in mind a few of these foods and restaurants we mentioned and add them your check list when you travel to Osaka!