One of the main reasons I love to travel is because I bloody love to eat. Like, really love to eat. And it might come as a surprise that Osaka, for me, is possibly the best city in the world to do just that. If you are lucky enough to travel to this awesome city, here are 8 types of food you simply have to try.
1 – OKONOMIYAKI
Okonomiyaki is a kinda thick cabbagey pancake filled with all kinds of loveliness such as pork, squid, beef, and/or shrimp then topped with spring onions and tuna flakes, and is usually made right in front of you on a hot plate. This is such a guilty pleasure of mine. Okonomiyaki restaurants are common in Osaka, but Houzenji Sanpei does hands down the best one I’ve ever had. It’s a multitude of flavours and textures. I highly recommend the Yakisoba (fried noodles) too. Yum.
2 – TAKOYAKI
Little griddle-fried globules of salty, eggy, sweet goodness, often with a little nugget of something inside (my fave:octopus), topped with tuna flakes. Such a decedent snack that is available all over Japan and especially in Osaka. This chain does it pretty well.
3 – SUSHI
Japan’s most ubiquitous meal but one that you simply cannot miss on a trip to Osaka. There are thousands of great sushi restaurants but this place in Dotonbori is one of my faves – unpretentious, great value, healthy (i.e. big) portions, and totally delicious.
4 – RAMEN
I’ve been addicted to ramen for years. After eating in probably hundreds of ramen restaurants all over Asia, I can honestly say this place is in Osaka my favourite. With only 12 seats, you might have to wait over an hour, but it’s 100% worth it. It’s a really simple place that is all about the ramen and nothing else. Incredible.
5 – TEMPURA
You haven’t had Tempura until you’ve had it in Japan. A good Tempura – fish and vegetables fried in batter – is light, and the ingredients fresh and cooked to perfection. Much like this place, which also happens to be an absolute bargain.
6 – TEPPANYAKI
Teppanyaki is one of Japan’s most popular exports, known the world over. It’s pretty simple – various meat and veg cooked on a large flat hot plate in plenty of oil, herbs and spices. Tbh I wouldn’t have included it in this post, but I happened across an awesome and very local place run by one guy who served (in addition to beer) 3 dishes – chicken intestine, liver and what I think was cow lung. Might not sound too appetising to some people I imagine, but my lord, is it good. Around 10 sticks of intestine plus some liver and lung cost less than $5 USD. And it was so frickin tasty. It’s a really local experience and one I can’t recommend enough if you like a bit of offal!
7 – IZAKAYA
An Izakaya is one of the most common type of restaurants you will see in Japan and a truly Japanese experience. It’s basically a bar that serves barbecued meat and veg, often as well as some additional special dishes, as well as beer and sake. You usually order sticks of meat or veg which will come either in singles or pairs, and are usually priced from $2USD upwards. I’ve eaten in so many great Izakayas in Osaka but this one is pretty awesome.
8 – UNI
Sea urchin is an acquired taste. For years I didn’t like it. But then I tried it in Japan and everything changed. Proper uni doesn’t has that sea flavour. It doesn’t smell. It’s smooth, it’s light, it’s delicate. And it’s a total must-try. There are lots of little places at Kuromon Market that sell fresh uni at great prices.
There are SO MANY other types of food in Japan that you should try but as always I try to keep my posts short and sweet. If you get a chance though, try Tonkatsu, Japanese Curry and Soup Curry (not to mention Kushikatsu). And if there’s another else I’ve missed, please make a comment below!