5 Must-Eats in Osaka, Japan
Osaka is GREAT. Of all the cities we visited in Japan, Osaka definitely offered some of the best street eats. One of my favourite areas in Osaka was Namba. Namba is a great area to simply wander! This is where you can find some of Osakas most frequented tourist destinations including the Dōtonbori canal where you can catch a glimpse of the infamous Glico running man! This area was where I tried some of the best street eats in Osaka! Now should you wander away from the crowds and off the beaten track, you will find many connecting alleys jam packed with restaurants and many MANY bars. It was here that we frequented our fair share of izakayas (a popular type of Japanese bar offering some of my FAVOURITE eats). Now if you have never been to an Izakaya, they are fabulous. What I love about them is that they are full of different characters and deliciously simple eats. They are the perfect way to unwind after a busy day over a beer and a whole lotta of yakitori (grilled chicken on a skewer)!
Yakitori can be found at ANY izakaya. Izakayas serve dishes in a tapas-type style where food is shared and you order as you go. Typically one starts with a quick dish such as edamame and progresses to yakitori and can finish with a more starchy dish (such as noodles or rice) to ensure one is full! Now yakitori is traditionally skewered chicken cooked over a charcoal fire. But that's not all! Yakitori doesn't start and end with chicken breast, it's whatever part of the chicken you like! From wings, to liver to even skin, whatever part of the chicken you fancy, you better believe they will cook it to perfection over charcoal. My favourite were the wings and chicken meatballs. Also skewered are a variety of vegetables, mushrooms and even quail eggs!
Find this chicken skewer (left ) or stuffed mushroom skewer (below) at one of Osakas MANY Izakaya!
Takoyaki are a popular street food especially in Osaka. They became popular when a vendor in Osaka first created this snack in 1935 and have spread in popularity across Japan. Takoyaki are a ball shaped snack made of a wheat flour-batter cooked in a ball shape pan and stuffed with minced octopus, pickled ginger, green onions and tempura flakes. These round snacks are slightly crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. Topped with Takoyaki sauce, mayonaise, seaweed and dried bonito flakes (dried smoked tuna), these bite sized snack are not to be missed when visiting Osaka!
Try these bad boys at Akatako, 1 Chome-10-5 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0071, Japan
3. Croissant Taiyaki
Traditionally Taiyaki is a fish-shaped Japanese cake filled with red bean paste. This croissant taiyaki takes a sweet spin on the Japanese classic. Using croissant pastry instead of cake batter, these treats are worth every calorie.. Filled with red bean paste, custard cream or even sweet potato, croissant taiyakis come in a variety of different and delicious flavours. To make these bad boys, street vendors use a cast iron pan shaped like a fish and fill it with pastry and the filling for your choice and then cook them to perfection. Typically coated in crystallized sugar, these treats are crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside!
Make sure you get your hands on one of these guys!
Find them in Namba!
Okonomiyaki is a savoury Japanese pancake that is absolutely delicious! Okonimi meaning "how you like it" and yaki meaning "grill", these pancakes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Now these bad boys can be found all over Japan, but tend to vary based on region. The typical Okonomiyaki found in Osaka is made with a flour batter containing sweet potato, eggs, dashi, shredded cabbage, green onions and some form of meat (octopus, pork belly, shrimp etc) or vegetables. The one I had was more of a untraditional okonomiyaki seeing as it contained udon noodles (when it contains noodles it is referred to as modan-yaki) but none the less DELICIOUS. To make this bad boy, they start by creating two crepe like circles on the grill using a thin batter. Once one crepe has been flipped, they then top it with cooked shreeded cabbage, bean sprouts, udon noodles, tempura flakes and top it off with the other crepe and a fried egg. After that, the modan-yaki is topped with okonomiyaki sauce and green onions.
5. Dessert Pancakes
Looking for a sweet end to your day? Make your way to Gram Cafe (also home to the infamous souffle pancakes) this pancake cafe serves up a variety of Instagramable and delicious pancake dessert dishes! Pictured to the right is the Tiramisu Pancake filled with coffee flavoured cream and sprinkled with chocolate! We also feasted on the seasonal feature (pictured below)! These pancakes were layered with crispy and flaky pastry, dulce de leche, peaches and pears and of course whip cream! Now the one thing that surprised me was that these pancakes are treated as a dessert meaning (they aren't served hot) so don't be surprised when your pancakes arrive cold... it's perfectly normal.
Try these bad boys at Cafe Gram! Find the closest location here!
Well dieters, happy eating!
Hopefully this gave you some guidance on where and what to eat in Osaka!
You stay hungry, and remember,
Your diet starts tomorrow!