Osaka has a culture of street food, bars, and traditional taverns that predates the modern era. This led to the affectionate nickname: Japan’s Kitchen. A huge and ever-expanding range of restaurants has further cemented this reputation. Here are the five local staple foods you can try next time you come to Osaka.
Kushikatsu is breaded, deep-fried meat and vegetables, served in the simplest yet most delicious style. Of course the best part about eating kushikatsu is the Katsu sauce. The sauce is typically served up in a large trough-like bowl shared between 3 or 4 people at the counter.
Remember the golden rule: You can only dip each piece of kushikatsu in the sauce once before you eat it. Double-dipping is a massive social faux-pas.
Undoubtedly the best place in Osaka to eat kushikatsu is in the area around the Tsutenkaku Tower, a short walk from Shin Imamiya Station on the JR Loop Line.
Photo by: ginomempin
Of all of Osaka’s famous foods, Takoyaki probably has the widest-reaching reputation. Yatai, or food stalls to give them their proper name are a fixture of the summer festivals that span most of July and August all across Japan. In Osaka and the greater Kansai area, takoyaki is consistently one of the most popular foods at these stalls.
Outside of festival dates, there are various stalls dotted around the Namba and Shinsaibashi side-streets that served freshly made, piping hot takoyaki. The best stalls are probably those that line the sides of the Dotonbori, the canal that runs right through the middle of the Shinsaibashi district.
Photo by: jpellgen
This fantastic fusion of a pancake and an omelet is as filling as it is delicious. Comprising multiple layers of vegetables, meats and sometimes seafood too, okonomiyaki is, much like an omelet one of those dishes that you can literally throw together using whatever leftovers you have sitting in the fridge.
Probably the best of these is a restaurant in the Namba district of central Osaka called Fukutaro.
Photo by: City Foodsters
You will, undoubtedly, find some of the very best yakisoba there is to be found, in Osaka.
Yakisoba is available in pretty much every izakaya (Japanese pub) and restaurant in the city. But of course, you want to eat only the best. Thankfully, once again, we’ve got you covered. Yukari, an okonomiyaki restaurant that dates back to 1950, has an excellent selection of okonomiyaki. The restaurant is located in Umeda, in Osaka’s Kita ward and has the same bustling atmosphere and fast-moving service that one would expect from a typical backstreet restaurant.
Photo by: Dave Costa
Of all the local delights you will find in Osaka’s kitchens, mondanyaki is quite possibly the single most indulgent. Basically, it’s a massive, multi-layered pancake made up of alternating layers of okonomiyaki and yakisoba.
Most okonomiyaki restaurants in Osaka will offer some variant on mondanyaki, although it may not appear on the menu, so you might have to request it. Probably the best place to enjoy mondanyaki is Kiji okonomiyaki restaurant, which can be found in Umeda, a short walk from JR Osaka station.
Hungry? Check out the rest of our Famous Food in Japan series!