Nestled in the Kansai region of Honshu, in which the Yodo and Yamato rivers flow through, one can venture to find Osaka prefecture. The Osakaans are well known for being super friendly and outgoing, which makes it very welcoming for tourists.
However, not many will know that this prefecture goes by another name; “the nation’s kitchen” since it was the center point for trade and food storage back then. Since you would traditionally store food in your household kitchen, Osaka therefore got this name.
Therefore, Osaka has a lot to offer when it comes to food but, we narrowed down 5 of the most amazing foods you can feast your eyes upon when visiting Osaka prefecture, and must definitely try before even thinking of leaving! Let’s get into it, shall we?
During the post-war era when food became short in supply, this dish came to life as whatever ingredients were on hand were mixed together to create the delicious, thick and savoury pancake we all love, known as Okonomiyaki.The name itself literally translates to “grilled as you like it”, and still hold true to its name as it’s quite the versatile food item found in Japan’s street food items!
The batter is mainly made of flour, eggs, grated yam and shredded cabbage, but as the name suggests, you can add a variety of ingredients ranging from thin pork slices, shrimp, squid to even having cheese, kimchi or chewy mochi.
That’s not all! Once completely grilled, it’s topped off with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, powdered nori seaweed and tons of dried bonito flakes that move and it looks like they’re doing a dance! (lol)
Maybe we can call it Okonomiyaki’s Kansai cousin, but nonetheless, Negi yaki is a savoury pancake similar to okonomiyaki. However, it is instead filled and layered with tons of green onions/ Japanese leek (negi), along with other delicious components!
While you can find Okonomiyaki all over the Kansai region, Negi yaki is one that remains native to the Osakaan prefecture in which you should definitely try!
With a crispy outer surface, indulge into that crunch and savour the richness and sweetness of the green onions. It’s definitely a different style you’d want to relish in and enjoy! (I can taste it already).
Another street food item not to be missed on your Osaka trip is…..drum roll please….Takoyaki! I’ve actually never known the name since I learnt it as octopus balls after watching Medabots as a kid as Ikki tried to find the perfect octopus balls! (this episode was funny!)
Now to the present age, Takoyaki still remains a beloved street food as it was first invented here! By using a special pan with rounded moulds, batter is added with pieces of bite-sized octopus, ginger, spring onions and tempura crumbs, which is then cooked into their signature ball shape.
You can eat it plainly or it can be topped off with delicious takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise, powdered nori and dried bonito flakes. To enjoy it at its best, it’s highly recommended eating it hot off the mould!
Takoyaki remains ever so popular even at the stalls of summer festivals or at an Izakaya as its salty taste makes a great pairing with alcohol!
Skewered foods are quite the scene in the Asian food industry, with them ranging from grilled foods, fried foods or foods boiled hours away in a sauce. So it’s no surprise to find your meat and vegetables all skewered, coated in panko and deep fried to a golden-brown crisp!
Find crispy fried meats (like pork, beef, shrimp) and vegetables (like lotus root, pumpkin, sweet potato, shiitake mushrooms) served to you fresh out the fryer with a delicious, thick dipping sauce.
It’s vital you remember this key piece of information; DO NOT DOUBLE DIP! At most restaurants, everyone is using the same sauce can and it will be considered bad manners!
Next, we must make mention about Osaka’s most foxiest dish (haha).
Udon; a thick, chewy noodle made by using wheat flour and loved by many within the Japanese cuisine kingdom. A comfort food for many, it can be prepared in several ways but Kitsune udon is one that remains popular in the Kansai region.
Don’t be alarmed by the name, which translates to “fox noodles” as no real foxes were harmed in the making of this dish. It actually comes from a folktale where the fox really loves to eat Aburagge (deep-fried tofu), which is the main topping of this dish.
Of course you can find this dish in the Kanto region, but did you know that the first restaurant to make this dish is found in Minami-senba, Osaka? Then what makes it different? The distinction lies in the broth, as it’s much lighter in flavour as opposed to a bowl of Kitsune udon found in Tokyo, and therefore is quite popular with the kids!
Have you enjoyed feasting your eyes on the delicious foods from Japan’s super commercial prefecture? Filled with many foodie adventures yet to be discovered, don’t miss out on Osaka the next time you’re planning your trip! It will be worth it! (yum)