Osaka is known for being ‘Japan’s kitchen,’ because it’s where some of Japan’s most well-known comfort foods have come from. Two of Japan’s most famous, fried comfort foods are Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki, both of which originate from Osaka! I was pretty excited to get stuck into some proper Osaka grub…
JAPANESE CURRY. OOMPH. Yeah, it doesn’t look too pretty, but it was tasty as HECK. Super sticky rice, lots of nommy Japanese vegetables, including my fave kabocha, and a thick, oily dark curry sauce. Not the healthiest meal, but it sure filled us up for a long day of walking and sight-seeing.
Next, we headed down to the basement of the Umeda Sky Building searching for some quality Okonomiyaki. The basement is done up like an old-time, traditional Japanese marketplace; it was pretty cute and quaint to walk around.
We tried to go to an Okonomiyaki place called Kiji, which I’d read a lot of good things about, but unfortunately it was closed for a three-hour lunch break…
…so we headed somewhere else instead!
Now, I couldn’t tell you if this was good Okonomiyaki or not; it looked pretty well-presented, but we really, REALLY, did not enjoy the taste. Okonomiyaki is an egg and batter mixture, with meat or seafood scrambled in, then fried and topped with sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito fish flakes. It was pretty goopy, and sweet and savory at the same time, in a sickening sort of way. Okonomiyaki is a HUGELY popular dish, so please don’t pass it up just because I think it’s nasty.
To cleanse our palates and fill our tummies (after leaving more than half of our Okonomiyakis on the hot plate…sorry), we headed for some sushi.
We found this place inside the Shinsaibashi shopping arcade; I’m pretty sure it’s a chain, but it seemed super popular with the locals, so we decided to go in.
It was a typical-looking sushi train, but there were little signs riding around next to the plates of sushi, announcing what was in each dish (in Japanese and English!) So, that was super nice for a seafood-avoider like myself.
I stuck with a few plates of trusty Maki and Inari sushi, both of which were super tasty. The Inari sushi had little bits of pickled ginger inside of it, which I hadn’t experienced anywhere before, and really enjoyed!
Eoin, on the other hand, dove straight into the fishy stuff.
He said it was by far the best, freshest sushi he’d ever had; the fish just melted into his mouth. His favorite was that wasabi-topped mackerel.
Poor little squid legs (or ‘spuid’, as the accompanying Engrish sign announced.)
Oh Mr. Octopus, wahh! I wanted to cry when Eoin stuck this guy in his mouth.
Big ol’ tuna chunks.
For an evening snack, Eoin queued up at the most popular Takoyaki stand in Shinsaibashi, for some deep-fried octopus legs (wahh!)
Takoyaki is probably Japan’s most famous food-export in Korea; there aren’t all that many sushi restaurants here, but there are Takoyaki stands EVERYWHERE.
Takoyaki are deep-fried octopus batter balls, topped with the same stuff as Okonomiyaki: sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes.
I didn’t try them, and I’m glad I didn’t, because Mr. Always-Hungry-Eoin could only manage one and a half before he felt like tossing his cookies. He said they were basically like balls of seafood-flavored custard. Regardless, they are SUPER popular snacks in and outside of Japan.
Aside from the curry and the sushi, we weren’t too impressed with the food in Osaka. We went to a couple vegan restaurants, too, but they really weren’t worth photographing. Seoul is still our champion for good eats in Asia!