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osaka

Takoyaki and the Best Osaka Street Food!

James Lau

James Lau

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A plate of takoyaki (octopus balls) on a delicious platter.

Takoyaki and other dishes are very famous! Osakans call their love of food “Kuidadore,” which means “eat until you drop.” With a phrase like that, it’s no wonder Osaka has some of Japan’s best and most iconic street food!

Takoyaki

Takoyaki is a popular Japanese snack made of small, round balls of batter filled with small pieces of octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion. The balls are cooked in a special takoyaki pan with half-sphere molds and constantly rotated to ensure they cook evenly. They are then served hot, often topped with a sweet and savory sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes.

Another plate of takoyaki.
Takoyaki is one of Osaka’s more iconic dishes. Image via Shutterstock

Takoyaki is an especially legendary Osaka street food. Accordingly, the first takoyaki restaurant in Osaka was opened in the 1930s, and the dish quickly became popular with locals and tourists alike. Today, you can find takoyaki stands throughout the city, particularly in the bustling Dotonbori area. In addition to traditional takoyaki, some vendors offer creative variations, such as takoyaki filling with cheese or shaved truffles.

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a savory Japanese pancake with various ingredients, including cabbage, pork belly, seafood, and noodles. In addition, the name “okonomiyaki” roughly translates to “grill what you like,” as it’s a dish that can be customized to the individual’s preferences.

A savory pancake, or okonomiyaki on a griddle. It's just as savory as takoyaki.
Okonomiyaki can use any filling or ingredients you want! Image via Shutterstock

Like takoyaki, okonomiyaki has a strong association with Osaka. The city is famous for its okonomiyaki style, or “Osaka-style”. This dish version typically includes a batter of flour, eggs, dashi, shredded cabbage, pork belly, and other ingredients. 

Furthermore, the fresh-off-the-griddle pancake has sweet and savory sauce toppings: mayonnaise and bonito flakes. Accordingly, some popular okonomiyaki restaurants in Osaka include Chibo and Okonomiyaki Kiji.

Are you looking to savor more legendary Japanese food like takoyaki? Check out Sakuraco! Sakuraco delivers traditional Japanese snacks, teas, sweets, and snacks from local Japanese makers directly to your door so you can enjoy the latest treats from Japan!

Fugu

Fugu is a delicacy of pufferfish meat. However, the fish is highly toxic without proper preparation, as it contains a potent neurotoxin that can be deadly to humans. Therefore, only licensed chefs with years of specialized training can prepare fugu. The meat usually comes in raw, thin slices on a beautiful plate.

A hotpot of fugu blowfish meat.
Fugu is risky but delectable. Image via Shutterstock

While gourmands don’t specifically associate fugu with Osaka, the city has several high-end fugu restaurants. These restaurants typically have specially trained chefs skilled at preparing the fish safely and expertly. Some of the most famous fugu restaurants in Osaka include Zuboraya and Tsuribun. It also comes in nabe as well.

Kushikatsu

Kushikatsu is deep-fried food on skewers. It uses meat, seafood, or vegetables, which people coat in a light batter and fry until crispy. Moreover, they come with a dipping sauce, varying depending on the region. Typical dipping sauces include Worcestershire sauce, tonkatsu sauce, and miso sauce.

A big platter of kushikatsu, which is a bunch of deep-fried meats and vegetables.
Kushikatsu has an array of foods you can pick up! Image via Shutterstock

Kushikatsu is another Osaka specialty that visitors and locals love. The city has numerous kushikatsu restaurants, particularly in the Shinsekai neighborhood. In addition, one of Osaka’s most famous kushikatsu restaurants is Daruma; it’s been serving kushikatsu since the 1920s.

Kitsune Udon

Kitsune udon is a Japanese noodle soup with thick, chewy udon noodles in a dashi broth. Its name comes from the fried tofu topping called “kitsune” in Japanese. The tofu has a sweet soy sauce flavor, adding a rich, savory flavor to the soup. Other typical toppings for kitsune udon include green onion, fish cake, and tempura.

A bowl of kitsune udon which has thick noodles, seaweed and fried tofu. Takoyaki is just as famous as this dish.
Kitsune udon uses fried tofu! Image via Shutterstock

Kitsune udon is a popular dish throughout Japan, but most people connect it to which includes Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. It originated at a restaurant called Usami-tei Matsubara in Minami-semba, Osaka. 

In addition to the sweet tofu used in kitsune udon, other standard toppings in Osaka include tempura shrimp and vegetables and thinly sliced beef. Some recommended places to try kitsune udon in Osaka include Marukame Seimen and Tsurutontan.

Yakiniku

Yakiniku is a popular style of Japanese barbecue in which diners cook small pieces of meat, seafood, and vegetables on a grill at their table. The name yakiniku means “grilled meat” in Japanese. The dish came from Korea, and a Korean Osaka resident was introduced to Japan in the early 20th century. It is now an essential part of Japanese cuisine.

Grilled meat, or yakiniku being cooked on a grill. People serve it with takoyaki.
Yakiniku is very famous in Osaka! Image via Shutterstock

Yakiniku restaurants are favorites throughout Japan. Yakiniku is a simple dish, with diners grilling their food and sharing dishes. It is often accompanied by beer or sake, and some yakiniku restaurants offer all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink options. 

While beef and pork are the most common options, other meats at yakiniku restaurants include chicken, lamb, and tongue. Seafood such as shrimp, squid, and scallops may also be available. Vegetables like mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers often complement the meat.

Osaka is home to several excellent yakiniku restaurants, many of which offer high-quality cuts of meat and a wide range of side dishes and sauces. Some popular yakiniku restaurants in Osaka include Rikyu, Jojoen, and Horumon Yukari. Have you ever tried Osaka food before? Let us know in the comments below!

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