Planning to visit Osaka? Or perhaps you’re already in the city looking for some authentic local food to try during your visit? If you’re a food lover and lucky to not have allergies on certain food—(unlike me *sobs**) —, then you can enjoy them all. Osaka is Japan’s second largest city (after Tokyo) and is famous for their food. Osakans’ love for food is evident by the number of restaurants, both small and large ones, around the city.
Cooking and dining is a significant part of Osaka’s popular culture and it’s rich history. In fact, there’s a saying in Japan that goes, “Kyoto’s people are financially ruined by overspending on clothing, Osaka’s, by spending on food.” They also have the term “Kuidaore” which means eat until you drop or as the dictionary suggests-bringing ruin upon oneself by extravagance in food.
Here’s the list I’ve came up after asking a local and by doing a little bit of research:
Although this food is widely available anywhere in the country, toppings and flavor is different in every region, it is said to have originated in Osaka. It is a pancake-like dish wherein shredded cabbage and other ingredients such as meat, green onion, squid, shrimp or octopus are combined to the flour based batter, and usually topped with okonomiyaki sauce, mayo and katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
Another Japan’s favorite which originated in Osaka is Takoyaki. It’s a round-shaped snack made from wheat flour based batter and filled with small pieces or diced octopus. The word “tako” means octopus and “yaki” (from the word yaku) means to fry or to grill.
This is one of my favorite foods here in Japan. Kushikatsu is breaded, deep-fried meat, vegetables and seafood on a skewer. It is said to have originated in Shinsekai, the Osaka City’s downtown in Minami (south). Even today, that place is where you can find lots of restaurant serving Kushikatsu, so if you want to try one, it’s the best place to go.
4. Kitsune Udon
It is literally means “fox udon(noodles)”. You might think that the main ingredient is fox meat, but no, it’s just a name. Kitsune udon is noodle soup topped with aburaage(deep-fried tofu) which according to Japanese folktales, aburaage is kitsune’s(fox) favorite, hence the name.
5. Hakozuhi or Oshizushi
One of the famous food in Japan is sushi, and wherever you go in the country you can find restaurants serving sushi. However, Osaka has its own unique version of it, which is Hakozushi/oshizushi. Unlike the Tokyo(Edo style) sushi which is made from fresh raw fish and cooked rice, Hakozushi’s ingredients are either cooked or cured. The rice and other ingredients are layered in pressed into a wooden box. Another must try to add on your list.
Doteyaki is a miso-and-mirin-based stewed beef sinew. Like the Kushikatsu, Doteyaki, is also famous in restaurants in Shensekai district. Although I’ve tried it in an Izakaya bar near my place, it’s one of the authentic local foods here Osaka that I really love.
Best Place to Eat?
Dotonbori is popular food destination for tourists and locals alike. There are also many restaurant in Namba area where you can try different kinds of food. As I’ve mentioned above, Shinsekai district is a must visit not only you can enjoy the food, but you can also visit the Tsutenkaku Tower, the district’s symbol/Landmark.
Other Food to Try
I suggest that you should also try other foods that are famous in Osaka, although they didn’t originated in the city but for me they should be included on your must try list:
- Butaman (551)-people always on a long line in 2 of the shops I visited( in Tennoji and Namba)
- Japanese curry
- sushi and sashimi
Please check out my youtube video:
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved”-1 Corinthians 10:31-33