Takoyaki is one of the most popular street foods in Osaka! It is made with a mixture of wheat flour and soup broth, and cooked with a hot cast-iron pan molded with a bunch of small balls like a ping-pong ball. Traditionally, it is filled with diced octopus, green onion, red pickled ginger, and if desired, deep-fried bonito flakes may be added. Takoyaki is usually served with takoyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise, along with green powdered seaweed and dried bonito flakes. There are many takoyaki restaurant chains throughout Japan that have originated in Osaka.
Okonomiyaki is a type of Japanese savory pancake. Okonomi means “as you like it” and yaki means “grilled”, so you can literally make your own dish. The batter is made with wheat flour, water, eggs, Japanese yam, shredded cabbage, and usually adds either pork belly slices or fresh seafood, topped with similar sauces and seasonings that Takoyaki is served. There are two different types of okonomiyaki, Osaka-style and Hiroshima-style. If you are in Osaka, you should definitely try Osaka-style okonomiyaki!
#3. Kasu Udon
Kasu Udon is a local dish in southern Osaka. Kasu refers to “Aburakasu”, deep-fried small intestine from cows. It’s high in protein, low-fat, and full of collagen so that it’s been a popular topping for Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, and some udon dishes among local people in the Minami Kawachi region. A lot of Kasu Udon restaurants are open until midnight or early in the morning, so these restaurants are often crowded with customers who crave for a late-night snack such as a ramen after a couple of drinks. Indeed, Kasu Udon is easy to digest rather than some oily noodles. If you want something light to eat during the night, drop by the local Kasu Udon restaurant – you will love it!
Hakozushi is also known as “Oshi (pressed) sushi” or “Osaka sushi” which is a traditional form of boxed style sushi in Osaka. Hakozushi is made with a layer of ingredients such as shrimp, sliced fish and su-meshi (vinegar sushi rice), and pressed with a square or rectangular shaped wooden box. The sushi is removed from the wooden box and then cut into small pieces before they are served. Hakozushi that is created by wooden-box artisans and professional sushi chefs has become a very popular traditional dish for showing kind hospitality toward guests.
Kushi katsu was born in Shinsekai where the famous landmark of Osaka, Tsutenkaku, is located. Kushikatsu is a dish of deep-fried skewered meat, seafood or vegetables that have been cut into small portions. It is served hot with a sauce which each restaurant has its own unique flavor. The sauce container is normally shared among customers, so you are supposed not to dip kushi katsu into the shared sauce container once you bite it. Depending on restaurants, you may see a sign like “Don’t dip twice!” on the container, so you will use a slice of cabbage as a spoon sauce or in some restaurants they offer a brush or regular spoon.
Tecchiri is a Japanese-style hot pot which is the most popular in the Kansai region. Tecchiri is also known as “Fugu nabe” (puffer fish hot pot) in which puffer fish slices and bones are cooked together with some vegetables in the konbu (kelp) soup stock, and served in a Japanese-style clay pot. Dipping into ponzu sauce (citrus-based sauce) is a popular way to eat for people in Kansai. Fugu is in season from the autumn to early spring, but winter is the best season to eat because we can also eat shirako (soft roe) which is a seasonal delicacy in Japan.
Doteyaki is also the well-known dish such as Kushikatsu in the Shinsekai area. It is sometimes called “Doteni” or simply “Do”. Doteyaki is a dish with beef tendon simmered with miso and mirin (sweet cooking rice wine) for several hours. The dish is normally served with chopped green onions and shichimi togarashi (Japanese chili spice mix). It actually goes great with beer!
In Japan, the word “Ikayaki” refers to baked or grilled whole squid, but the Osaka-style Ikayaki looks like a pancake! The Ikayaki is made with chopped squid and the batter that is made of wheat flour and water, and pressed with a hot iron plate. It takes only a few minutes to cook, and is often served sweet and spicy sauce. It has been a snack or sometimes as a main dish for kids in Osaka, so Ikayaki is a soul food.
#9. Harihari nabe
Harihari nabe is another Japanese-style hot pot such as Tecchiri that is popular in Osaka. Traditionally, Harihari nabe is made with minke whale meat and mizuna (potherb mustard) because whale meat was abundant so that it was an inexpensive ingredient. However, since commercial whaling has banned, whale meat was substituted by pork or duck meats. The word “Hari” means a needle although there is no sharp thing in the dish. Rather, the needle refers to the shape of mizuna leaves which looks pointy as a needle.