Takoyaki is one of Osaka’s best-known fast foods. It was invented in Osaka over 80 years ago. The takoyaki you normally find is drizzled with a rich and salty-sweet sauce and mayonnaise, then topped with seaweed powder and dried bonito powder. Originally, it was seasoned simply with soy sauce. If you’d like to try different types of takoyaki, there is a nice place available for you. There are five popular shops including Aizuya, the founder of takoyaki, gathered in the Osaka Takoyaki Museum on the 4th floor of Universal Citywalk Osaka in Universal Studios Japan, approximately 10 minutes by train from Osaka Station. Price: ~1,000 yen
HP: ucw.jp/otm/ (Japanese Only)
Address: Universal Citywalk Osaka 4F, 6-2-61 Shimaya, Konohana-ku, Osaka (Google Map)
Kushikatsu is skewered deep fried meat, seafood, or vegetables served with a rich sauce. It was originally enjoyed by laborers to fill their stomach at affordable prices and is normally accompanied with a drink. It goes well with a glass of beer! Please remember that if you have a big sauce pot on your table at the kushikatsu restaurant, dip your kushikatsu in it only once before you bite. Don’t double-dip! You share the sauce pot with other patrons. To try kushikatsu, one of the most popular restaurants is Kushikatsu Daruma. This chain has several branches in Umeda and Namba, while the main shop in Shin-sekai is often presented to tourists and mass media. Price: 105 yen per piece ~
HP: www.kushikatu-daruma.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 2-3-9 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka (Google Map)
Okonomiyaki is another well-known Osaka’s street treat. It is a kind of pancake made with flour batter, egg, Japanese yam, shredded cabbage, and dashi stock, then topped with rich salty-sweet sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes, and seaweed powder. ‘Okonomi’ means ‘to your preference,’ because you can choose ingredients as you like and their variations also depend on the chef’s preference. Don’t worry, most places have suggestions on their menu and a wide variety of flavors. To try okonomiyaki, you can find countless number of shops in Osaka. Botejyu, a big chain, might be a good option to start since it’s easy to find on the bustling streets. Price: 1,000~2,000 yen
HP: www.botejyu.co.jp/ch/group/ (中文)
4. 551 HORAI Butaman
551 HORAI Butaman, Chinese pork bun, is another favorite in Osaka for both locals and visitors. Palm-sized buns packed with pork filling are mostly made and cooked in the shops. You can buy two pieces for 340 yen at their branch shops spread throughout commercial areas such as stations and department stores (depachika). Or you can visit their Chinese restaurant in Namba.
HP: www.551horai.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 3-6-3 Namba, Chuo-ku, Osaka (Google Map)
Negiyaki is a variation of okonomiyaki, made from the same kind of batter as okonomiyaki. Differences between okonomiyaki and negiyaki are is that negiyaki is made with shredded scallions, stewed beef tendon, and is topped simply with soy sauce. It’s another comfort food for locals. To try it, Negiyaki Yamamoto, the origin of negiyaki, is a popular option. They have 5 branches, including the main shop in Juso. Price: 1,000~2,000 yen
HP: www.negiyaki-yamamoto.com/ (Japanese Only)
6. Kitsune Udon
Kitsune udon is the most popular dish in udon shops in Osaka. It’s called kitsune udon because the aburaage, the deep-fried tofu that is the main ingredient of the dish, is the favorite meal of the legendary kitsune fox. It’s a very simple meal. The soup in the Kansai region is milder and sweeter than that of the kitsune udon in Kanto. Dotonbori Imai has several branches mostly found around stations. Price: ~1,000 yen.
HP: www.d-imai.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 1-7-22 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka (Google Map)
Udonsuki is hotpot served with udon noodles. Mimiu, the founder, is the best place to taste this delicacy. Udon noodles are cooked with other ingredients from the start so that it can absorb the soup. It’s served with carefully prepared ingredients such as chicken, seafood, and seasonal vegetables so you can enjoy the changing taste throughout the year. If possible, we recommend you to visit the main shop in Hiranomachi where you can dine in a relaxing two-story Japanese style building. Price: around 4,000 yen ~
HP: www.mimiu.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 4-6-18 Hiranomachi, Chuo-ku, Osaka (Google Map)
8. YakinikuTatsuo Yamashita / Flickr
Tsuruhashi is well-known for yakiniku even though you can find yakiniku restaurants across Japan. What makes Osaka different from other places is that most yakiniku places in Osaka, especially in Tsuruhashi, are run by Koreans; some have been in Japan for generations, known as Zainichi Koreans. Therefore, at these yakiniku places, you can enjoy delicious Korean dishes as well. Many places offer a wide variety of meat from inexpensive horumon (intestine) to expensive rarities. Ajiyoshi is well-known for its delicious Korean noodles. If you prefer to have vegetables as well as juicy B.B.Q, this place will make a good option. Price range: 1,000 yen per dish ~
HP: www.ajiyosi.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 2-2 Shimoajiharacho, Tennoji-ku, Osaka (Google Map)
‘Tessa’ means pufferfish sashimi. Osaka consumes almost 60% of the pufferfish catch in Japan. You can enjoy various pufferfish dishes for a less expensive price in Osaka, even though it is famous for its high price tag. In addition to its chewy taste, tessa is a beautiful delicacy when it’s prepared by skilled chef. The strips of fish are so thin that you can see the pattern of the plates. To try tessa, Genpinfugu, a big chain, might be a good option. Tessa costs less than 1,500 yen at their chains, and they offer various pufferfish dishes, too.
‘Ikayaki’ means a grilled whole squid everywhere in Japan except in Osaka. ‘Ikayaki’ in Osaka can be described as a variation of okonomiyaki. The dough and chopped squid are mixed, grilled between two iron plates, and topped with the rich sauce and mayonnaise just like okonomiyaki. You can add eggs to the dough, if you like. The most popular ikayaki in Osaka is sold in the depachika in the Hanshin department store where there is a bustling food court. You can also try it at Ikaga, located in Amerika-mura, Namba, where you can also enjoy lively street culture.
HP: www.ikayaki.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 2-12-8 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka (Google Map)