I started my series of Japan trip reports with a post on foods I ate in Tokyo, so what could be a more appropriate way to end the series than another post dedicated solely to food from my last destination, Osaka? Osaka is widely known as the “nation’s kitchen,” the foodie heaven, even “the food capital of the world.” Among Osaka’s signature dishes, I got to try Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) & Takoyaki. And, as a matter of fact, one (actually two) sushi feasts were the proper way to say goodbye to my awesome time in the land of the rising sun.
For our first morning in Osaka, we randomly popped into a tiny ramen restaurant called Tairyuken (branches all over Japan). It was my first ramen experience, so I don’t think I can tell how authentic it was as ramen. I believe that my order was tonkotsu ramen (540 yen), the meaty broth was of medium thickness. It tasted great at first and second slurp, very flavorful, very full-bodied, very, well, meaty. But after the initial excitement, I realized that it was deadly, deadly salty. I always try to finish whatever I order, but I gave up when I was only half way through my bowl. The friend said that ramen is always salty like that. I guess that she is right, because many customers around me were happily slurping their bowls to the last drop.
In my bowl of oceanic water was a hefty amount of semi-translucents, smooth noodles and 1 thick slice of meat. They were good, but nothing stunning.
I also ordered a plate of Jiaozi (300 yen). They were just okay. I believe that they were not handmade, but straight from the supermarket freezer and hastily fried.
Even a lot of pepper didn’t really help:
The takoyaki I had in Osaka (500 yen for 8) didn’t taste as good as what I had in Tokyo. The dough not only severely lacked that warm, spicy gingery kick, it was also gooey. I don’t know if this was truly representative of Osaka’s style or whether it was just a problem with this hawker store in Dotonbori… Wish we had more time to try takoyaki once more to figure our the answer for ourselves :\
Osaka’s most famous dish must be okonomiyaki–a kind of savory pancake with various ingredients (notably batter, cabbage, pork, cheese, seafood, egg, and okonomiyaki sauce). Again on the street of Dotonbori, we randomly passed by Chibo Okonomiyaki–a massive Okonomiyaki and Teppanyaki restaurant. It was late evening (10:30pm), but the restaurant was busier than ever and even had a queue. Little did we know that Chibo is considered one of the best places in Osaka to try Okonomiyaki; we actually popped in just because the prices listed outside the restaurant were good (none of the pancakes surpassed 900 yen). But lo, as the staff gave us the menu, all kinds of okonomiyaki were priced from 1500 yen and up -.-‘ Despite the shock, we still chose to stay and decided on the Hiroshima style okonomiyaki (1500 yen).
We had to wait for >30 minutes to get this seat in front of the okonomiyaki cooking table xD
The main ingredient of our pancake was ramen:
with additional ingredients like batter, cabbage, pork belly, egg etc.
Our pancake was very good. Sizzling hot, well-seasoned, flavorful. My second time trying okonomiyaki was a very positive experience (earlier in the evening I ate some crappy okonomiyaki at a food court near the aquarium), but I doubt that I will try this Japanese soul food again. I really, really disliked the sauce on top. There is something so pungently sweet in it that upsets my tastebud greatly.
But my two times eating sushi at the local Kura Sushi (or Kura Zushi) were excellent. A quick search of the magic keyword “cheap sushi osaka” led us to a very promising review of this place. With the help of Google Maps, we managed to get to Kura Sushi (it’s on the first floor of Hotel Sunroute, so if you search for the name of the hotel on Google Maps, you are bound to get the correct direction) from the intimidatingly gargantuan Osaka station. We had lots and lots of yummy sushi at a very reasonable price (100 yen/dish); while the quality & price cannot beat the fabulous Hamazushi in Tsukuba, they came very close. If you travel on a budget like us and yet still want some good, affordable sushi in Osaka, Kura Sushi is the place to go.
Lol the crab stick xD
My absolute favs: sardine & sea eel.
2 girls, 24 plates =))))))
My 1 week trip to Japan was simply terrific. To be honest, I have never been keen on Japan & its culture before, but the trip was an eye-opener. An amazing country with amazing scenery & even more amazing people. Definitely a place to visit again, and perhaps again.