With a local motto of ‘kuidadore’ (meaning ‘eat till you drop’), it’s no surprise that most of the weight I’d lost after 3 weeks in China has nearly all gone back on. Osaka has been claimed to not only be the food capital of Japan, but possibly the food capital of the world. After being here for 8 days, I can most certainly agree.
In a nutshell, wherever you go in Osaka you’ll find great food. The only problem, especially when feeling indecisive (Rob!!!!), is what to eat. However if you are visiting this great city, there are certain areas you must visit and certain foods you must try.
What to eat?
- Sashimi – (my favourite) fresh raw meat or fish sliced into thin pieces, eaten with soy sauce and ginger or wasabi
- Karaage – (Rob’s favourite) fried chicken
- Ramen – noodles served in a broth, topped with meat, nori (dried seaweed) and onions
- Taiyaki – fish shaped cake often filled with red bean paste, but personally I prefer the sweet potato filling
- Takoyaki – balls of batter filled with diced octopus and cooked in special moulded pans
- Kobe beef – meat from the Tajima (Japanese black cattle) who are rumoured to be fed beer, massaged and played classical music producing rich marble effected meat
- Okonomiyaki – savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients hence the name ‘okonomi’, meaning ‘what you like’ and ‘yaki’ meaning ‘grill’
- Gyoza – fried dumplings
- Kushikatsu – deep-fried skewered meat and vegetables, a favourite of mine being ginger
Where to eat?
- Dotonburi – Famous for it’s illuminated adverts (Glico running man), Dotonburi is a very hectic street filled with every type of Japanese food you can think of. Queues go way back as people wait around for fresh takoyaki. But always remember in Japan, never eat whilst walking, make sure you stop and stand or sit next to where you buy your food and enjoy it properly.
- Kuromon Ichiba Market – If you love fish, this place is heaven. From sea urchins, to whale, to tuna, to weird mini octopus. This place has it all. You can also buy fresh fruit and veg here which isn’t so easy to find in the convenience stores. Again, whatever you buy, if it’s to eat there and then, eat it outside the stall you buy from. Don’t walk around with it.
- Temma – If you want to get away from the tourists, Temma is the one. Full of izakaya’s which I’d compare to English old men’s pubs, here you can join the locals (mainly men in suits) with a sake, Asahi beer or highball accompanied by some sashimi or kushikatsu. This is definitely my favourite way to eat, the locals are so welcoming, everyone ‘campiiii’s’ (cheers) and despite not speaking much English are extremely helpful at suggesting the best things to order (especially as the menu’s tend to be post-it notes around the wall and unable to be translated).
- 7 11 – Finally and maybe saving the best till last. Whilst in Japan you can’t avoid 7 11, Family Mart or Lawsons. These convenience stores are great when travelling on a budget. You can get your karaage, iced coffee and sushi all from here to take as a packed lunch or eat back at the hostel for dinner. It’s like M&S food, but 10 times better. The only problem is, as it’s ‘convenient’ there is so much plastic! Another struggle we’re having similar to China is saying ‘no carrier bag thanks’ or ‘no plastic fork please’.
Tonight is our last night in Osaka and I’ll be very sad to say goodbye to the place. Unsure yet what I’m going to have as my last Osaka meal, such a big dilemma! The people have been so friendly, the food really has been amazing and the place just generally has a great vibe. Tomorrow we’re off to Kyoto, as always, any suggestions please get in touch!