Working as travel guide, the number one question I always get is: "What foods do you recommend us to eat?". I thought I should make a list of the most popular foods in Osaka, with a couple of restaurant recommendations to help you out. Here they are, in no particular order:
- Kitsune Udon
Takoyaki is a deep-fried wheat ball, filled with minced octopus, tempura scraps, pickles ginger and green onion. We then sprinkle them with bonito shavings, takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise! So good!
This delicious food was invented in Osaka by a street vendor, and it's still sold at street stalls called yatai.
Osaka food guide: Where to go for Takoyaki
Usually we buy takoyaki from street vendors or Japanese festivals. They are a very popular street food, but we can also get them at izakaya with a cold beer.
- Takoya (多幸屋, 福島)
You can eat many kinds of dishes which octopus is used in this restaurant. Of course, they will serve you freshly grilled Takoyaki, cooked at Yatai outside the restaurant. If you want, you can take out Takoyaki from that Yatai as well.
- Wanaka（たこ焼き道楽 わなか 千日前本店, 千日前
This Takoyaki shop is really famous and popular among local people in Osaka because it’s tasty and reasonably inexpensive considering to Takoyaki in other shops. They also serve freshly grilled Takoyaki to you at Yatai.
It's a style of Japanese pancake made of a variety of ingredients. In Japanese okonomi means choice and yaki means fried. This is the Japanese comfort food, much like a pizza. You mixed your ingredients, usally pork belly slices, cabbage, tempura scraps, add a egg to make it moist, stir ir up and grill it in a teppan fitted tabled.
The toppings are similar to the ones used in takoyaki: okonomiyaki sauce, bonito flakes, mayonnaise and pickled ginger.
Osaka food guide: Where to go for Okonomiyaki
This Michelin starred Okonomiyaki shop serves finest Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake) in Osaka. It is located near Dotonbori which is a downtown of Osaka. Their okonomiyaki has special smell and taste of Japanese soup (Dashi) that no other okonomiyaki shops can imitate. We recommend to order “Mix Okonomiyaki”, a combination of various types of ingredients if you are a first timer.
- Tsuruya(つる家, 東梅田)
This Okonomiyaki restaurant has started business since 1950. This restaurant is also popular among the local people in Osaka. You can cook Okonomiyaki by yourself if you want.
3. Kitsune udon
There are many types of udon, but Osaka has it's own version: Kitsune udon. In this dish the noodles are topped with aburaage (sweetened deep-fried tofu pockets)
Kitsune means fox in Japanese but because of dish's popularity, now it also refers to this type udon.
Osaka food guide: Where to go for Kitsune udon
- Dotonbori Imai
Dotonbori Imai is one of the oldest restaurants serving Kitsune udon, located near Dotonbori.
From daytime to nighttime, it is always crowded with local people who are obsessed with its crunchy udon noodles and fish based Japanese soup
- Hanakiri (うどん割烹 花きり, 西梅田)
You can eat really tasty Kitsune Udon here, and you can get it with a combo of Tempura and Takikomi Gohan, which are so delicious as well.
This food is deep-fried skewers of meat and vegetables. In Japanese, kushi means skewers and katsu refers to a deep fried cutlet of meat.
- bara 腹 (はら)
- hire ヒレ
beef or pork tenderloin
- renkon 蓮根 (れんこん)
- ebi 海老 (えび)
- shiitake 椎茸 (しいたけ)
- chiizu チーズ
There are specialized kushikatsu restaurants in Osaka, as the dish is said to have first appeared at food bars in downtown Osaka.
How to eat kushikatsu?
In Osaka there is one rule for eating kushikatsu. Dip your skewer only once!
When you order your skewers you share the dip sauce with other customers, so for the sake of good manners, you dip it once and only once, and then you eat it :)
Osaka food guide: Where to go for Kushikatsu
- Kushikatsu Daruma(串かつ だるま, 新世界)
This Specilized kushikatsu restaurant is the first restaurant serving Kushikatsu. Every ingredients is so big, especially seafood. Of course you can eat fried red ginger, which is local food in Osaka.
- Yaekatsu (八重勝, 新世界)
This is also a really famous Kushikatsu restaurant in Osaka. Many people are making a long line to eat Kushikatsu here every day.
5. Steamed Meat Bun (Butaman)
Steamed meat bun is an icon of Osaka because of the one shop, Horai 551. The simple food with packed pork filling inside the large size bun.represent mentality and vitality of Osaka’s people. In Shinkansen (bullet trains), you’ll see lots of local people eating this steamed buns.
Osaka Food Guide: Where to go for Butaman
- Horai 551
The 551 Horai pork bun, long-loved as the taste of Osaka, is a symbol of Osaka food . It is so popular that applox. 200k buns are sold a day on average. Each pork bun is made by hand. The Horai 551 pork buns have plenty of juicy ingredients inside the bouncy bread.
This completes my list of recommendations for foods in Osaka. I hope you liked it!
There are so many more dishes to try... Let me know in the comments what you want to try!
By the way, I currently work as a guide for a Bar Hopping Tour in Osaka. If you're interested let me know!