Many consider Osaka to be one of the most dynamic food cities in the world today. In fact, Osaka is considered to be the “Foodie Hub” of Japan since it has the the entire “arsenal” of Japanese cuisine, both traditional and modern. Here are some of the most popular dishes to try when visiting-
TRADITIONAL JAPANESE CUISINE
OSAKA FOOD GUIDE: SUSHI
Sushi (すし, 寿司, 鮨?) is the Japanese preparation and serving of specially prepared vinegared rice (鮨飯, sushi-meshi) combined with varied ingredients (ネタ, neta) such as chiefly seafood (often uncooked), vegetables, and occasionally tropical fruits. Styles of sushi and its presentation vary widely, but the key ingredient in all cases is the sushi rice, also referred to as shari (しゃり), or sumeshi (酢飯).
From Left to Righ: Salmon, Hamachi (Yellow Fin) , Hotate (Scallop)
From Left to Righ: Ikura (Salmon Roe) and Uni (Sea Urchin)
From Left to Righ: Snow Crab and Amebi (Sweet Fresh Water Shrimp)
Chu Toro/Semi-fatty Tuna (upper left) platter accompanied by Amaebi, Hamachi, and Snow Crab
Chu Toro/Semi-fatty Tuna (upper left) platter accompanied by Hotate (Scallop) , Ika (Squid), and Ikura (Salmon Roe)
OSAKA FOOD GUIDE: RAMEN
Ramen (/ˈrɑːmən/) (ラーメン?, rāmen, IPA: [ɾaꜜːmeɴ]) is a Japanese dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or (occasionally) fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork (チャーシュー?, chāshū), dried seaweed (海苔?, nori), menma (メンマ?, menma), and green onions (葱?, negi). Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen of Kyushu to the miso ramen of Hokkaido.
OSAKA FOOD GUIDE: SHABU-SHABU
Shabu-shabu (しゃぶしゃぶ?, , also spelled syabu-syabu) is a Japanese nabemono hotpot dish of thinly sliced meat and vegetables boiled in water. The term is onomatopoeic, derived from the sound emitted when the ingredients are stirred in the cooking pot and served with dipping sauces. The food is cooked piece by piece by the diner at the table. Shabu-shabu is considered to be more savory and less sweet than sukiyaki.
Shabu-Shabu is a Japanese dish that is not as publicized as sushi. But it is very popular amongst the locals. Most well known Shabu-Shabu restaurants use premium quality Japanese beef as evidenced by the marbling of fat
The meat is cooked in chicken, beef or seafood stock depending on the restaurant.
Most restaurants take pride in making their very own Shabu-Shabu sauce (brown sauce shown below) which complements the rich flavor of the beef.
OSAKA FOOD GUIDE: SUKIYAKI
It consists of meat (usually thinly sliced beef) which is slowly cooked or simmered at the table, alongside vegetables and other ingredients, in a shallow iron pot in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. The ingredients are usually dipped in a small bowl of raw, beaten eggs after being cooked in the pot, and then eaten.
Just like the Japanese Shabu-Shabu, premium beef is used to make Sukiyaki. Initially, the beef is cooked in beef fat and brown sugar
Once cooked, the beef is dipped in raw egg which neutralizes the sweetness of the beef. Other ingredients accompanying the beef such as vegetables, tofu, etc are also cooked in sugar and beef fat.
OSAKA FOOD GUIDE: UNAGI
Grilled eel on tUnagi (うなぎ) is the Japanese word for freshwater eel, especially the Japanese eel, Anguilla japonica (nihon unagi 日本鰻 ). Unagi is a common ingredient in Japanese cooking, often as kabayaki. It is not to be confused with saltwater eel, which is known as anago in Japanese.
The eel is cooked grilled with salt or with teriyaki sauce. It is usually served over a hot bowl of rice and clear soup.
OSAKA FOOD GUIDE: UDON
Udon (饂飩?, usually written as うどん) is a type of thick wheat flour noodle of Japanese cuisine. Udon is often served hot as a noodle soup in its simplest form, as kake udon, in a mildly flavoured broth called kakejiru, which is made of dashi, soy sauce, and mirin. It is usually topped with thinly chopped scallions. Other common toppings include tempura, often prawn or kakiage (a type of mixed tempura fritter), or aburaage, a type of deep-fried tofu pockets seasoned with sugar, mirin, and soy sauce. A thin slice of kamaboko, a halfmoon-shaped fish cake, is often added. Shichimi can be added to taste.
The flavor of broth and topping vary from region to region. Usually, dark brown broth, made from dark soy sauce (koikuchi shōyu), is used in eastern Japan, and light brown broth, made from light soy sauce (usukuchi shōyu), is used in western Japan. This is even noticeable in packaged instant noodles, which are often sold in two different versions for east and west.
Here are some of the popular variations-
OSAKA FOOD GUIDE: BEEF TEPPANYAKI
The “Grandest” of all Japanese meals
Premium quality cuts are used
Each cube is cooked meticulously to ensure proper “doneness”
Beef is eaten with a dash of salt or pepper or wasabi
OSAKA FOOD GUIDE: TEMPURA
It is best to experience tempura in a specialty restaurant where one has the option to sit in the bar while the Chef cooks the tempura as you eat it.
OSAKA FOOD GUIDE: MODERN JAPANESE CUISINE
OSAKA FOOD GUIDE: FURAI
Furai is another variation of tempura with the main difference being the batter. For more information on the difference, please see the following link- http://www.mensoregirl.com/ebi-furai-deep-fried-shrimp-vs-shrimp-tempura/
Tiger Prawn Furai
Combination of green pepper, shitake mushroom, tiger prawn, and beef furai
OSAKA FOOD GUIDE: JAPANESE HAMBURG
Their own version of the American Burger Steak dish. This one is cooked in foil.
OSAKA FOOD GUIDE: JAPANESE SPAGHETTI
Spaghetti was invented in Italy but for me, they are just as good in Japan. Here are samples of unique flavors one can experience-
Japanese Pasta Carbonara
Spaghetti with Shrimp, Shitake Mushrooms and Mentaiko Sauce
Seafood pasta in tomato and cream soup
Aglio Olio Pasta with shrimps, squid, clams and ikura (salmon roe)
Spaghetti with scallops and sea urchin sauce
OSAKA FOOD GUIDE: YAKITORI
Yakitori (Japanese: 焼き鳥?, lit. grilled chicken) is a Japanese type of skewered chicken. The preparation of Yakitori involves skewering the meat with kushi (串?), a type of skewer typically made of steel, bamboo, or similar materials. Afterwards, they are grilled over a charcoal fire. During or after cooking, the meat is typically seasoned with tare sauce or salt.
Unlike other cities in Japan like Nagoya or Fukuoka which stick to the traditional way of cooking yakitori (salt or teriyaki sauce), Osaka incorporates western ingredients in their versions. And they don’t disappoint.
From Left to Right: Tiger Prawns and Grilled Scallops with Miso Sauce
Asparagus wrapped with beef and drizzled with teriyaki sauce
From Left to Right: Chicken Thighs and Pork Belly with Leeks and Onions
From Left to Right: Deboned Chicken Wing and Chicken Tail
OSAKA FOOD GUIDE: TAKOYAKI
Takoyaki (たこ焼き or 蛸焼?) is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special moulded pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise, and then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito. There are many variations to the takoyaki recipe, for example, ponzu (soy sauce with dashi and citrus vinegar), goma-dare (sesame-and-vinegar sauce) or vinegared dashi.
Yaki is derived from “yaku” (焼く?) which is one of the cooking methods in Japanese cuisine, meaning “to fry or grill”, and can be found in the names of other Japanese cuisine items such as okonomiyaki and ikayaki (another famous Osakan dishes).
A traditional snack found in the streets of Osaka. It is very unique to this city.