Osaka Food Guide: Top Dishes of Osaka

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).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sushi

From Left to Righ:  Salmon, Hamachi (Yellow Fin) , Hotate (Scallop)

Osaka Food: Salmon, Hamachi, and Hotate Sushi

From Left to Righ:  Ikura (Salmon Roe) and Uni (Sea Urchin)

Osaka Food: Ikura and Uni Sushi

From Left to Righ:  Snow Crab and Amebi (Sweet Fresh Water Shrimp)

Osaka Food: Snow Crab and Amaebi Sushi

 

Chu Toro/Semi-fatty Tuna (upper left) platter accompanied by Amaebi, Hamachi, and Snow Crab

 

Osaka Food: O-Toro Platter

 

Chu Toro/Semi-fatty Tuna (upper left) platter accompanied by Hotate (Scallop) , Ika (Squid), and Ikura (Salmon Roe)

 

Osaka Food: O-Toro Platter with Hotate and Ikura Sushi

 

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 (?, 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.[5][6]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramen

 

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.[1] The term is onomatopoeic, derived from the sound emitted when the ingredients are stirred in the cooking pot and served with dipping sauces.[citation needed] 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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabu-shabu

 

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

Sukiyaki (鋤焼?, or more commonly すき焼き) is a Japanese dish that is prepared and served in the nabemono (Japanese hot pot) style.

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.

Generally sukiyaki is a winter dish and it is commonly found at bōnenkai, Japanese year-end parties.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukiyaki

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 [1]). 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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unagi

 

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udon

Here are some of the popular variations-

Nabeyaki Udon

 

Curry Udon

 

 

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

Tempura (天ぷら or 天麩羅?, tenpura, [tẽ̞mpɯᵝra]) is a classical Portuguese dish brought to and popularized by Japan, consisting of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 (?), 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.[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakitori

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

Chicken Skin

 

 

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.[1][2] 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).[3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takoyaki

A traditional snack found in the streets of Osaka.  It is very unique to this city.