Since ancient times, Osaka has been literally called the town of Kuidore (eat till you drop) because of its rich food culture. Osaka locals have always been enjoying their luxurious gastronomy. This is due not only to the city's location close to the sea and mountains, where all the bounty of nature can be obtained at hand but also to the fact that products from remote areas are being transported there from the calm Seto Inland Sea.
Takoyaki and okonomiyaki are Osaka's best known local delicacies and soul food. They are both casual fast food and can be found at reasonable prices. A recipe for a basic Takoyaki is quite simple. Firstly, dissolve flour, egg, and dashi in water, pour the mixture into an iron plate and then add small pieces of octopus. When cooked, put some topping on them, such as finely bonito flakes, blue seaweed, red ginger, and chopped green onion. Then serve with Takoyaki sauce. Takoyaki chefs make so many takoyaki at the same time, and it is quite entertaining to watch how they cook them. Takoyaki shops often sell only take-away, but you can find some shops with eat-in spaces.
On the other hand, Okonomiyaki is offered at restaurants. You can witness so many Okonomiyaki restaurants around Osaka. ‘Okonomi’ means preference, ‘Yaki” means cook. Flour and cabbage are the base of the mainstream Okonomiyaki. You then add your preferred ingredients, such as squid, shrimp, pork beef, cheese, etc. and bake on an iron plate. There are some restaurants where the chefs cook in front of you; in some others, each table has an iron plate where you can cook it yourself. If you like to experience not only eating but cooking Okonomiyaki, choose a restaurant with cooking options. Okonomiyaki restaurants usually offer a variety of alcoholic drinks.
Takoyaki is probably the most famous soul food of Osaka. There are so many takoyaki shops around Osaka, especially in the Dotonbori area. Usually, people take-away takoyaki; however, you need to know how to eat them as they are extremely hot inside. Take-away takoyaki comes with two toothpicks, so use them wisely and control the temperature to avoid burning. You can find takoyaki shops with eating-in options in the Dotonbori area too. Acchicchi Honpo is a popular takoyaki shop in Dotonbori with an eating-in area. Acchicchi Honpo uses only fresh octopus purchased from the market every day. Kururu is another popular takoyaki shop in Dotonbori. Kururu might be the most well-known takoyaki shop in Osaka. You can see the franchised Kururu everywhere in Japan. Kururu in Dotonbori also offers eating-in areas. With its low price, you can eat and compare many takoyaki from different shops in Dotonbori!
Botejyu opened in 1949 and established the style of the original Osaka Okonomiyaki: it is a well-known store in Osaka. Botejyu Okonomiyaki uses its unique flour blend all from domestic sources, which creates a crisp surface with a soft inside. Botejyu’s okonomiyaki is oval-shaped. Apparently, the Botejyu’s basic-style menu uses two18cm long pieces of domestic 3mm thick pork, which are put straight in the middle of okonomiyaki, and then covered with dough from above. Then, the pork fat is sucked into the dough and baked, offering a rich flavor. Botejyu offers four types of Okonomiyaki sauces. They are original fruit-based sauces with a difference in spicy levels. You can ask the shop staff to teach you how to cook okonomiyaki perfectly on your table. So, enjoy your one and only okonomiyaki at Botejyu.
When you visit Osaka, Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki are the must-eat Osaka’s soul foods. There are some shops to choose from, so research might be necessary until you find your preferred ones. As when in Rome, you do what Romans do, in Osaka you eat till you drop. Enjoy!
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.