Osaka – A Foodie’s Paradise

Poor old Osaka. Kyoto is the traditional heart of Japan, filled with beautiful temples, charming shrines, and centuries of history. Tokyo is, well, Tokyo. Osaka kind of gets left out – it’s nowhere near as popular a travel destination as neighbouring Kyoto, and Tokyo residents are apparently wont to turn up their noses at the distinct (to locals, anyway) Osaka-ben, or regional accent.

Tourists who are brave enough to venture outside of Tokyo and ride the bullet train down to Osaka are rewarded with an absolute foodie paradise, filled with the most delicious edibles imaginable (assuming your diet allows for meat and seafood). Osakans are proud of their city’s culinary prowess, and rightly so. Give yourself a few days in this hopping city and sample everything Osaka has to offer.

Here are just three of my favourite foods to enjoy in Osaka:

Takoyaki

This is one of Japan’s most popular street foods, and with good reason – it’s hot, fast, delicious, and easy to eat on the go! A thin, savoury wheat-based batter is poured into a special mould and cooked into airy little balls of molten perfection. The “tako” part of takoyaki means octopus, which is a traditional filling. The little balls are typically topped with Japanese-style mayonnaise (which tends to be a bit sweeter than Western mayonnaise), takoyaki sauce (a brown, slightly sweet sauce) and bonito (dried tuna) shavings, which dance when placed on top of the hot takoyaki.  Takoyaki is actually a fairly recent dish, thought to have been developed in the 1930s, though it was based on other traditional snacks. Typically served in a takeaway tray, takoyaki are perfect little savoury morsels to share with friends.

Yakisoba

Who doesn’t love fried noodles? This is another fairly recent addition to Japanese cuisine, which has quickly become one of its best known dishes. You can find yakisoba (literally “fried/grilled noodles”) at restaurants all across Japan, but Osaka has some of the best restaurants in which to enjoy this simple, delicious dish. Thick, Chinese-style noodles are stir-fried with cabbage and onions, and topped with a thick, sweet-savoury soy-based sauce.  You ca see a giant bowl of yakisoba in the bottom row of dishes in the photo, second from the right, surrounded with delicious dumplings. Oishi (yum)! 

Okonomiyaki 

Okonomiyaki has to be one of my all-time favourite Japanese dishes. Quick and easy to prepare, it features simple, humble ingredients, and can be easily adapted for different tastes. In fact, the name okonomiyaki literally means “grill/fry what you like”! Okonomiyaki is like a Japanese savoury pancake, though much thicker. A thin batter is mixed with heaps of cabbage, eggs and other fillings, such as octopus, cheese, or bacon, then pan-fried to crispy perfection. It’s served with a tangy brown sauce, more mayonnaise, and bonito flakes, just like takoyaki. A true highlight of any trip to Osaka is a visit to an okonomiyaki restaurant, where staff cook your meal to order on a piping hot griddle right before your eyes. It’s a delicious dinner and a show! This is simple, homestyle cooking, nothing fancy, but incredibly delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Osaka is filled with amazing restaurants to discover, from fancy 5-star establishments to tiny mom and pop holes in the wall. There are so many delightful dishes to be savoured, especially if you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone – Japanese food is about more than ramen, sushi and teriyaki!

I hope you enjoyed this mouthwatering tour of my Osakan dining experience. If you love exploring the world through your tastebuds as much as I do, I’d love to hear about some of your favourite culinary discoveries!!

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29 Comments

  • Reply Rhonda Albom

    The food does look delicious. Sounds like comfort food. I love the displays of food in windows and cases. It makes it easier to point to what you want to order (and not have to know how to pronounce it).

    April 16, 2017 at 9:16 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Plastic models in display cases are such a big thing in Japan, they’re so helpful! And I loved this kind of comfort food – simple, unfussy, and totally delicious. 🙂

      April 19, 2017 at 6:09 pm
  • Reply Kat

    Are food in Osaka more of the fried stuff rather than the raw stuff like sashimi etc? Food looks amazing though from your photos 🙂 #TheWeeklyPostcard

    April 17, 2017 at 3:05 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      You can definitely still find lots of amazing sushi/sashimi places in Osaka, but it’s probably more famous for its fried food! 🙂 Definitely not the healthiest food options, but super tasty. 😉

      April 19, 2017 at 6:11 pm
  • Reply California Globetrotter

    Mmm That food looks delicious! I’ll have to keep in mind that Osaka is worth visiting! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

    April 17, 2017 at 8:04 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      It’s definitely worth visiting – we spent a few nights there, and there was so much to see and do!

      April 19, 2017 at 8:21 pm
  • Reply galanda23

    I have never been to Japan, but I love Japanese food. It would be interesting to taste it in Osaka, since they always say that what we have here in California is not the “authentic” Japanese food.

    April 17, 2017 at 9:30 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I only really knew about ramen, teriyaki and sushi, so exploring Japanese cuisine was really eye-opening!

      April 19, 2017 at 8:22 pm
  • Reply Staci

    This looks amazing. 😀 I want it all! I missed out on #TheWeeklyPostcard this Friday but am poking around some of the participants’ blogs 🙂

    April 17, 2017 at 10:02 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I’m glad you stopped by! 🙂

      Thankfully we did a lot of walking on our trip, otherwise I probably would have come home quite a few pounds heavier… 😉

      April 22, 2017 at 5:34 pm
  • Reply MummyTravels

    My mouth is absolutely watering – we only passed through Osaka for the airport on our visit but it definitely sounds like it should be on the itinerary for my return trip (one day) even if i simply eat and eat!

    April 18, 2017 at 6:18 pm
    • Reply MummyTravels

      Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

      April 18, 2017 at 6:19 pm
  • Reply Christine | The Journey of Christine

    Seriously, give me ALL the Japanese food! I could eat it 24/7! I so need to get to Japan, one of these days!

    April 18, 2017 at 8:27 pm
  • Reply Ruth

    I love all the food you have presented in here. I have heard Osaka is a foodie paradise. Would not like to miss the city for anything.

    April 19, 2017 at 2:47 am
  • Reply Anna

    Also love exploring the world through my tastebuds! I´m including Osaka to my must list right now! Love Japanese food even here in Europe, can´t imagine how good it´d be there! looks delicious from your pics…

    April 19, 2017 at 9:14 am
  • Reply ladyfi

    Mmm – delicious!

    April 19, 2017 at 10:11 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Absolutely! 🙂

      April 19, 2017 at 6:11 pm
  • Reply vanbrune

    I’m really keen to visit Japan and I’ll make sure not to leave out Osaka when I make that trip happen!

    April 19, 2017 at 7:16 pm
  • Reply Bryna | Dotted Line Travels

    I love the different foods you can find all over Japan. Osaka is no different! I loved the Rikuro Ojisan cheesecake I had there!

    April 20, 2017 at 3:20 am
  • Reply Cristina

    Everything looks so delicious!

    April 20, 2017 at 7:48 am
  • Reply Wherejogoes

    I am hungry now! This all looks so fresh, tasty and wholesome -yum! #TheWeeklyPostcard

    April 20, 2017 at 6:39 pm
  • Reply Jessi (@2feet1world)

    Yummmm! I love takoyaki – definitely one of my favourite Japanese dishes. #wanderfulwednesday

    April 21, 2017 at 8:06 am
  • Reply La Brutta Figura

    My friend recently went to Japan and said exactly the same thing!! Fried Japanese food is heaven, so I’d definitely go against the guidebooks and make a stop there. Thanks for making me hungry with all the descriptions… 🙂

    April 21, 2017 at 5:18 pm
  • Reply budget jan

    We went to this area of Osaka. It is an awesome place to visit and the food is AWESOME. We had some mass produced Gyoza and they were amazingly good. We did a day trip from Kyoto. I would consider staying in Osaka at some stage in the future.

    April 24, 2017 at 3:48 am
  • Reply City Tripping #73 - Wander Mum

    […] Osaka: a foodie’s paradise – Rain City Librarian Please link up your posts below and do join in with the commenting using the #citytripping tag if possible. As well as sharing and commenting on your posts, we will also be pinning them on our City Tripping Pinterest board so if you need any more city inspiration, be sure to check it out and follow our Pinterest board featuring past posts. Let me know if you would like an invite to pin on the board. […]

    April 25, 2017 at 8:21 am
  • Reply laurenonlocation

    The fried noodles and that savoury pancake both look so good! I love traveling through my tastebuds, so this definitely looks right up my alley! 😀

    April 27, 2017 at 2:01 am
  • Reply malaysianmeanders

    I will admit that when we visited Japan, we only made it to Tokyo and Kyoto. I like that giant octopus in the first photo. How bizarre is it that it’s holding a takoyaki? That’s like a chicken holding a fried chicken drumstick. Anyways, of all the foods you described, I think that yakisoba would be my favorite.

    April 28, 2017 at 4:08 am
  • Reply WanderMum

    You’ve made me feel very hungry! I do remember Takoyaki but was a bigger fan of the pancake, delicious!

    April 30, 2017 at 5:21 pm
  • Reply Julz

    looks absolutely yum! I miss Asian street foods. Japan is unfortunately still on my to do list

    May 1, 2017 at 3:02 am
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