Osaka

5 Must Eat Food in Osaka and Where to Find Them

Lists usually have 10 things on it but I could only find 5 specialities to eat in Osaka and I don’t want force it.

There are four things to note:

first, the speciality food in Osaka are usually street food, strong in flavour.

Secondly, most of them are inexpensive, so go crazy and eat more.

Thirdly, Osaka food has influence from China because Osaka used to be Japan’s main trade port, serving as a gateway to culture and trade. Osaka has a sizeable Chinese population.

and lastly, the restaurants usually open at night, so many of them are watering holes. Many close on Sundays.


1. BUTAMAN

Butaman pork buns (¥380 for two) and giant siew mai (¥420 for six) from 551 Horai

Butaman is really Chinese steamed pork buns 大肉包, which is great for breakfast.  Although butaman originated from China, the Japanese made it their own. The skin (dough) is mochi-like chewy whereas the Chinese bun is fluffy and soft. The minced pork within is much fattier so the Japanese eat it with mustard.

The buns are usually sold in pairs (at takeaway kiosks) because it is auspicious.

The takeaway shop, Futami no Butaman, can be found at Dotonburi

We tried two of the most famous butaman shops, 551 Horai and Futami no Butaman, and found 551 to be superior. The sweet bun has a better texture and pairs better with the pork and the ingredients are better quality.

Recommended Takeaway Kiosks:

551 Horai (they have outlets everywhere. Try the one at JR Shin-Osaka Station or Namba Train Station)

Futami no Butaman (this is in Dotonburi area. 3 Chome-1-19 Nanba, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0076, Japan; 11am – 10pm, closed Th; +81-6-6643-4891


2. KUSHIKATSU

Kushi from restaurant at popular tourist attraction, Shinsekai. The restaurant is called Kushikatsu Daikichi.

Kushikatsu (串カツ), also known as kushiage (串揚げ), is deep-fried skewers. The skewers can be anything from meat to vegetables. The ingredient is dipped in egg, flour, panko crust, and then deep-fried.

Usually there is a tin can of tonkatsu sauce (thick, sour-sweet, brown sauce). For hygiene purpose, remember no double-dipping! Other patrons before and after you would use the same tin.

Some of my favourite kushi includes chicken gizzard and chicken skin, although there are normal ones like tsukune (minced chicken ball), beef, pork, chicken, fish, sweet potato, shiitake mushroom, etc.

You may want to visit popular tourist attraction, Shinsekai, where kushi restaurants line the street. We entered this one called Kushikatsu Daikichi. It is nothing special, we entered because there were seats.

Recommended restaurants:

Souikufu (5 Chome-8-14 Toyosaki, Kita Ward, Osaka, 531-0072, Japan; +81 6-6373-0030; 6pm-12 midnight, closed Sun)

Kushiage 010 (1 Chome-1-41 Sonezakishinchi, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0002, Japan; +81 6-6131-8878; 6pm – 12 midnight, closed Sun; facebook)

-Alternatively, you may want to, like us, just visit the tourist attraction Shinsekai where kushikatsu restaurants line the street.


3. ODEN

We didn’t manage to eat oden at Osaka but we ate at an izakaya at Kyoto called Ouchi Gohan Nakashimaya (Japan, 〒600-8054 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, ル仏光寺東町115; +81-75-365-2262).

Oden is really just Japanese yong tau foo. The ingredients are cooked in a big hotpot of dashi soup although you are served only the items you want, not in a hotpot. Many places keep the stock as a master stock, replenishing it as it simmers, so some stocks may be older than you.

Recommended restaurants:

Man-u 万ん卯 (1 Chome-2-32 Dōjima, Kita-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 530-0003, Japan; +81 6-6341-5555; oden is served only during dinner although they open for lunch)

Odento Sakana Sakamoto おでんと肴 さかもと (Japan, 〒530-0056 Osaka, Kita Ward, Toganocho, 12−15, 丸一ビル; +81 6-6362-1213; 5pm – 12am, closed Sun)

Kansaidaki Honke Joyato かんさいだき 本家 常夜燈 (2 Chome-8-14 Toyosaki, Kita-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 531-0072, Japan; +81 6-6371-1115; M, W, F 11.30am – 1.30pm, 6pm – 9.30pm; T, Th, Sat 6pm – 9.30pm, closed Sun)

Choraku 長樂 (Japan, 〒530-0002 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Kita-ku, Sonezakishinchi, 1 Chome−5, 曾根崎新地1丁目5−21; +81 6-4795-8424; 5pm – 10pm, closed Sun)

Yoshitaka 由堂 (Japan, 〒542-0083 Osaka, Chūō-ku, Higashishinsaibashi, 2-chōme−2−8−5 ニューグランドビル 2階; +81 6-6210-3845; 7pm – 2am)


4. OKONOMIYAKI

We didn’t manage to eat okonomiyaki at Osaka but we ate at an excellent teppan restaurant, Manmaru No Tsuki, in Kyoto. It serves many other dishes. Address: 312 Uradeyamacho, Nishikikoji-Dori Karasuma Nishi-Iru, Nakagyo-Ku | Keizu Bldg. 1F, Kyoto 604-8155, Kyoto Prefecture; +81-75-212-3388.

Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake made from a batter of flour, grated nagaimo (Chinese yam), water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage. Additional toppings such as octopus, bacon, or cheese, may be added. They are usually cooked on a teppan (metal hotplate). Finally, it is finished off with some mayo, okonomiyaki sauce (sweet and thick), and bonito flakes.

Recommended restaurants:

Omoni オモニ (3-3-2 Momodani, Ikuno-ku, Osaka; +81-6-6717-0094; 11.30am – 10.45pm, closed Mon)

Kiji きじ (2F, Shinumeda Shokudogai, 9-20 Kakudacho, Kita-ku, Osaka; +81-6-6361-5804)

Takotsubo たこつぼ (2 Chome-4-48 Abenosuji, Abeno Ward, Osaka, 545-0052, Japan; +81-6-6629-2728; F – Tue 12pm – 11pm, Wed 5pm – 11pm, Th 6pm – 11pm)

Okonomiyaki Mizuno お好み焼 美津の (1 Chome-4-15 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan; +81-6-6212-6360; 11am – 10pm daily)

Jibundok i時分時 (1F, Lions Mansion Midohonmachi, 4-5-11 Minamikyuhojimachi, Chuo-ku, Osaka; +81-6-6253-1661; 5.30pm – 12am, closed Sun)

Bubu ぶ武 (2-32 Tamatsukurimotomachi, Tennoji-ku, Osaka; +81 6-6777-1958)


5. TAKOYAKI

Takoyaki shops usually also serve yakisoba (fried noodles)

First invented in Osaka in 1935, takoyaki is a ball-shaped snack made from a batter of flour. Inside the ball, you may add different ingredients such as octopus, ham, or cheese. It is brushed with takoyaki sauce (similar to Okonomiyaki sauce), mayo, and dried bonito.

There are many many takoyaki shops with long queues at the Dotonburi district. We didn’t want to queue so we went to a relatively quiet but famous restaurant called Kukuru (1-10-5 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, 542-0071; +81-6-6212-7381; M-F 12pm – 11pm, weekends 11am – 11pm). Luckily the takoyaki was very delicious: soft, not doughy, and super tasty. 

Recommended restaurants:

Aizuya (oldest takoyaki shop in Japan, which started in 1930s. You may find the addresses here.)

Takoriki たこりき (1-6-1 Kawarayamachi, Chuo-ku, Osaka; +81-6-6191-8501; 12pm – 4pm, 6pm – 10pm , closed Mon)


To conclude, these are the 5 food to eat in Osaka:

1. Butaman
2. Kushikatsu
3. Oden
4. Okonomiyaki
5. Takoyaki


You may be interested in…
Where to eat Kobe Beef in Kobe Japan: Kobe Beef KISSHOKICHI 神戸牛吉祥吉
Where to Stay in Osaka: Review of Hotel Gracery Osaka Namba
Where to Stay in Osaka: Review of Hotel Il Cuore Namba Osaka
MUST EAT Kyoto: Yuba Ryori Higashiyama Yuuzu


Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.

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