Osaka is the largest city in West Japan. Here there are lots of dishes that few Japanese people living outside of Osaka know exist. So, I’d like to introduce to you the cheap but delicious foods that the people of Osaka love.
You make Takoyaki with a batter of flour, eggs, and “dashi” (Japanese soup stock). You pour it into a round, ball shaped steel mold, adding bite-sized boiled octopus and baking it. The secret to eating delicious takoyaki is to buy it right off the hot molds, and eat it while it’s hot. It just doesn’t taste the same when it cools, so watch out.
Five of the Osaka's most famous Takoyaki shops are the "Yamachan", "Honke Ohtako", "Wanaka", "Kouga-ryu", "Aidu-ya" and "Abeno Takoyaki Yamachan".
Honke Ohtako: 1-5-10 Dotonbroi, Chuo-ku, Osaka | +81-6-6211-5223 | Open: 9:00am - 11:00pm | http://honkeohtako.jp/
Takoyaki-Douraku Wanaka: 11-19 Nanba Sennichimae, Chuo-ku, Osaka | +81-6-6631-0127 | Open: Mon- Fri 10:00am-11:00pm, Sat-Sun and Holidays 9:00am-11:00pm | Other locations: Nishi-shinsaibashi, Tenjinbashi, Tsuruhashi, Honmachi and others | http://takoyaki-wanaka.com/
Takoyaki Kouga-ryu: 2-18-4 Nishi-shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka | Open: Mon-Thu, Sun 11:00am-8:00pm, Fri-Sat 11:00am-10:00pm | +81-6-6211-0519 | Other locations: Nanba and others | http://www.kougaryu.jp/
Takoyaki Aidu-ya: 2-3-1 Tamade-nishi, Nishinari-ku, Osaka | Open: Mon-Sun 10:00am-8:00pm | +81-6-6651-2311 | http://www.aiduya.com/
Abeno Takoyaki Yamachan: 1-2-34 Abenosuji, Abeno-ku, Osaka | Open: Mon-Sat 11:00am-11:00pm, Sun and Holidays 11:00am-10:30pm, Closed: Every 3rd Thu of the month | +81-6-6622-5307 | http://takoyaki-yamachan.net/
Okonomiyaki is a batter made from flour and water with vegetables like cabbage mixed in it, and fried in a round shape on a hot plate. You can add thin slices of pork or seafood like squid on it if you want to. It looks like a pancake with lots of ingredients inside.
Five of the Osaka's most famous Onkonomiyaki restaurants are the "CHIBO", "BOTEJYU", "AJINOYA", "FUKUTARO" and “MIZUNO”.
Okonomiyaki Restaurant CHIBO (Head Restaurant): 11-27 Nanba- Sennichimae, Chuo-ku, Osaka | Open: Mon-Sun 11:00am-1:00am | +81-6-6643-0111 | Other locations: Nanba, Nishi-shinsaibashi, Dotonbori, Umeda, Sonezakishinchi, Kyobashi, Abeno and others | http://www.chibo.com/
Okonomiyaki Restaurant BOTEJYU (Head Restaurant): Comrade Dotonbori Bldg., 1-6-15 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka | +81-6-6211-3641 | Open: Mon-Fri 11:00am-midnight, Sat-Sun and Holidays 10:00am-11:00pm | Other locations: Nanba, Umeda, Tenouji, Kyobashi, Shin-Osaka, Kansai International Airport and others | http://www.botejyu.com/ (English, Japanese)
Okonomiyaki AJIONOYA: 1-7-6 Nanba, Chuo-ku, Osaka | +81-6-6211-0713 | Open: Mon 6:00pm-11:00pm, Thu-Fri Noon-11:00pm, Sat-Sun and Holidays 11:30am-11:00pm, Closed: Every 2nd Monday of the month | http://ajinoya-okonomiyaki.com/
Okonomiyaki FUKUTARO: 2-3-17 Sennichimae, Chuo-ku, Osaka | +81-6-6634-2951 | Open 5:00pm-1:00am, Sat-Sun and Holiday Noon-Midnight | Other locations: Namba, Umeda and Tokyo | Email: email@example.com | http://2951.jp/
Okonomiyaki MIZUNO: 1-4-15 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka | +81-6-6212-6360| Open: 11:00am-10:00pm | Other location: Nanba | http://www.mizuno-osaka.com (English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese)
You make Negiyaki by frying a thin batter of flour and water, with lots of green onions or Negi on top. It’s like an Okonomiyaki, but without the cabbage or pork is. And instead of using sauce, you eat it with soy sauce so it has a light flavor and it’s healthy. People living in Osaka and the Kansai region love food made out of flour, and many of them eat both the Negiyaki and the Okonomiyaki.
“Konamono”, a typical example of the common Osaka people’s food. What is it?
People in Osaka and the Kansai region just love “Konamono”. This word means, made out of “kona” or powder, flour in this case. Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, and Negiyaki are typical representatives of this “Konamono”. For these people, “Konamono” can also be a homemade meal. They not only eat it in restaurants, but they also make it at home and many of them have their own recipes. It’s a type of food loved by kids and adults alike and best represents the food that Osaka people love.
One of the Osaka's most famous Negiyaki restaurants is the "YAMAMOTO".
Negiyaki YAMAMOTO: 1-8-4 Juso-Honmachi, Yodogawa-ku, Osaka | +81-6-6308-4625 | Open: 11:30am-10:00pm | Other locations: Juso, Umeda and Fukushima-ku | http://www.negiyaki-yamamoto.com
Taiko-Manju is a type of Japanese baked sweet. It's made from a batter of flour, eggs, and sugar baked in a drum shaped steel or copper mold with steamed bean paste in the middle. Taiko means drum, and as you can imagine, the name comes from the drum-like shape. In other regions of Japan, they’re called “Ohban-yaki” or “Kaiten-yaki” or ”Imagawa-yaki”.
One of the Osaka's most famous Taiko-Manju shops is the "Gozasouro".
Gozasouro:JR Shin-Osaka Station: JR Shin-Osaka Station 3F, 5-16-1 Nishi-nakajima, Yodogawa-ku, Osaka | +81-6-6305-6528
JR Osaka Station: JR Osaka Station 1F, 3-1-1 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka | +81-6-4799-3310 | Other locations: Shin-Osaka, Umeda, Nanba, Abeno, Tsuruhashi, Uehonmachi and others | http://www.gozasoro.co.jp
5. Kitsune Udon
Kitsune Udon is a standard udon style with a piece of deep-fried tofu, simmered in a sweet sauce, on top of the udon. Now, you can eat it anywhere in Japan but it originated in Osaka. It’s said that the first restaurant to make it is Usami-tei Matsubaya in Minami-senba, Osaka. The main characteristic of the Osaka style udon soup is that it has a light flavor compared to the Tokyo style. It’s popular with kids too because of the sweet deep-fried tofu on top. By the way, “Kitsune” menas fox. It’s said this udon's name is Kitsune Udon because of the old Japanese saying “the fox loves deep-fried tofu”.
Usami-tei Matsubaya: 3-8-1 Minami-senba Chuo-ku, Osaka | +81 6-6251-3339 | Open: 11:00am-7:00pm, Fri-Sat 11:00am-7:30pm, Closed: Sun and Holidays
How is the food in Osaka and Tokyo different?
First of all, the flavoring is different. People of Osaka and other prefectures in the Kansai region prefer soups and sauces with a light flavor. But, people in Tokyo like food that has a more strong flavor. This is true especially with the soup for udon or soba and sauce for stewed or boiled food.
Kushikatsu is deep-fried meat or vegetables on a stick. The Tsutenkaku area in Osaka is famous for Kushikatsu restaurants. In the stores, there are sauce cans set at each table, and there’s a sign that says “Don’t dip twice!” This is because it’s the manner to limit yourself to one sauce dipping per stick when eating Kushikatsu. Even if you’re a tourist, you might want to keep that in mind.
Five of the Osaka's most famous Kushikatsu restaurants are the "Daruma","Yaekatsu", "Gojouya", "Katsu" and “Shiruhisa”.
Daruma - Tsutenkaku (Head Restaurant): 2-3-9 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka | +81 6-6645-7056 | Open: 11:00am-9:00pm, Closed: New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day | Price: dinner $15-$25, lunch $10-$20 | Other locations: Tsutenkaku, Nanba, Dotonbori, Umeda, Kitashinchi, Shin-Osaka, Shinsaibashi and Himeji | http://www.kushikatu-daruma.com/
Yaekatsu: 3-4-13 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka | +81 6-6643-6332 | Open : 10:30am-9:30pm, Closed: Thu and Every 3rd Wed of the month | Price: dinner $20-$30, lunch $10-$20 | http://r.gnavi.co.jp/3117489/
Gojouya: 2-1-11 Uchihiranomachi, Chuo-ku, Osaka | +81 6-6945-5045 | Open: lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-1:30pm, dinner Mon-Sat 5:30pm-11:00pm, Closed: Sun and Holidays | Price: $25-$30 per dinner, less than $10 per lunch | http://r.gnavi.co.jp/c787700/
Katsu - Hankyu NAVIO: Hankyu Sanbangai, South Bulg. B2, 1-1-3 Shibata, Kita-ku, Osaka | +81 6-6372-8714 | Open 11:00am-10:30pm | Price: dinner $50-$60, lunch $10-$20 | Other locations: Umeda, Abeno, Nanba, Tempozan Market Place and Tokyo | http://www.tsudasangyo.co.jp/katsu/
Shiruhisa - Hotel OS: Umeda Hotel OS B1, 2-11-5 Sonezaki Kita-ku, Osaka | +81 6-6312-2703 | Open: 11:00am-10:30pm | Price: dinner $40-$70, lunch $20-$40 | Other locations: Umeda, Nanba | http://www.shiruhisa.com/
Yakiniku is grilling meat over a fire and eating it with a sauce. It’s like an indoor version of a self-service barbecue with only meat. It’s not the same as a steak. It’s Korean in origin, and it’s said that a Korean living in Osaka set the trend, so you can kind of say it’s a food that originated from Osaka. Today, the center of the biggest Korean Town in the Kansai region is in Tsuruhashi, Osaka. There are lots of Yakiniku restaurants there. If you want to eat delicious Yakiniku in Osaka, go to a restaurant around Tsuruhashi.
Five of the Osaka's most famous Kushikatsu restaurants are the "Tsuruichi","Ajiyoshi", "Manryo", "Tajimaya" and “Itamae Yakiniku Itto”.
Tsuruichi: 5-19 Ajiharacho, Tennoji-ku, Osaka | +81 6-6771-0806 (or) +81 6-6772-8929 | Open: Mon-Fri 11:30am-3:00pm, 4:00pm-10:00pm, Sat-Sun and Holidays 11:00am-10:00pm | Price: dinner $40-$50, lunch $30-$40 | http://www.turu1.co.jp/
Ajiyoshi (Head Restaurant): 2-2 Shimoajiharacho, Tennoji-ku, Osaka | +81 6-6772-7760 | Open: Mon-Sat 11:00am-Midnight, Sun and Holidays 11:00am-11:00pm | Price: dinner $30-$40, lunch less than $10 | Other locations: Nanba and Umeda | http://www.ajiyosi.co.jp/
Manryo -Minamimorimachi: Royal Heights 1F, 1-2-14 Minamimorimachi, Kita-ku, Osaka | +81 6-6361-1371 | Open: Mon-Fri 5:00pm-1:00am, Sat-Sun and Holidays 5:00pm-Midnight, Closed: Dec. 31- Jan. 3 | Price: dinner $40-$50, lunch $20-$30 | Other locations: Tenma, Tenjinbashi and Sakaisuji-honmachi | http://r.gnavi.co.jp/f5kvb8b50000/
Tajimaya E-ma: E-ma 5F, 1-12-6 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka | +81-6-6440-1129 | Open: Mon-Fri 11:00am-3:00pm / 5:00pm-11:00pm, Sat-Sun and Holidays 11:00am-3:00pm / 5:00pm-11:00pm | Price: dinner $60-$80, lunch $10-$20 | Other locations: Miyakojima-ku, Nishi-shinsaibashi, JR Osaka Mitsukoshi Isetan10F and Toyonaka-city | http://www.tajima-ya.co.jp/
Itamae Yakiniku Itto (Higashi-shinsaibashi): 1-7-20 Higashi-shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka | +81-6-4963-9129 | Open: Mon-Sat and Holiday 5:00pm-1:00am, Closed: Sun | Price: $50-$60 | Other locations: Tengachaya, Kyobashi, Shinsaibashi and Yao-city | http://itamaeyakinikuitto.com/
Horumon is the broiled innards of pigs or cows. It’s like Yakiniku, except that for Yakiniku we eat the high-grade meat. For Horumon we eat the innards that weren't eaten before. This is also a dish that originated from Osaka, and you can say it’s an idea that only the ever-practical Osaka people could come up with. It’s a typical menu in most Yakiniku and Izakaya (Japanese style) restaurants in Osaka.
Five of the Osaka's famous Horumon & Yakiniku restaurants are the "Sora","Manno Horumon-ho", "Umeda Horumon-do", "Kadoya Horumon-ten" and “Horumon Yamato”.
Yakiniku/Horumon Sora Dotonbori Restaurant: 2-4-6 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka | +81-6-6213-9929 | Open: Mon-Fri 5:00pm-Midnight, Sat, Sun and Holidays 4:00pm-Midnight / Closed: Tue | Price: $30-$40 | Other locations: Tsuruhashi | http://www.yakinikusora.jp/
Yakiniku Manno Horumon-ho, Sankyubashi: 3-3-1 Minami-Senba, Chuo-ku, Osaka |+81 6-6245-3911| Open: 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-Midnight / Closed: (none) | Price: dinner $30-$40, lunch less than$10 | Other locations: Tennouji, Abeno and Uehonmachi | http://www.mannoya.com/
Umeda Horumon-do: 2-4-43 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka |+81-6-6457-1099 | Open: Mon-Fri lunch 11:00am-2:00pm / Mon-Thu dinner 5:00pm-1:00am, Fri and Sat dinner 5:00pm-2:00am, Sun and Holidays 5:00pm-Midnight / Closed: (none) | Price: dinner $30-$40, lunch less than$10 | http://r.gnavi.co.jp/k151502/
Kadoya Horumon-ten: Osaka Station 3 Building, B2, 1-1-3 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka | +81-6-6341-4654| Open: Mon-Sat lunch 11:30am-3:00pm, dinner 5:00pm-10:00pm / Closed: Sunday and Holidays | Price: dinner $30-$40, lunch $10-$20 | http://r.gnavi.co.jp/f1t0bepb0000/
Horumon Yamato - Nishikujo Head Restaurant: 3-16-24 Nishikujo, Konohana-ku, Osaka | +81-6-6341-4654| Open: 5:00pm-1:00am / Closed: (none) | Price: dinner $30-$40 | http://www.yamato-foodconsulting.co.jp/
9. Doteyaki (stewed beef sinew)
Doteyaki is beef sinew stewed using miso, sweet sake, and sugar, and it’s a type of Horumon dish. You can also find it in Yakiniku or Izakaya restaurants. It has a strong flavor, so it goes great with beer or other alcoholic drinks. It’s a popular side dish that you can buy in supermarkets or meat shops.
10. Butaman (551Horai)
Butaman is a Chinese steamed bun. You make it by wrapping a dough of flour, water, and yeast around a pork and vegetable filling, and steaming it. In Osaka, 551Horai is famous for their Butaman. Their original store is in Nanba, Osaka. But it is also available at most of the large department stores all around Osaka. Each one is handmade, and you can buy them hot out of the steamers, so if you have the chance, I recommend you try one.
551 Horai - Head Restaurant: 3-6-3 Nanba, Chuo-ku, Osaka | +81-6-6641-0551 | Open : 11:00am-10:00pm, Closed: Every 3rd Tue of the month | Price: dinner $10-$25, lunch less than $10 | 551horai.co.jp
Let’s try all the popular Osaka foods together!
You can now eat Japanese food like sushi or tempura all over the world. So when you come to Osaka, try the dishes you can only find in Osaka. Or try the “Konamono” for which Osaka is famous for; the common, everyday food of the Osaka people. If you are traveling to Osaka for the first time or are intimidated by the cultural/language barriers that come with traveling, you should definitely check out Triplelights, as they work with 1,000+ professional tour guides in Japan to help you plan your perfect trip. In addition, if you are looking for a private guide or would like to join a private tour group in Osaka, feel free to take a look at the list of tours that are available in the city and send a message to any of the Osaka tour guides for a personalized itinerary and a price quotation. Some of the tours include wonderful cultural experiences, which you should certainly check out if you are looking to enrich your experience in Osaka with more activities other than trying the popular foods. It's great to have a guide as you may want to eliminate the risk of wasting time by getting lost or not knowing what the right food items to order as many Japanese menus are displayed in one language.
Also, during the pandemic, before you can make it to Osaka, why don’t you schedule an Online Zoom tour with the guide who knows Osaka inside and out and hear his opinion about where to eat in Osaka. Check his tour: SPECIAL ZOOM Tour for Osaka