Osaka Gastronomy of Osaka is known within Japan as one of the cities where gastronomy is more varied and delicious. There are some differences between the cuisine of Osaka and Tokyo, for example, when preparing ramen the color and flavor of the soup is characteristic, as well as the variation of sushi, which comes in the form of cubes in contrast to traditional sushi.
Among all the delicious dishes Osaka offers, two dishes that have become iconic of the city stand out. These are:
Takoyaki: It is a Japanese ball-shaped sandwich made from a dough based on wheat flour and cooked in a special pan. Its name literally means “fried octopus”. It is usually filled with diced or diced octopus, tempura chunks, pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise are topped with it. Then they are sprinkled with dried bonito shavings.
Takoyaki was first popularized in Osaka. Its invention, in 1935, is attributed to a street vendor named Tomekichi Endo. This dish was inspired by akashiyaki, a small round dumpling from Akashi city in Hyogo prefecture, made with egg and octopus. Takoyaki was initially popular in the Kansai region, and later spread to Kanto and other places in Japan. Takoyaki is associated with street food stalls, but today there are also many well-established restaurants specializing in takoyaki, particularly in the Kansai region. Takoyaki is now sold in supermarkets and convenience stores around the clock.
The usual way to eat takoyaki is to place 6 to 8 takoyaki balls, covering them with plenty of sauce and sprinkling on top of dried bonito and green seaweed. However, in Osaka, dough is also key to flavor. Takoyaki in Osaka is served plain, salty, or with a simple soy sauce so that the flavor of the dough can be enjoyed. Osaka people love Takoyaki and prefer it to be salty, which helps bring out the flavor of the ingredients. Osaka is said to be home to more than 650 takoyaki shops. There are subtle differences in taste between each store, so it is recommended to try takoyaki from as many different stores as possible during your stay in Osaka.
Kushiage: Osaka is the place of origin of kushiage, a fried crunchy food, which can be found everywhere in Dotonbori, one of Osaka’s main streets. The word “kushi” means stick, while “age” means fried in Japanese, so the word basically means things fried on a stick. It is also known as kushikatsu, which means meat cutlet on a stick.
Kushiage doesn’t just consist of meat, so calling it kushikatsu can be confusing.
Vegetables, different types of meat, cheese, and even cookies, fruits, and mochi (glutinous rice cakes) can be enjoyed in batter and kushiage-style fried.
Each place offers different variations of this popular dish, so it is recommended to try kushiage in different places. You just have to remember the golden rule: you should not dip it twice in the sauce.
These two delicious dishes are the basic presentation card of Osaka gastronomy, so if you travel to the city it is recommended to try them in their different variations.