10 Must Try Foods in Osaka

Oct 13, 2021 | Food & Drinks, Japan, Travel Tips

Japan is a destination that is popular across the world as it’s well known for its unique culture, futuristic living and amazing food. If you are dreaming about experiencing the best food the country has to offer then look no further than Osaka! We’ve compiled a list of 10 must try foods when travelling to Osaka, especially if you are planning a post-pandemic getaway in Japan!

1. Sushi and Sashimi

Of course, we had to start our list off with Sushi. Japanese restaurants all over the world feature sushi or sashimi at their restaurants. However, the freshness and quality of sushi and sashimi in Japan cannot be matched. Even though you can eat sushi anywhere else in the world, this could be one of the only foods in the world that is worth travelling to a country just to try the authentic version.

Osaka is home to one of the largest fish markets in Japan, with a lively tuna auction that happens first thing in the morning to get the sushi and sashimi prepared for the day. Sushi and sashimi are available almost everywhere throughout Osaka, from supermarkets, budget stalls to the fanciest sushi restaurants you’ll ever see!

In addition to normal nigiri sushi that includes a ball of rice and a slice of fish on the top, Osaka is also famous for its old style box sushi, known as hako-zushi, and available at markets throughout Osaka.

sashimi sushi in kuromon market osaka

2. Japanese Curry

The ultimate ‘meat and potatoes’ dish in Japan is without a doubt Japanese Curry. Of all the food included in this must try Osaka foods list, Japanese curry has to be the most comforting of them all. Also, for those that aren’t the greatest chefs in the world, head to an Asian supermarket and buy a packaged box of Japanese curry base. Then, cook it up with a bunch of beef and carrots. Add a side of rice and there you go! It is very simple to make which makes the dish extremely popular for students all over Japan.

The curry has a familiar curry powder blend flavor, but the sauce is dark and thick, more like a brown gravy than a typical saucy curry. Japanese curry is one of those meals that’s famous for being a 24 hours a day food making it one of the most popular in the country since you can eat it for any meal.

chicken katsu curry bowl

3. Takoyaki

When people think of food in Osaka, they almost always think of Takoyaki. These little batter balls stuffed with pieces of octopus are perhaps the most famous thing to eat in the entire city. When you arrive in Osaka, you’ll quickly find there are many takoyaki vendors in the markets there and they are usually some of the busiest places in the entire market.

Besides the great taste, it can also be super interesting to watch the process of Takoyaki being made. It begins with a hot griddle that includes golf ball shaped holes in it. The cook will pour some batter into the hot mold, before a piece of octopus is tossed in the middle. As the batter becomes partially cooked, the chef takes chopsticks and works to form the batter into balls, keeping the octopus in the center. It looks very difficult but the experienced cooks always make it look so easy! After ordering, you can choose from a selection of different toppings. Some of the typical toppings include Japanese mayonnaise, takoyaki sauce, seaweed flakes, cheese, and of course, a sprinkle of bonito fish flake shavings.

Takoyaki is one of those foods that is best eaten hot so it’s crispy on all the edges, and soft in the middle. So make sure you don’t wait too long before enjoying your meal after receiving it!

takoyaki being prepared by chef

4. Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki, which is another food that originates from Osaka, would be described as kind of like a big pancake. However, the best part of eating okonomiyaki is watching it being made right in front of you, and eating it together with some friends!

The batter mixture recipe includes flour, eggs, sometimes dry fish stock, and often a load of finely shaved cabbage. Once the batter is all mixed up, it’s then fried on a hot griddle. A lot of times, the hot griddle is right before you, and it’s topped and decorated with the ingredients to complete the version of okonomiyaki you ordered.

Okonomiyaki is then cut into triangle shaped slices and it is ready to be enjoyed! Don’t be scared to try some of your friends as the best part is trying the different combinations of toppings.

 okonomiyaki on a plate

5.Oden

Known as a winter food throughout Japan, oden includes a variety of ingredients cooked in a broth and prepared with both dashi and soy sauce.Oden is a Japanese food that has a huge range of qualities and is available everywhere from street food stalls to highly regarded restaurants throughout Japan. What is also super cool, is that you can even get oden at 7 Eleven and Lawson.

Don’t forget, When eating the noodles, slurp as loud as you like! Loud slurping may be rude in some western countries, but in Japan it is considered rude not to slurp. It is also acceptable to bring your bowl of food close to your face to eat, instead of bending your head down to the table to get closer to your food! Oden and other broths or soups are a great way to slurp loudly to give your compliments to the chef.

oden restaurant japan

6. Udon

Udon is a thick and chewy Japanese noodle made with wheat flour, and served in a variety of different ways. Udon noodles are served in many different styles, including with curry, in hot soup, in cold soup, and even dry with a dipping sauce. It is usually not as spicy as ramen so if you are not a fan of spicy foods, this is a great alternative.

Even though all types of Japanese udon dishes are available at restaurants in Osaka, one of the local favorite styles, originating in Osaka, is kitsune udon. The udon noodles come in a light dashi stock flavored broth, and the main topping is a piece of sweet tofu. You’ll find some of the best udon restaurants in the world throughout Osaka so don’t be afraid to try more than one.

 udon noodles in a bowl

7.Kushikatsu

Kushikatsu is yet another home-grown Japanese food that’s wildly popular in Osaka. Kushi in Japanese roughly means skewers, and katsu is breaded and deep fried things. The result of this popular street food is a bunch of vegetables and even meats, all skewered, coated in a batter, and deep fried until golden brown and crispy. What makes kushikatsu great is the sauce. The sauce has a Worcestershire sauce-like flavour. A crunchy fried stick dipped in the sauce is incredibly tasty.

While you’ll find kushikatsu throughout Osaka, the Shinsekai area is home to a large number of restaurants serving it. If you like drinking beer, a few skewers of salty and crispy kushikatsu makes a pretty good snack and is very popular for most Japanese people to have while enjoying a beer.

 

8. Ramen

In Japan, everyone takes their ramen very seriously and people are very passionate about their favourite ramen place. You will see people standing in long lines for hours to enjoy a bowl of hot noodles in rich broth. Ramen is one of those dishes in Japan that has a cult following and if you ask a local their favourite place, they are sure to provide you with a passionate answer.

The noodles are placed in a broth, which there can be many different types. A few of the most popular are shio, a salt based broth, shoyu, a soy sauce based broth, and finally, the heavy creamy tonkotsu ramen, made with pork bones that are boiled until the marrow is released.
The noodles and broth are then topped, with thick slices of pork chashu, and a spoonful of raw minced garlic. It is a must try in Osaka if you have never tried it and if not, we suggest trying to find a ramen spot in your own city today!

sashimi ramen in a bowl in japan

9.Izakaya / Yakitori

Another fan favourite to eat in Osaka is small plates of delicious food served at Japanese pubs. The food is typically served on small plates where the focus is one flavor and quality over quantity, and dishes at Izakaya restaurants can range from slices of tuna belly to grilled skewers of chicken or pork.

The chicken will likely be some of the most flavourful and juiciest chicken you’ve ever tried. When you eat yakitori at a bar in Osaka, you’ll also have a choice of all sorts of different parts of the chicken including the breast, thigh, gizzard, liver, skin, chicken neck or even some more parts of the chicken you didn’t know existed!

Izakaya in Osaka are usually small and intimate, with only bar counter seating. However, there are some that are big and can get quite loud and rowdy. Depending on the experience you’re looking for, choose the size of izakaya you think is best for you. You can be sure there will be good food to eat no matter which you choose.

women at a izakaya in japan

10. Yakiniku & Horumon (Japanese BBQ)

When people think of food in Japan a lot of people think of Sushi but Japan is not only famous for its fish and seafood. Grilled Japanese beef and meat is another meal you don’t want to miss when you’re in Osaka.

If you are a meat lover, you probably know that Japanese beef is known worldwide as the one of the best. Kobe beef, one of the world’s most famous meats, is a type of Japanese wagyu from Kobe, Japan, which is located just a short train journey away from Osaka. That means Osaka has plenty of Kobe beef available for you to indulge in. There are many other levels of Japanese wagyu beef available as well.

Yakiniku is the style of actually grilling the beef. Typically, you will grill the meat yourself on a tabletop charcoal grill in the middle of your table. For yakiniku, the meat is usually sliced into bite sized pieces, grilled over charcoal, and often served with just a few light seasonings like high quality salt, sesame oil, shoyu, and sometimes a dab of sweet wasabi.

 man cooking japanese bbq
We hope this Osaka food guide gives you some great ideas about all the delicious food available. We know it can be difficult to know where to start when trying new cuisines in a new country, but we hope this gives you a place to start. If you are still unsure about some of the foods in Japan you want to try, why not consider one of our Japan tours? A Dotonbori Food Tour (4 dishes) is included and you’ll be travelling in a group so you’ll have some new friends to try these new foods with! We will also discover a lot of other activities throughout the country like Japanese sword fighting taught by a descendant of a real Samurai, exploring Tokyo’s electric town and staying overnight in a stunning Japanese temple. You’ll truly get to see all the best things this country has to offer, including of course, the food!

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