Japan’s Kitchen: Dishes To Try In Osaka

Osaka is an interesting city that’s referred to as the “nation’s kitchen”.  Osakan’s love of food is so well known there’s a famous quote that says:

“Kyoto-ites are financially ruined by overspending on clothing, Osakans are ruined by spending on food.”. 

So in the spirit of exploring Japan’s Kitchen, this is a list of dishes to try in Osaka.

Sample Local Sushi Parlors

This may seem like an obvious place to start, but eating sushi in Japan is a special experience. In some ways it’s the national dish and you’ll get some of the freshest fish in the country in Osaka.

There’s many ways to experience sushi in Osaka, from high-end sushi parlors to small conveyor belt sushi restaurants. The focus is always on the raw fish.

Endo Sushi

A great place to try sushi in Osaka is Endo Sushi. This is a 100 year old restaurant and an institution in the area.

Address: 1-1-86 Noda Fukushima-ku Osaka City (10 minutes from JR Noda station or Sennichimae Tamagawa station)
Phone: 06-6469-7108
Hours: Mon-Sat 5:00AM ~ 2:00PM
Closed: Sundays and National holidays

Any food tour of Japan must start with sampling local sushi shops. photo credit: [coolpix 우미참치 2015.05.28_8 via photopin (license)

The Notorious “Fugu”

The single most notorious dish in Japan is Fugu, which is made from pufferfish. What makes this dish so famous is if prepared incorrectly it can kill you. Part of the pufferfish is loaded with a lethal poison called tetrodotoxin. As a result, the government tightly controls how this dish is prepared and who serves it to the public.

Even so, there have been 20 to 44 incidents of poisoning between 1996 and 2006 from eating fugu. There’s been hospitalizations and even deaths from eating this dish. So proceed with caution, while you should be OK trying this meal, there’s always a risk that something could go wrong.

 

Zuboraya Dotombori

One of the most popular places to try fugu in Osaka is Zuboraya. It located in the South of Osaka and there’s an inflated puffer fish hanging in front of the store. If you’re interested, this restaurant offers a set dinner course that will allow you to sample different versions of this dish.
Address: 1-6-10, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka (5 minutes from Subway Midosuji Line Namba Station Exit 14  OR 5 minutes walk from Kintetsu Line Osaka-Namba Station)
Phone: 06-6211-0181
Open Hour: Mon-Sat 11:00am 〜 11:00pm
Closed: No fixed holidays

Fugu is a notorious dish which is prepared from potentially poisonous puffer fish. photo credit: Fugu via photopin (license)

Slurp Down Kitsune Udon

One of my absolute favorite things to eat in Japan is Udon.

There’s nothing better than slurping down noodles and its warm broth. What’s even better, it’s considered good manners to slurp while you eat this dish. It means you like the food.

So go ahead – slurp to your hearts content. You won’t offend anyone 🙂 .

Osaka’s version of the Udon is called Kitsune Udon. This dish comes with a piece of deep fried tofu and a sweet light sauce.

 

Usami-Tei Matsubaya

Usami- Tei Matsubaya is a third generation family udon shop that you must visit in Osaka. It served one of the BEST udons I’ve ever tasted.
Address 3-8-1 Minami-senba Chuo-ku, Osaka
Phone: 81 6-6251-3339
Open Hour: 11:00am-7:00pm, Fri-Sat 11:00am-7:30pm
Closed: Sun and Holidays

Slurping down Udon is one of my favorite things in Japan.

Dine On Kobe Beef – Yakiniku Style

Kobe, located only 30 minutes from Osaka, is famous for producing some of the highest quality (and most expensive) beef in the world. Wagu is recognizable due to its marbled appearance and the presence of intramuscular fat which gives the meat its unique markings and melt in your mouth texture. This will be one of your splurges in Japan, but trust me, it’s worth it.

 

Tsurgyu

There are lots of places you can try this sublime cut of beef in Osaka. Personally, I enjoyed eating it Yakiniku style. The place that I will be recommending is Tsurgyu. While it’s technically a Korean style restaurant, I liked it enough to include it in this list. When you order a Yakiniku meal, you receive the beef raw and cook it on a grill at your table BBQ style.

Don’t worry, it’s very easy to cook and the beef has a soft-buttery taste that’s just out of this world.

Address3-5-14 Kawaraya-Machi Chuo-KuOsaka
Phone: 81 6-6767-2989

Kobe beef is one of the finest cuts of beef in the world. photo credit: A5 Kobe Beef via photopin (license)

Kushikastu

Kushikastu is deep fried meat or veggies on a stick that’s usually accompanied by a sweet and tangy sauce. This is the perfect meal to grab on the go. It’s comfort street food and lets face it, everything on a stick just tastes better.

There are plenty of places that serve Kushikatsu in Osaka, the most famous are: “Daruma”,”Yaekatsu”, “Gojouya”, “Katsu” and “Shiruhisa”.

Kushikatsu is deep-fried meat or vegetables on a stick. photo credit: Kushikatsu via photopin (license)

Negiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a very popular dish throughout Japan. Neigyaki is okonomiyaki’s brother from another mother.

Negiyaki is essentially the same dish minus cabbage, pork and other stuffings. ‘Negi’ in Japanese means green onion, which is a main ingredient of this meal. It’s served with soy sauce, instead of the heavier sauce that okonomiyaki is usually smothered in. So negiyaki is a slighty healthier option.

One of the Osaka’s most famous Negiyaki restaurants is the “YAMAMOTO”.

Negiyaki is slimmed down version of okonomiyaki.

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