Osaka’s food culture can be summed up in one word: “Kuidaore,” a Japanese word that means eat until you drop. Osakans love food, and they should; the city has some of the best of it in all of Japan. With easy access to the ocean and mountains, fresh produce, meat, and fish are readily available. Here is a handy guide to Osaka’s food culture.
Tourists can find most any type of food in Osaka – from traditional Japanese meals to local dishes or even top-notch international cuisine. The most concentrated selection of Osaka’s best restaurants are found in the city’s main entertainment districts – Umeda (Kita area) and Dotombori (Minami area). In addition to restaurants, there are three other ways to enjoy Osaka’s food culture.
Coffee shops are incredibly popular in Osaka. They cater to professionals who need their fix of coffee before starting the day but also to students looking for a cozy place to study. Many coffee shops in Osaka serve small desserts and other little nibbles – both regional and international.
Like elsewhere around Japan, fast food for Osakans comes in the form of bento boxes, or prepared lunches. Convenience stores and dedicated bento establishments serve these both hot and cold. For a quick lunch, bento boxes are as local and quintessential Osaka as it gets.
After work, business people often desire a drink before heading home. Osaka caters to this crowd with establishments called “tachi-nomi.” These are inexpensive places that often do not even have seats. They are often found in or by liquor stores. The city that loves food also loves a good drink.
Finally, high end cuisine called “kappo” has become incredibly popular in Osaka. In this style of eating, the chef prepares made-to-order food in front of the customer. Kappo-style restaurants are typically small and intimate with seating around a small bar where the chef works.