Top 5 Foods to Eat in Osaka

By Viator, June 2015

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Osaka's culinary scene bursts with as much variety as it does flavor and attracts food lovers from around and outside Japan. While it's possible to eat a different international cuisine at each meal of the day, local, traditional dishes remain the highlight of Osaka's lauded food culture. Fresh seafood, traditional vegetables, and regional variations on Japanese favorites characterize Osaka fare. From fine-dining prix fixe menus to noodle shops, Osaka dining has something for everyone. When considering what to eat in Osaka, don't miss these standout dishes.

Osaka’s signature sushi, hakozushi, or “boxed sushi” looks and tastes very different from the iconic Japanese image of hand-crafted slices of raw fish and seasoned rice. Hakozushi is crafted into a square by a wooden box. All of the ingredients – eel, egg, shrimp, and mushrooms are common – are typically cooked, including the fish. The small box sushi is aesthetically pleasing in presentation, with a variety of colors and flavors packed into a single bite.

Kitsune Udon
While udon noodles are not native to Osaka, their popularity across Japan inspired chefs to adapt them to the region. Kitsune, or thin, fried tofu slices, are placed on top of a steaming bowl of udon noodle soup. This dish is so popular it is now considered a standard Osaka meal.

Originally street food, kushi-katsu, or deep-friend pork kabobs, are now served at trendy izakayas, or pubs, and casual restaurants around Osaka. Diners dip the breaded meat into a variety of spices, salt, or dipping sauces. Just remember, no double dipping!

One of the most famous Japanese foods, okonomiyaki is a savory pancake filled with grilled meat, seafood, and a variety of other toppings. Osaka-style okonomiyaki is the most prominent of the regional variations, and it typically includes eggs, shredded cabbage, green onion, meat, octopus, squid, shrimp, vegetables, mochi, or cheese.

Takoyaki, or balls of octopus, is a quintessential Osaka food. Raw octopus is mixed with a batter of flour, onions, and various other ingredients, and cooked in a special pan. The perfectly-shaped round balls are drizzled with a special takoyaki sauce. The snack can be found in most Osaka casual restaurants and is often purchased from street vendors.

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