I spent a memorable week in Osaka this past winter. As Japan’s unofficial food capital, the bustling metropolis is quite the treasure chest of exciting culinary finds. Here’s a glimpse:
Udon is a popular Japanese thick noodle made of wheat-flour. The origin of the noodles can be traced back to China, despite being distinctly Japanese today. The udon noodles at this noodle house weren’t run of the mill; they were hand-made-to-order and were noticeably meatier and chewier than any pre-made, frozen alternative.
Japanese “pancakes,” okonomiyaki, literally “what you want grilled,” are made by combining a special batter (typically flour, grated yams, water, cabbage, eggs) and assorted toppings like shrimp, pork, green onion. This Japanese gallette is then topped with Japanese mayonnaise, though other sauces are also used, and usually served on a counter-top flat grill before the customer.
The standard tourist fugu (pufferfish) experience. Nothing original, but it was something to try. Fugu is a somewhat heavy fish, though not very oily. At this restaurant, I had the opportunity to try it prepared several different ways: raw, in a hot pot, deep-fried, as a broth.
At shinsekai, there are an uncanny concentration of kushikatsu restaurants. Kushikatsu are Japanese deep-fried skewers. Meats (chicken, beef, pork, fish) and vegetables (yam, eggplant, asparagus, carrot, onion, to name a few) are breaded with panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and fried to order. This particular restaurant I dined at served the skewers with a lightly-vinegared shoyu and fresh cabbage.
While not exclusive to Osaka, tonkatsu (豚カツ), is very popular throughout Japan. The pork cutlet is breaded with panko and then deep-fried. Here, in standard fashion, it was served with miso soup, cabbage, and rice.
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