A trip to Japan is never going to be complete without paying its food capital a visit— Osaka. As one of the most important gastronomic spots in the country, the variety of street foods served across the city is impressive.
If you’re intent on trying out some of the best dishes that Japan has to offer, then a trip to Osaka is a must. While crowded and noisy, the street food scene in this part of the country is going to delight the foodie in you. Read on as we list down some of the top street foods you should try when going on a food trip to Osaka.
An Osaka original dish, there is no way you can say your foodie trip is complete without gorging on okonomiyaki. What is it, you might ask? Think pancake but with a twist!
Okonomiyaki very much resembles a thick pancake. But instead of the usual ingredients in the batter, you get finely chopped veggies along with eggs instead. You get to choose which specific meaty topping you like. Although vegetarian options are also available, depending on the stall serving the dish.
As the “yaki” in okonomiyaki implies, this is a grilled dish. Cooked on an iron griddle, it is then topped with a savory and sweet sauce. This dish can be enjoyed on the go. But if you have time to spare, you can dine along stalls that will serve you the dish on tables equipped with their own griddle.
Perhaps one of the most popular dishes you will find anywhere Japanese street foods are served, takoyaki is certainly a must-try! This sphere-shaped goodness is made from a batter of wheat flour. Batter fillings include diced octopus, green onion, and pickled ginger.
What sets the original Osaka takoyaki is the way the batter is made. Unlike other Takoyaki dishes served across Japan, Osaka takoyaki batter has dashi soup. In addition, the batter is lightly salted to help highlight the different flavors of its ingredients.
The dish is usually served topped with takoyaki sauce, dried bonito flakes, and mayonnaise. Gooey on the inside but with a crisp outside crust, some stalls may even serve the dish with baby octopuses peeking out of each ball!
A gentle reminder, however. While it is very tempting to just bite into the oozing goodness of a piece of Takoyaki, the inside can be very hot. A great eating technique would be to poke a hole in the middle to get some of the heat out before digging in.
Anything chicken is surefire to be tasty. But skewered pieces of chicken served right off the grill? That’s perfection! Yakitori is another Osaka street food staple that no foodie can say no to.
Imagine the heavenly smell wafting across the streets as they are grilled to perfection. It will make any mouth water, without fail.
Another dish with “yaki” in it, yakitori means grilled chicken. Different stalls will usually have their way and twist in how they serve their yakitori. Some serve them bare, seasoned, or glazed. Regardless, you can be sure that this is one food that will tick all the boxes on your foodie checklist no matter the time of the day.
Asian street food is never going to be complete without a noodle dish and Japan has a variety of options to offer. At the top of the list, however, is yakisoba. Japan’s offering to the stir-fried noodles category is certainly a homerun!
A dish inspired by China’s chow mein, they are made of regular wheat noodles with cabbage and other veggies tossed along. Customers get to choose which meat topping they want. The noodles are then cooked on an iron griddle.
Oyster sauce is used for flavoring, which gives it that savory with a little hint of sweet taste. A pretty inexpensive but wonderfully delicious meal, it is great for people on a budget. What’s even better is that you can get them to go, making it the perfect street food as you browse the streets of Osaka.
If you love meat and you love deep-fried stuff, then this is the dish for you! The dish involves meat and veggies on skewers which are then deep-fried for that perfect street snack.
Various ingredients can be used when cooking kushikatsu. A variety of meat including pork or chicken, fish as well as seasonal veggies can be used for the dish. The ingredients are coated with egg and breadcrumbs and then served on bamboo skewers. They are then deep-fried in vegetable oil and served with tonkatsu sauce or on their own.
The dish is a great choice for people wanting to eat something delectable on the go. This is one of the many street food offerings that you can enjoy along Dotonbori or in the Shinsekai area.
If you’ve watched enough anime, you’ll have encountered this wonderful Japanese pastry in some of the scenes. Notable for its fish shape, what’s interesting is there is certainly no fish in this fish-shaped delight.
Instead, this freshly baked dessert has sweet potato, custard, chocolate, bean paste, and a variety of other fillings. This is just the perfect dessert for those with a sweet tooth.
If you’re not keen on munching on a regular-sized taiyaki, you can get the miniature version instead. Still retaining the quintessential fish shape, these mini taiyakis are smaller at just 2 inches long. Though smaller, they are certainly packed with the same wonderful flavors.
What street food excursion would be complete without having a dango? Osaka’s street food options certainly do not disappoint with their mitarashi dango dumplings.
Made from glutinous rice, the dough is shaped into balls and served on a stick. The dango is then cooked over a fire grill until tender. A soy sauce and sugar glaze is then added for that perfectly unique taste of sweet and salty.
Chewy and warm, this is certainly one dessert offering from Osaka’s streets that is hard to forget. Just the unique combination of flavors is enough reason to try this unique dessert.
If you want a twist on the popular yakiniku, koromunyaki served on food stalls along the streets of Osaka is well worth looking into. If you’re not the type to shy away from unique meat cuts, then this is just the dish to try.
Made from, hog and beef offal or innards, you can get served with cuts ranging from the liver, heart, lungs, pancreas, and stomach among others. Just like yakiniku, the meat is grilled and served to foodies who aren’t afraid to try a bit of gastronomic adventure.
If you want to taste the best of Osaka’s horumon offerings, Sora Tsuruhashi Soten is the place to head to. They are known for offering more than 30 horumon varieties sold as the perfect street snack. Be warned, however, that the lunchtime line in this popular restaurant can be quite long, so customers are advised to make reservations ahead of time.
If you ever find yourself walking the Osaka streets on a particularly chilly day, this is the perfect street food to go for. Much like its Korean version “odeng”, it is known for a variety of ingredients that are simmered in broth all day for that wonderfully filling experience.
Unfortunately, stalls serving this wonderful street food delicacy are slowly disappearing. Which is why if you ever see a stall serving this dish, make the moment count and have some! Take a bite of radish, eggs, fish cakes, edible roots, and a plethora of other ingredients while sipping on the broth.
A hearty dish and considered the Japanese street food’s grandfather, it seems a pity that fewer and fewer businesses are serving this wonderful dish.
Another octopus-based dish, as the name suggests, it is a dish made of both “tako” or octopus, and “tamago” or egg. What’s interesting, however, is that the dish actually is not octopus eggs. Instead, you literally get both an egg and an octopus.
Served on skewers, you get glazed baby octopus served with quail eggs. Legends suggest that the dish originated from the Nishiki Market in Kyoto. The dish is quite popular in various marketplaces in the Kansai region.
If you’re interested in giving this unique street food a try, you can head out to the Kuromon Ichiba Market in Osaka. This is one of their most popular dishes along with a variety of other street food choices.
A wonderful food mecca
Osaka certainly lives up to its name of being the food capital of Japan. Home to some of the best street foods in the country, there is certainly a wide variety of delicious foods to try. From snacks to meals on the go to dessert, you can find something to suit your taste. And with food choices offered at such reasonable prices, it is one place you’d want to keep coming back to every time you find yourself in the land of the rising sun.