Taste All the Regional Specialty Foods of Osaka

Japan is the ultimate food destination because every region within the country has its distinct dishes, flavors, and specialties. Here are 9 regional specialty foods you must eat when visiting Osaka:

1. Takoyaki

Regional Specialty Foods
Osaka is most known for its street food culture, and takoyaki is on the top of the charts for an iconic taste of the region. Takoyaki is battered octopus cooked into a ball shape and then dressed with bonito flakes, tonkatsu sauce, and mayonnaise. Tip: wait for the piping hot balls to cool down! If not, you will tearfully burn your tongue. These are best paired with cold local beers.


2. Okonomiyaki

Regional Specialty Foods
Another iconic dish of Osaka. Okonomiyaki can best be described as savory pancakes comprised of a batter with cabbage and meat and then topped with condiments. These are always cooked on a flat top griddle. Many restaurants in Osaka have tables with these griddles so the okonomiyaki is cooked right in front of you.


3. Kushikatsu

Regional Specialty Foods
Osaka has numerous specialty dishes, and this is another one of them – kushikatsu, also known as kushiage. These are skewered meats and vegetables that are deep fried. The breading is typically finer with only one ingredient on the stick. Before eating the skewer, you dip the whole stick of food inside the container of sauce, which is a shared sauce so you never double dip!


4. Kushiyaki

Regional Specialty Foods
A hybrid of kushikatsu that both fries and pan fries the skewers on a teppanyaki griddle. This is a regional specialty originated from Osaka farmers who cooked their food on their hoes in the middle of the field.


5. Kansai-style Sukiyaki

Regional Specialty Foods
While Kanto-style (Kanto meaning it originates from the Tokyo area) sukiyaki simmers the beef and vegetables in a broth, Kansai-style sukiyaki caramelizes the beef with a little amount of sauce plus sugar crystals before adding the vegetables. The caramelization creates a more intense flavor of beef and a whole new sukiyaki experience.


6. Kansai-style Unagi

Regional Specialty Foods
Kanto-style unagi typically cuts the eel down its back, butterflied, and the grilled first. Afterward, it is steamed and then grilled a second time for a tender, flaky eel. Over in Kansai, the eel is cut down the belly and simply grilled for a longer period of time to create a crispier and chewier texture.


7. Sushi

Regional Specialty Foods
While this is not at all a regional specialty, you have to eat as much sushi as possible while in Japan. It is best to order a couple pieces of sushi first to test the quality of the sushi bar. If it passes your palate, then go ahead and order as much as you can eat.


8. Gyoza

Regional Specialty Foods
Osaka is the place to enjoy small bites at every corner because of the region’s street food specialties. Gyoza in Osaka is known for its crispy bottom that is pan fried after the dumplings have been steamed.


9. Shake Shack

Regional Specialty Foods
While not Japanese, Shake Shack has been successfully expanding throughout Japan, and it has recently opened its newest branch in Osaka. The latest location is in Umeda, just a couple blocks away from the Osaka Station.


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