Osaka, A Foodie’s Heaven

Our foodie adventures in Tokyo and Kyoto were thus far fruitful and fulfilling. Osaka was our next and final stop. For me, the main highlight of our trip in Osaka is the vast varieties of restaurants and food stalls in Dotonbori. You’ll be spoiled for choice as everything looks so tempting and yummy.

DotonboriGastronomic adventure @ Dotonbori, Namba Osaka.

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Here are some of the food that we managed to try:

@ Yodobashi-Umeda (Add: 530-0011 1-1 Ofukacho Kita-ku Osaka, Japan)

Yodobashi in Umeda, Osaka is enormously big. It is a shopping mall that sells electrical products (cameras, laptops, and house applicanses), toys (figurines, video games, and gundams) and fashion items (clothes and jeweleries). After browsing and shopping around the mall, you can satisfy your tummy on the 8th floor whereby the whole floor is occupied by a variety of restaurants.

Tempura setTonkatsu lunch set meal.

If you like everything about deep fried food, Satsuma Tonkatsu is the place to eat. It’s good solid food, and its price is reasonable for the portion you get.

teppanyakiMelt-in your mouth goodies.

Our teppanyaki experience @ Teppan’yaki Hakata Tenjin Horumon was awesome . We were seated on the teppanyaki counter and the heavenly aroma of teppanyaki meat filled the air in the restaurant stimulating my salivary glands. 😛 We were unsure of what to order as the menu is in Japanese with very few photos. So the best bet was to observe first before ordering. We noticed that most of the restaurant patrons ordered beef intestine, so we decided to follow the crowd and we were extremely glad that we did. A word of caution, this dish is not for the health-conscious eater. Beef intestine is exceptionally fatty that it just melts in your mouth. We also ordered the beef teppanyaki and it was well-prepared and well-seasoned. Love the teppanyaki sauce they use to cook them in.

@ Steakland, Sannomiya, Kobe (Add: Kobe-shi Chuo-ku Kitanagasa-dori 1-8-2, Japan)

Kobe is only 30 minutes away from Osaka so it is only logical to take a detour to Kobe, a city renowned for its beef (kobe niku!). We decided to go to Steakland as it is just opposite the Hankyu Sannomiya train station and based on my research, this place serves tasty kobe beef at a reasonable price. We reached there at 12pm and there was already a long queue outside the shop. I must say it’s a very popular spot among the locals and tourists. As soon as we walked in, the sizzling sound of the beef cooking on the iron griddle and its tantalizing aroma made my tummy growled.

IMG_4319Chef in action.

The chefs showcased their cooking and knife skills by preparing and cooking the beef right in front of their customers. Both of us were watching quietly while my tummy was waiting impatiently to taste the wonderful meat. They cooked it perfectly and also made the extra effort to cut them into even bite-sized pieces and seared the meat carefully on all sides. The meat was then served with bean sprouts and crispy garlic pieces. The combination of crispy garlic and the succulent meat are just gobsmackingly delish!

kobe 1Look at these amazingly succulent pieces of meat. Yum!~

IMG_4318Tender and juicy. Definitely worth the travel and wait.

@ Takoyaki Museum (Add: 6-2-614F Shimaya, Konohanaku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 554-0024, Japan)

The takoyaki museum is not really a museum per se, it is basically a place with stalls selling different varieties of takoyakis. Quite similar to the gyoza stadium at Namco Namjatown in Tokyo. This place is a must visit if you’re a takoyaki lover and they have a very cute and addictive takoyaki museum theme song playing in the background. Overall, it was a lovely place and one of the stalls serves incredibly tasty takoyaki.

IMG_4480Kawaii entrance sign.

IMG_4486IMG_4485Moreish takoyaki. Crispy skin enveloping the flavorsome octopus filling.

@ Genpin Fugu (Add: 1-1-13 Namba, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan)

Fugu, the Japanese word for pufferfish is a Japanese delicacy. Fugu is very poisonous and requires careful preparation to remove the toxin and this is usually done by an experienced chef. I’ve made a promise to myself that I have to try fugu if I ever visit Japan one day. So here I am, fulfilling my promise at Genpin Fugu.

IMG_4506A huge tank housing the fugu at the entrance of the restaurant.

As we walked into the restaurant, we were ushered to a room with japanese style tables. We were given a menu each and the waitress explained the menu in Mandarin fluently. I opted for the more expensive course, the Puffer Fish BBQ Course while Mr. D chose the cheaper course as he didn’t find eating fugu interesting but he obliged because I was so adamant to try it. 😛

Fugu 1Clockwise from top left: Boiled fugu skin, fugu sashimi, fugu shabu-shabu and fried fugu.

However, my excitement was short-lived. The course started with boiled fugu skin served with a sourish sauce called chirisu. The skin has a chewy texture which was nice but it was lack of taste. The only taste that I could taste was the sourish sauce. Next, I had the fugu sashimi. It was skillfully sliced and fresh but still tasted quite bland. The fried fugu was alright, perfectly cook and crispy. I feel that the texture of the cooked fugu flesh is somewhat similar to a frog’s. After that, we had fugu shabu-shabu hotpot and it was tasteless. The flavor of the fugu is too delicate that the vegetables outshone the fugu. After that, I was given a few pieces of marinated fugu in yet another sourish sauce to BBQ. At that stage, I was really sick of the sourish sauce as this sauce had been served together with every fugu dish and we were told that the sauce is supposed to help to enhance the fugu’s flavor. But, I beg to differ!

Fugu 2

BBQ fugu (top) and hodgepogde porridge (bottom).

Lastly, we had fugu porridge using the hotpot broth (which was bland). Rice was added into the broth together with the lightly beaten eggs and some seasonings.  Overall, I didn’t enjoy the meal as everything was so bland and the sourish sauce didn’t make it taste any better. I went in with such high hopes but came out disappointed. 😦 After this meal, I feel that fugu is over-rated and over-priced. Well, it’s good to try at least once to satisfy my curiosity. Now that I know what it tastes like, this would be the first and the last time I’ll ever eat fugu.

@ Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M (Add: 1-1-19, Namba, Chuo-ku, Osaka-city, 542-0076, Japan)

Japan has three top brands when it comes to wagyu. They are the Kobe beef, Yonezawa Beef and Matsusaka beef. I had tried the Kobe beef on our trip to Kobe and it was gloriously tender and juicy. I didn’t plan or expect that I would be able to taste Matsusaka beef  in this trip as I didn’t know about it until I stumbled upon Yakiniku M restaurant while browsing a magazine in my hostel. Matsusaka beef has a higher fat-to-meat ratio compared to kobe beef and it’s superbly suitable for yakiniku. I couldn’t be happier when I found out that the restaurant is nearby and is located in Dotonbori area. I was overjoyed and thought to myself that I had to try it that night. It was a Saturday night and we went without any bookings. It was a bad decision as we had to wait for almost 30 min for a table. It was a long but worthwhile wait. We ordered the special courses and they were incredible!

Matsusaka 1Clockwise from top left: Matsusaka lean beef sushi, rice porridge with wasabi, Matsusaka beef (ichibo cut) happily grilling on grilling plate and grilled Matsusaka medium toro kalbi short rib with scallion and salt.

As soon as I put the grilled meat into my mouth and chewed, the music “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” just started playing in my mind. I’m not kidding, it’s seriously divine. The piece of meat just melted and left a warm and happy sensation in my mouth. You definitely have to try it to appreciate its deliciousness.

IMG_4397The various beef cuts. Look at the marbling on the beef. *drools* We had ichibo (upper part of the round and has a moderate amount of fat), here (tenderloin), haneshita rosu (loin) and kainomi (marbled fat cut between sirloin and top of rear flank).

IMG_4400Warabimochi for dessert to end our perfect and satisfying meal.

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The Matsusaka beef was soooooooo good and since it’s very near our hostel, we decided to go back for a second time right before we left Japan. The restaurant manager was so shocked to see us again. He could recognize us because we were the only couple waiting for a table on that day, those who came in were with bookings in placed. He was of course delighted and recommended us some good and rare cuts. We ordered the Matsusaka marbled meat BBQ platters which consisted of ohtoro karubi (toro large rib, the best quality Kalbi beef with the most marbling), big sirloin steak (best quality part of the cow with fine fat), maboroshi no misuji (well fat marbled beef, small part of the shoulder and only one comes from each cow), ichibo and here (had to re-order these two as they are really delicious). It was a marvelous meal to end our foodie adventures in Japan.

Snacks

The snacks and desserts sold in Japan are so beautifully presented that you couldn’t help but be enticed by their creative and cute packaging.

Coffee DessertCoffee jelly dessert from a stall in the basement of Takashimaya Osaka.

JaponOkoshi (puffed rice balls) from Pon pon ja pon @ Takashimaya Osaka. They have 12 different flavors which include maple syrup, almond, Earl Grey tea, chocolate, green tea, brown sugar, curry, sesame kimpira, raspberry cheesecake, blueberry yogurt, strawberry milk, and dried fruit. These are really addictive!

2012-06-01-101Rainbow pocky consists of 7 different flavors which includes blueberry (blue), green tea (green), orange (orange), grape (purple), strawberry (pink), chocolate (red), and banana (yellow).

2012-06-01-098Morning tea @ Mister Donut in Fukushima. The green color drink in the photo is melon soda. That’s my favorite softdrink in Japan.

And this post wraps up our foodie adventures in Japan. It was an exciting, tantalizing and satisfying experience. We will definitely go back Japan again for the food. If you’re visiting Japan, I strongly encourage you to include your own gastronomic tour as well. It’ll be worthwhile, I promise. 😀

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3 thoughts on “Osaka, A Foodie’s Heaven

  1. Fae's Twist & Tango 12/12/2012 at 10:43 AM Reply

    I grew-up in Osaka for 10 years, age 5~14. This was very nostalgic! 😀 Fae.

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