food & specialities, Osaka
One of the local delicacies in Osaka is takoyaki, or octopus balls. These round dumplings are sold by street vendors and stalls in Dōtonbori and elsewhere. The octopus is chopped and mixed with other ingredients such as spring onion, covered in the batter and cooked in special takoyaki pans. A sauce is added (typically a brown sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce) and other flavours such as green laver (a seaweed) or bonito (dried fish flakes) sprinkled on. The ones we bought from this vendor on Dōtonbori also had some cheese inside which added to their deliciousness and also to the challenge of eating them – they are served piping hot and are quite liable to burn your mouth if you bite into them too soon, as of course we did!
This is a cheap and tasty snack, ideal for filling up on while exploring the night-time streets of Osaka. We paid just 800¥ for a paper tray of six takoyaki and shared them out as we’d already eaten, but you could buy a tray-full and enjoy them all yourself if hungry enough!
Next tip: another local treat at Warri-Wa
Our hotel room was included breakfast and when we checked in the receptionist ask if we want to have standard western breakfast or Japanese breakfast? Common, we have "normal" breakfast all over the world, why the hell in Japan I need the same? The choice was obvious and in the next morning excited we enter into the Japanese breakfast room into the unknown. We were the only westerns there and we had to look sometimes at the other guests to see how actually they handle the food. Anyway, the breakfast was very good even I have no idea what it was the "things" that I was eating :)
There are a lot of tiny udon noodle shops in Osaka where there is only room to stand. The noodles are cheap, and the office workers come in, eat quickly and then get out again.
It's an interesting experience to see how quickly people come in, slurp down their noodles and then get out.
First of all, I'm not a fish lover. I usually don't like anything out of the sea. Therefore I was very surprised that I just love to eat Takoyaki (octopus balls)!
My friend told me that Takoyaki is a special food from the Osaka Area and that even people from Tokyo are enjoying going to Osaka to have some of them.
You can get them from street vendors or in restraurants. Look out for the red lantern with black writings on it. That's the sign for Takoyaki!
Yummy! Very delicious!
Osaka is famous for its Takoyaki so,...
Walking around in Osaka it should be easy to spot a Takoyaki restaurant with a big mock
octopus right outside its front doors.
You can get a seat and order yourself some Takoyaki in a wide range of styles and flavors.
In my case I opted for the pinnaple/ham Takoyaki.
Osaka was once called the 'kitchen of Japan' & has been known as a town for gourmets. Its tradition has not changed & people in the Kansai area are very fastidious about taste.
FOOD CULTURE:Blowfish: A part of the blowfish contains poison only an expert chef is allowed to cook it. Blowfish is said to be the king of winter delicacies.
Tetchiri is a dish in which pieces of blowfish & vegetables are cooked in a pot.
Tessa is a plate of thinly sliced raw blowfish.
Kaiseki: A simple meal served on the occasion of a tea ceremony. It is arranged in a decorative way to accent the taste, a sense of the season & the beauty of the serving dishes.
Okonomiyaki: A spicy pancake about 2 cm in thickness. Its dough is made by mixing flour, broth, ground yam & finely cut cabbage & then cooking it on a griddle with ingredients such as meat or prawns on top. When it's cooked thoroughly, it can be garnished with sauce, dried bonito fish flakes & powdered green seaweed before eating. Sound yummy, isn't it?
Generally, the waiter of the restaurant cooks it in front of you, but when you do it yourself you should turn it over carefully so that it won't break into pieces.
Udon (noodles): Thick noodles made with flour. Usually served in a bowl with hot soup & thin fried bean curd or tempura. Kitsune udon (noodles with fried tofu) is a typical Osakan dish.
Udonsuki (noodles cooked sukiyaki-style in a pot) originated in Osaka. Slurping udon is not considered rude.
Osaka-zushi: Sushi generally means nigiri or hand-shaped sushi & Tokyo is its birthplace. Osaka-style sushi is made by placing pieces of sea bream, sea eel or vinegared mackerel between rice layers & pressing them together in a wooden box. This sushi is then cut into small blocks & served.
Fish for Sushi:awabi abalone
akagai ark shell
anago sea eel
aji horse mackerel
tai sea bream
uni sea urchin
ikura salmon roe
Takoyaki: A small dumpling with chopped octopus prepared by baking dough in the round hollows of a special griddle. One of Osaka's most popular snackes, available on many a street corner.
Yakiniku (grilled meat): It is common to cook meat on a griddle, but the most delicious way is to grill it over a charcoal fire. The meat is grilled without seasoning then dipped into a type of soy sauce before eating.
The Japanese use CHOPSTICKS as naturally as the Europeans use forks. They are like an extension of a man's fingers, ya know? Basically, practical adaptations that managed to evolve from the days when man indeed ate with his fingers. Did I just hear you say - barbarian? :-)
Did you also know that there are different styles of chopsticks?
The Chinese variety is blunt on the 'eating end' whilst the Japanese prefer those with pointed tips. (see pic below). There are even short lengths for children for use!
Chopsticks are made of many materials - ivory, plastic, silver and even jade - but the most common ones are of wood or bamboo. For everyday use, wood, bamboo or ivory is best.
All Japanese food is prepared in such a way that it's easy for us to handle it with chopsticks. In fact, many older folks in don't even use a spoon when having their meal.
Well, in short: Practice is the key to success with these centuries-old tools known simply as CHOPSTICKS. Enjoy your meal, my friends.