Osaka is known as the food capital of Japan. There’s a saying in Osaka, “kuidaore“, which means eating until you drop. But with the variety of options available, it can be hard to decide what to eat in Osaka.

If you have limited time in the city known as “Japan’s kitchen“, here’s a list of Osaka’s iconic must-eat dishes, and the best places to eat them. 

Takoyaki | Introduction 

Osaka Japan Takoyaki squid balls
Credit: mamaloli.com

Takoyaki is a Japanese street food made from a flour-based batter and octopus, then shaped into balls. They are served with a unique takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise.

A street stall selling takoyaki
Credit: klook.com

Takoyaki is said to be invented in Osaka in the 1930s. A man named Tomekich Endo made the first Takoyaki ball by adapting an older recipe for akashiyaki (think takoyaki, but made with mainly eggs instead of flour).

Takoyaki | Try it

Name: Aizu Namba branch (NAMBA Nan Nan) / 会津屋 ナンバ店(NAMBAなんなん)

Address: Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku Namba 5 Chome NAMBA Nan Nan (basement floor) 
大阪府大阪市中央区難波5丁目 NAMBAなんなん内(地下街

Kushikatsu | Introduction

Osaka Japan Kushikatsu deep fried food
Credit: dotonbori.or.jp

Kushikatsu consists of lightly battered and deep fried meat and vegetables on skewers. In Japanese, kushi refers to the skewers used. Interestingly, the Japanese character for kushi (串) also looks like a skewer with food on it. 

Kushikatsu is said to have originated from the Shinsekai area in Osaka, and today, you can find lots of kushikatsu restaurants in the area.

Shinsekai area in Osaka
Credit: Flickr

Pro tip: The best way to enjoy kushikatsu is with an ice-cold pint of beer!

Kushikatsu with beer
Credit: suntory.co.jp

Kushikatsu | Try it 

Name: Yakko (やっこ)

Address: 2 Chome-3-10 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0002, Japan

Kitsune Udon | Introduction 

Osaka Japan Kitsune Udon
Credit: justonecookbook.com

Kitsune udon is udon (thick wheat noodles) served in a delicious soup topped with a piece of deep-fried tofu (aburaage). Kitsune literally translates to “fox” in Japanese, and there are two theories why this dish is named as such.

In old Japanese folktales, aburaage often appears to be the fox’s favourite food, hence people started calling udon soup with aburaage as “kitsune udon“.

Kitsune udon
Credit: https://kaseito.wordpress.com

Another theory is that the Japanese call aburaage “kitsune” because the colour of the deep-fried tofu looks like the colour of a fox.

Kitsune Udon | Try it 

Name: Dotonbori Imai Honten/道頓堀今井本店

Address: 1-7-22 Dotombori, Chuo-ku, Osaka

Teppanyaki | Introduction

Osaka Japan Teppenyaki
Credit: tripadvisor.com

Teppanyaki is a Japanese style of cooking where the chef cooks on an iron plate. The words “teppan” meaning iron plate and “yaki” meaning grilled. While teppanyaki is a style of cooking, it can also be considered a performance to delight diners. 

Diners can sit back and watch a chef juggle utensils, toss food up in the air, ignite mini fires, and finally, enjoy the food that was prepared right in front of them! This is a unique dining experience where customers are entertained with the sights, sounds and aromas throughout the entire meal.

Teppanyaki | Try it 

Teppanyaki chef
Credit: savorjapan.com

Name: Bar & Grill Dukes Fukushima

Address: 8-1-3 Fukushima , Fukushima-ku, Osaka-shi , Osaka

Ramen | Introduction

Osaka Japan Ramen
Credit: @steven_chew on Instagram

Ramen is a popular dish that comes in many different variations. Starting with four different kinds of broth: 

Shoyu – soy sauce 

Shio – salt broth 

Tonkotsu – pork bone broth 

Miso – it’s miso 

And a range of toppings including chasu (roast pork), boiled egg, and fish cake slices. 

Osaka’s variation of ramen is the takaida-kei ramen. It has a saltier shoyu broth, thicker ramen noodles, fermented bamboo shoots, and topped with onions.

Takaida kei ramen
Credit: friendsinramen.com

Ramen | Try it 

7.5hz is the best place in Osaka to try Takaida-kei ramen. 

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/麺屋75hz/417222355027753

Name: 7.5hz

Address: Japan, 〒530-0001 Osaka, Kita Ward, Umeda, 1−2-2 大阪駅前第二ビル

Okonomiyaki | Introduction 

Osaka Japan Okonomiyaki
Credit: wikimedia.org

Okonomiyaki is one of Osaka’s signature dishes. It consists of vegetables (typically cabbage and yam), seafood, meat, and even cheese held together by a flour-based batter and fried on an iron plate into a pancake. 

Pro tip: You can order a variant of okonomiyaki stuffed with noodles called modanyaki.

modanyaki
Credit: Japandeluxetours.com

Okonomiyaki | Try it 

Name: Kiji

Address: Shin-Umeda Shokudogai, 9-20 Kakuda-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, 530-0017

Oden | Introduction 

Osaka Japan Oden
Credit: takeaway.com

Oden consists of food cooked on skewers in a pot of delicious broth. It consists typically of daikon, devil’s tongue (konjac), tofu, boiled eggs and shitake mushrooms. These ingredients are popular because they absorb the broth of the stew and release them as you bite into them, releasing their flavours as you eat. 

Osaka is home to no less than four Michelin-starred oden restaurants, with another four given the Bib Gourmand distinction.

Oden | Try it 

Takoume is the oldest oden restaurant in Japan that was founded in 1844. They have several branches, but you’ve got to visit the original:

Takoume restaurant
Credit: hanatane.blogspot.com

Name: Takoume

Address: 1-1-8 Dotonbori, Chuo-ward, Osaka-shi, Japan

Yakitori | Introduction 

Osaka Japan Yakitori
Credit: shutterstock.com

Yakitori is chicken grilled over a flame, brushed with delicious sauce and served on a platter. It is perfect with ice-cold beer and is served in most izakayas in Osaka.

Yakitori | Try it 

It is hard to go wrong with any yakitori spots, but here’s one to try (it has a Michelin star, by the way):

Name: Ayamuya

Address: 5-17-39 Fukushima, Fukushima-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka