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Osaka is an incredibly popular destination for both local Japanese and foreign tourists alike. The Namba/Shinsaibashi area in particular is definitely worth a visit if you want to get a fill of some local treats. Okonomiyaki and takoyaki are an absolute must when experiencing Osaka food.

What is Okonomiyaki?

Okonomiyaki is one of the most famous foods to eat in Osaka, and in the heart of Dotonbori you will find many restaurants selling this delicious savory pancake. But it’s not quite a pancake, is it?

Okonomiyaki sizzling on the hotplate in Osaka
Some restaurants will prepare the okonomiyaki right in front of you!

Okonomiyaki is a savory dish made from cabbage, eggs, and flour. It’s then topped off with either: seafood, bacon, beef, noodles, none of them or all of them! Also, it would not be complete without mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce (otafuku), seaweed flakes (aonori) and bonito flakes (katsuobushi). So, okonomiyaki might sound like quite a strange dish. Don’t worry, you will understand what the fuss is all about but when it’s served up on a hotplate in front of you.

People waiting in line for Mizuno Okonomiyaki in Osaka
The Mizuno Okonomiyaki restaurant has been open since 1945 and has been family-owned for three generations.

Interestingly, okonomiyaki styles vary in each prefecture. The base ingredients are mixed together prior to cooking in the Kansai region. There are variations on toppings and fillings writing Kansai as well! Many restaurants will serve okonomiyaki with chopsticks and a little spatula onto a hotplate built into your table.

An Okonomiyaki Restaurant Recommendation

One of the more popular okonomiyaki restaurants in Osaka is Mizuno Okonomiyaki in Dotonbori. While there is often a line, it is well worth the wait. And for those not comfortable using Japanese they do have an English menu for you. This restaurant is a particularly mouth-watering experience because the chef will cook the okonomiyaki, step by step, on the table in front of you. Keep in mind, okonomiyaki usually costs between 650 yen to 2000 yen, depending on how extravagant your filling and topping choices are.

What is Takoyaki?

Okonomiyaki and takoyaki are both incredibly satisfying treats, but there are some interesting differences between them! For one, takoyaki is often served as street food in Osaka. There are numerous little shops frying up this convenient little meal in the open for the public to see. Takoyaki is a fried (yaki) doughy ball with a piece of octopus (tako) in the center.

You can enjoy this street food at a yatai food stall.

These are a great snack to share with a friend when you need a break from exploring and shopping. However, a word of caution when eating takoyaki, it is so fresh that it is often scalding hot when you get it! So be careful with that first bite! It’s very popular to eat takoyaki while standing outside the front of the shop. But if sitting down is more your style, some places often offer small tables and chairs nearby.

A large octopus sign- it's alive!?
You can find all kinds of octopus-themed souvenirs in the area, from snacks and stuffed plushies to octopus hats!

Most importantly, takoyaki shops are easy to spot! Just look for big red and yellow signs with pictures of octopus. When you’re visiting Dotonbori, it’s as easy as looking for a giant octopus protruding from a wall. Takoyaki is generally sold in little cardboard boats in sets of 6, 8, 10 or 12. Prices can range from 300 yen to 800 yen, depending on the size and location of your order.

Both okonomiyaki and takoyaki are delicious options to try if you’re visiting Osaka. Don’t miss out on these great options!

Alix Smith

Alix Smith

Hi I'm Alix, I'm an Aussie who has fallen in love with Japan. I love learning languages and all about foreign culture. I was first attracted to Japan because of its rich history and fascinating traditions. But as you may notice from my contribution to this site, my real passion is cooking. I hope I can share my experiences here in Japan with you, and hopefully invoke a little bit of Japanese inspiration in your diet. Have fun reading!

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