Osaka, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 11:17AM
"Eat 'Til You Drop"
Osaka is known throughout Japan as a center of soul food. Flour-based dishes, fried foods, and noodles dominate (carbs are soothing to Japanese, too!) the food culture there, and they are usually smothered in a sweet-savory sauce. Nothing short of delicious, food in Osaka is economical and definitely won't disappoint epicures with even the highest expectations.
Typical Osaka fare that should definitely be tried in Japan is:
Takoyaki- "Tako" means "octopus" and "yaki" means grilled. Takoyaki is much more than that, though- bits of octopus are inside a flour and egg batter and cooked between two metal plates that form the batter into small balls. Pickled ginger and green onion are also added to the mix, and they are topped with a sweet sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes, and powdered seaweed. It sounds weird, but it's delicious.
Kushikatsu- Kushikatsu are pieces of meat, vegetables, and seafood deep fried on skewers.
Okonomiyaki- Okonomiyaki is often described as "Japanese pancakes"- but is so much more than that. Osaka-style okonomiyaki is made with cabbage, and any kind of meat, vegetable, seafood, mochi, cheese, etc. that you could want ("okonomi" means as you like it). Those ingredients are mixed into a savory flour batter, cooked on a metal hot plate, and topped with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes, and dried seaweed powder.
Teppanyaki- "Teppan" is a metal plate, and "yaki" is to grill. In teppanyaki restaurants, customers watch the chef prepare their food on the metal plate and then are served immediately by the chef. Usually, the ingredients for teppanyaki are high-quality steak, meat, and vegetables.
Yakisoba- Yakisoba are noodles cooked on a hot metal plate, usually with cabbage, slices of pork, slices of squid, and a sweet-savory sauce. They are topped with mayonnaise, dried seaweed powder, pickled ginger, and dried bonito flakes.
The best place to try these dishes is in Dotonbori, a district close to Nanba Station. The area is famous for its many food stalls, where most of the above dishes can be acquired cheaply, and usually in small enough portions that you can try as many as you like. Dotonbori's motto is "eat 'til you drop," so it's definitely for serious eaters only.