Japanese cuisine is wide and various, and one of the things about it that is so interesting is how regional it is – each area, each city has its own specialties. Osaka is a really foodie city. So much so that there is a word to describe how they approach things ‘Kuidaore’. Which means ‘bankrupt yourself through food’, or ‘eat until you fall over’. We thought we’d work on the latter definition.
When we were here three years ago we didn’t get around to trying one of THE Things to eat in Osaka – takomaki, which are balls of batter and chopped octopus, fried and piping hot. We always seemed to be passing the places to get them too early in the morning, or right after we had eaten something else, and I regretted that.
Things would be different this time! We arrived on Wednesday night, fell asleep promptly and Thursday morning we were ready to go bright and early. Like many big cities, Osaka plays hard. Bars and restaurants are often open until 05:00. There’s a break and then things start up again at about 10:00.
In the district of Namba there is a street called Donbori – it runs beside the river and meanders along. All along the street are restaurants and food stalls. The cross streets are some of the main shopping arcades. I’ll have to do a whole blog post on the wonders of these arcaded shopping streets. But – the Donbori. At 10:00 it was starting to hop – the takomaki carts were warming up. The delivery trucks were leaving, having done the morning provisioning run and the street was turning back into a pedestrian area.
I joined a line. It was early so it was a short line.
With cheese sauce…. Crispy on the outside, very gooey on the inside. Hot like the temperature of the sun. The people of Osaka must have asbestos mouths….
Early times, so not too busy on the street yet…
One of the fun things about the Donbori is the signage – giant representations of what is on offer:
Not far from the street is the fish/seafood market. Last time we were here Wilf rampaged through eating a all the things. So of course we had to do it again:
Scallops on the grill, finished with a blow torch….
Baby octopus on a stick
They also had black soft serve ice cream:
I thought it might be black sesame, but it was black vanilla. It was delicious. However:
If seafood is not your thing it is melon season:
That’s just over $17.00 in Canadian funds for each perfect melon…
On the way back along the Donbori we discovered that the ‘Dancing Octopus’ cart was open:
As you can see from the picture on the cart each takomaki has a whole baby octopus on the top in addition to the chopped bits.
We went with the traditional presentation on this one – topped with mayonnaise, tonkatsu sauce and bonito flakes. Yum
There was also a stop for coffee and cake in there before we returned to our hotel for a rest before heading back out for dinner. Forgot to take pictures of that – a restaurant called Kushikatsu Daruma, which is all about fried things on skewers.
(Edited to add: I forgot that the waiter did take our picture!
So – we didn’t fall over. By adopting the ‘grazing’ methodology and walking over 11km in the progress we managed to try a bunch of really great food!