It’s no surprise that one of the main reasons why tourists go to Japan is to enjoy the food–from the pre-packaged treats dispensed from vending machines, to the matcha-infused desserts, and to the freshest sashimi and tastiest sukiyaki you will ever have.
Dubbed “Tenka no Daidokoro” or the “Nation’s Kitchen,” Osaka is the best place to sample all these Japanese treats and more. You’ll find yourself stopping at every food stall, vending machine, restaurant, or café because Osaka’s food offerings are that amazing.
Below is a list of the classic favorites that you should eat in Osaka!
Of course, any tourist or local would agree to try Japan’s revered sushi. This world-famous dish is made up of vinegared rice, a bit of sugar and salt, and then combined with various ingredients such as vegetables, some fruits, and seafood.
The way sushi is styled and presented varies, but sushi rice is the ever present ingredient.
Almost all restaurants and food places in Osaka offer sushi on their menu, so you don’t have to stress yourself out in searching for the best one. They’re all good!
A meat lover’s paradise, Osaka is the best place to enjoy Japanese BBQ. Yakiniku is the Japanese version of grilling beef (like Korean BBQ), wherein diners can grill the meat themselves on a tabletop charcoal grill placed in the middle of their table.
Again, you won’t have to search far and wide for the best Yakiniku place in Osaka. Once you see one that’s packed with people, it means the meat is exceptional.
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It may already be available in the Philippines, but Pablo Cheese Tart is still a must-try in Osaka where it originated from. If you happen to be walking along Shinsaibashi, you’ll easily spot Pablo Cheese Tart because of the long queue of customers.
To start, try the bestsellers, which are the fully baked and half-baked ones, and make sure to eat them right away because they’re most delicious when freshly baked.
Although this is not normally served by Japanese restaurants in foreign countries, it’s a staple item in Japan, especially in Osaka.
Kitsune Udon is Udon noodles simmered in hot Dashi broth and topped with Aburaage (deep-fried tofu) that has been cooked in a sweet and salty sauce. It’s a noodle dish that’s satisfying and comforting.
Kushikatsu is deep-fried meat or vegetables on a stick. In the shops, there are sauce cans for tourists to dip their sticks in and a sign saying, “Don’t dip twice!” Keep in mind: the Japanese are strict when it comes to cleanliness, so they limit the number of times people can dip their sticks.
Butaman is simply a steamed bun that’s stuffed with a minced pork filling. The most famous Butaman in Osaka can be found at 551 Horai, where each bun is always fresh and handmade.
To maintain the quality of the bun, they only make the amount needed to supply the demands for each day.
That’s why you’re guaranteed to taste the best Butaman at 551 Horai, which has stores around the metro. If you want to eat Butaman like a true local, simply put mustard on it.
Negiyaki is made by frying a thin batter of flour and water. Green onions or “Negi” are then sprinkled on top to enhance its flavor.
It’s similar to Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake with a variety of ingredients), but it does not have pork nor sprinkles of cabbage. Diners can eat this with or without soy sauce.
For sweet-tooths out there looking for a treat in Osaka, Taiko-Manju is your best option. It consists of a batter of flour, eggs, and sugar, which is then baked in a drum-shaped steel or copper mold and filled with bean paste.
“Taiko” means drum, hence the dessert’s name. You can find the best Taiko-Manju at the Gozasoro bakeshop located inside the JR Osaka Station.
Another dish that originated from Osaka is Horumon, which is broiled innards of pigs or cows. It’s like Yakiniku, but without the high-grade meat.
You can try this savory treat from any of the most famous Horumon and Yakiniku restaurants in Osaka, such as Sora, Manno Horumon-ho, Umeda Horumon-do, Kadoya Horumon-ten, and Horumon Yamato.
A variant of Horumon, Doteyaki is beef stew immersed in a mixture of miso, sweet sake, and sugar. You can also find it in Yakiniku or Izakaya restaurants. It has a strong flavor, so it pairs well with beer or other alcoholic drinks. A perfect dish for a “drinking sesh,” if you will.
Date nights don’t have to be expensive!
Hakaw, dim sum, noodles, and more.