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Goin’ Japanesque!

Crucial Points to Know in Advance: How to Choose Okonomiyaki Restaurants in Osaka

Among Japanese people, Osaka is famous as a town filled with great restaurants. It is called the town of “Kuidaore” which literally means “eat ‘til you drop”. “Kona-mon”, flour-based dishes, is an Osaka specialty among them, and “okonomiyaki” is a very popular dish as its representative. Osaka has many okonomiyaki-ya restaurants everywhere, particularly in thriving towns with tourism such as Nanba and Umeda.

There are so many okonomiyaki-ya that you might be at a loss, wondering which one is recommended or what are the important points in selection. This time we would like to introduce them altogether so that you can better enjoy okonomiyaki to your heart’s content.

 

Two Tips for Your Restaurant Selection

Important points to know for the selection of restaurants are roughly divided into two groups.

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1. Whether or Not They Cook in Front of You

In most okonomiyaki-ya, tables have built-in teppan hot plates, on which guests can keep the food warm while they enjoy it. And in some restaurants, food is cooked right in front of you. The best way is to have your first okonomiyaki cooked in front of you by the restaurant staff and learn how to prepare the traditional Osaka dish, and practice on your own starting with the next one.

We would like to recommend “Fugetsu”, a chain of restaurants where you can have your okonomiyaki cooked by the restaurant staff in front of you. Information: Map

2. How Particular They Are about Their Sauces

Okonomiyaki sauce can be considered the centerpiece of okonomiyaki. Its variety is astonishingly wide and restaurants have their unique particulars, and tastes greatly vary. Some sauces are medium thickness in consistency, and others are on the side of sweet or hot, and even others may be original blends prepared by the restaurant. Since some restaurants may offer multiple sauce options, we recommend that you take a small quantity of sauce on your plate and sample it.  

Also, when you order okonomiyaki, the restaurant staff may ask if you care to add bonito flakes, sauce, or mayonnaise. Some restaurants add them from special containers/tubes like a show performance, so this is also included in the points for restaurant selection.

If you would like to watch a brilliant performance of adding mayonnaise, we recommend the restaurant chain “Boteju”. Information: Map

 

Order Your Okonomiyaki as You Like

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 “Okonomiyaki” has a meaning that the dish can be prepared to your “okonomi” which means preferences. Accordingly, when you order okonomiyaki, you can choose your toppings. Common selections start with pork, beef, squid, and you may be offered unusual selections including kimchi (Korean pickles), mochi rice cakes, or potato, etc. In addition, if you add yakisoba noodle, you can enjoy “modan (modern)-yaki”, a style of okonomiyaki that has evolved one step further.

Osaka style okonomiyaki mixes in all the ingredients before it is cooked. If you have ingredients that you don’t like or you cannot eat, it’s a good idea to have them removed in advance. The fact that you can freely add or remove ingredients is the main characteristic of okonomiyaki, which is “okonomi”, as you like.

 

Points to Be Aware of When You Eat

There are three points we recommend you to be careful when you go to eat okonomiyaki.

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1. How to Eat

Cut and divide okonomiyaki on the hot plate with a spatula specifically designed for okonomiyaki, and eat a portion after transferring it onto your plate. Freshly cooked okonomiyaki is very hot, and it is best to eat it this way by once removing a portion onto your plate. Also it is hard to cut meat and noodle, so please be very careful not to scatter ingredients when you use the spatula.

2. Wear Clothes on Which Stains Do Not Stand out

Because most okonomiyaki sauce has dark colors, we recommend not wearing light colored clothes including white ones that clearly show stains. The restaurant is saturated with aroma of okonomiyaki, and like in BBQ restaurants, the smell may linger on clothes and bodies. Please keep this in mind, too.

3. Check the Mirror before You Leave the Restaurant

Bonito flakes and green seaweed are standard toppings of okonomiyaki and they tend to stick to your teeth or around your mouth. We recommend you look in the mirror after eating to make sure they are not stuck.

 

This time we have introduced in the above, the important selection criteria of okonomiyaki restaurants and basic points to be aware of from arriving at the restaurant until leaving it. If you go to eat okonomiyaki after knowing these points, we are sure you can enjoy okonomiyaki pretty smoothly. When you visit Osaka, please savor okonomiyaki, the Osaka specialty food to your heart’s content.

Related Articles:
Osaka’s Shinsekai: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry (What to Do)

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