Elsewhere

By Osaka Gastronomy and Culture

osakasouvenirsOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Osaka souvenirs

Osaka, being the city where you eat till you're broke, offers numerous delicious foods to take home—some of which carry the historical and cultural meaning of their city. Another famous longstanding Osaka treat is iwa okoshi, a type of dry confectionery made by coating dried puffed rice in sugar and mizuame (starch syrup). It is said that during the construction of Osaka Castle and of local waterways, many large rocks were dug up—thereby leading to the name of the candy (iwa okoshi translates roughly to “raise up the rock”). During times of the city’s prosperity, the sweet was also said to bring good luck to the individual, the home, and the nation. In any case, products such as rice and chestnuts found their way during the Edo period from around the country to Osaka—known as “the nation’s kitchen”—and it was from this abundance of quality ingredients that the iwa okoshi candy was produced. Those trying it for the first time are often surprised by its hard texture, but the delicious flavors of ginger and sesame have made this a much-loved refreshment.

yakinikuOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Yakiniku and horumon (grilled meat and innards) / Tsuruhashi district

Yakiniku (grilled meat), nowadays a firm favorite cuisine in Osaka, has also become much-loved among the city’s foreign visitors. Meat in Osaka inevitably means beef, and this dish of grilled beef—whereby cuts of meat, as well as innards known as “horumon”, are grilled over a flame and then enjoyed with a flavored sauce—is a true Osaka specialty. This style of enjoying grilled meat began during the Showa era.

yakinikuOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Osaka was known nationwide for having a large number of yakiniku restaurants throughout the prefecture, particularly in the Kita and Minami districts of Osaka city, which has everything from high-end restaurants to modest all-you-can-eat establishments.

Tsuji Culinary InstituteOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Tsuji Culinary Institute

The Tsuji Culinary Institute Group is Japan’s top cooking school, drawing students from all around the country, in addition to overseas. The late Tsuji Shizuo began the Tsuji Chef School in Osaka’s Abeno Ward in 1960, which went on to consist of two professional schools (the Tsuji Culinary Institute and the Tsuji Institute of Patisserie), along with the Ecole Tsuji Osaka, Ecole Tsuji Tokyo, and Centre de Perfectionnement Ecole Hôtelière Tsuji in France. Staffed by some 400 educators, the school has produced more than 135,000 graduates—many of whom are employed in Japan as well as overseas.

Tsuji Culinary InstituteOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

The school’s founder, Tsuji Shizuo, was an educator and researcher who stood on the cutting edge of the Japanese culinary scene. After establishing the Tsuji Chef School, he traveled numerous times to Europe. In addition to deepening his understanding of cooking and his literary research, he worked with numerous chefs including Paul Bocuse, Jean Troisgros, and Bernard Loiseau.

Tsuji Culinary InstituteOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

The results of Tsuji’s work were compiled in “French cooking theory and practice” and utilized for educational theory, serving as the Tsuji Culinary Institute textbook. His connections with French culinary artists had a direct impact upon opportunities for aspiring Japanese chefs to learn actual French cuisine. He opened a branch school in the French state of Rhône in 1980, providing students with hands-on opportunities to learn true French cooking in a comprehensive manner on home soil.

Tsuji Culinary InstituteOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Today, the institute offers not only French cuisine, but is also increasing educational opportunities for students to specialize in such specific areas as Japanese, Chinese and Italian cuisine and confectionery-making—thereby responding to today’s growing needs for expertise and diversification.

undergroundfoodavenuesOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Depachika (underground food avenues)

Literally an abbreviated version of the phrase “department store basement”, depachika refers to food markets located on the bottom floor of department stores. Increasingly spotlighted on television and in magazines starting in around the year 2000, this was the era of the so-called “depachika boom.” The Umeda district in Osaka is said to have so many department stores that it is Japan’s number one competitive battleground for depachika. While the Shinjuku district of Tokyo has the top slot in terms of total sales earnings, Umeda—which is just behind, at number two—comes in first place in terms of total depachika floor size.

undergroundfoodavenuesOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

The basement-level markets feature numerous attractions: the convenience of Japan’s top stores being sold in one collective space together with overseas brands, one-of-a-kind products featuring corporate collaborations, limited- edition goods, and more. Depachika shopping is quite intimate, and customers can easily ask questions of the staff, or nibble on the many available food samples before making purchases.

undergroundfoodavenuesOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Each depachika features its own particular specialties—such as wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery), fresh produce, fish, sweets, onsite eating areas, etc.—and Osakans are masterful at targeting specific depachika depending upon their particular needs at any given time.

curryOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Curry

Curry was brought to Japan via India during the Meiji period, where it was transformed into a much-loved "curry and rice".

curryOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

This was followed by numerous additional variations, including deep-fried bread buns with curry filling, wheat flour noodles in a curry broth, and curry-flavored soup. Nearly unrecognizable to people from India, who are often surprised due to its completely different taste, Japanese curry is its own unique and beloved dish that may truly be described as a national food.

curryOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Osaka is celebrated for its diverse selection of curries on offer, including specialty restaurant chains in addition to privately-managed establishments—all of which offer their own creative twists to the popular dish.

ramenOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Ramen

A plethora of well-loved ramen restaurants are to be found in Osaka, including longstanding shops in the Minami district that sees never-ending queues of customers, and additional popular establishments to which ramen lovers travel from all corners of the country. This is the city where you eat till you're broke, after all, and restaurants here will not survive unless they satisfy customers’ demanding taste buds.

ramenOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

As such, these restaurants are the true crème-de la crème in the ramen world, producing satisfying bowls topped off with their own unique creative touches. Unique Osaka-esque versions of the dashi soup base that have earned fame include those flavored with fish chunks, chicken and pork bones, miso, tsukemen (a dish of cold noodles accompanied by a dipping sauce), and the recent trend of richer flavors. Other versions include one with a white soup base, and—riding the wave of popularity experienced by so-called ethnic dishes like spice curry—a spiced ramen.

ramenOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Shop interiors also feature numerous types of décor, from the more muted ones to those resembling stylish bars. Areas known as the hot zones of competition among ramen establishments include the neighborhoods of Tenma and Tenroku (Tenjimbashisuji 6-chome), Fukushima, and Nishinakajima-Minamigata. Although you’ll need to stand in line for the best, why not make a fun evening out of it?

craftbeerOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Craft beer

As the craft beer boom sweeps across the globe, Osaka has caught the fever—opening one brewery after the next over the past several years.

craftbeerOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Locally-brewed Minoh Beer, a longstanding favorite, has won numerous awards in beer contests around the world. Meanwhile, beers that showcase a variety of creative flavors may be enjoyed when visiting urban microbreweries, as well as while eating in-house at restaurants, and poured fresh from the tap at brewpubs.

craftbeerOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Innovative craft beer flavors include Japanese-style infusions such as yuzu (a type of citrus), sanshō (Japanese pepper), shiso (perilla leaf), as well as additional unique creations imbued with a strong sense of playfulness. At beer pubs stocked with top worldwide brands served on tap, a number of local Osaka brews appear on the menu—ensuring a fun evening of taste-testing.

craftbeerOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

kaminabeOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Kami-nabe

Japan’s various regions are home to local hot pots, and Osaka is no exception.

kaminabeOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Local versions include udonsuki and sakanasuki (wheat flour noodles and fish flavored hot pot, respectively), whale meat hot pot, and the much-loved wintry special, tecchiri, or fugu hot pot. Also popular are chiritori (“dustpan”) nabe and motsu nabe, both featuring beef intestines and vegetables.

kaminabeOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Another Osaka original is the mysterious kami-nabe (paper hot pot). The idea of putting a fire under paper is shocking—but this dish indeed features a sheet of paper set atop a wire rack, which is then heated using a charcoal fire. Washi paper is treated via a special process, and the presence of the dashi ensures that the paper itself will not burn. First invented at the Rogetsu restaurant in 1927, the inaugural dish was a type of sakanasuki (fish-flavored hot pot) loaded with seasonal fish and vegetables. Numerous restaurants serve artistic versions of the kami-nabe dish today, and the paper pots may be purchased in the goods shops located along the Sennichimae Dōguyasuji Shopping Street.

Credits: Story

Osaka Gastronomy and Culture
-Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau-

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Google apps