Konamon Flour-Based Cuisine

The fast foods famous in Osaka

By Osaka Gastronomy and Culture

Process of making takoyaki (2019/2019)Osaka Gastronomy and Culture

Takoyaki

The most famous Osaka fast food, takoyaki octopus dumplings—which may be purchased at roadside stalls and eaten casually on street corners—are actually a relative newcomer on the scene, having begun to crop up around town only around the 1950s. The dish itself embodies the Osaka waste-not-want-not ethos, wherein the abundant catch of octopus from Osaka Bay was put straight to good use in the form of dumplings. 

Process of making takoyaki (2019/2019)Osaka Gastronomy and Culture

While a number of theories exist as to who is the originator of takoyaki, its roots are said to lie in precursor dishes such as choboyaki and radioyaki. Choboyaki was made by drizzling a flour and water-based batter into the half-spherical cups lining a copper or cast-iron griddle—reminiscent of today’s takoyaki—and then adding red pickled ginger, konjac, onions and shoyu before grilling the mixture into dumplings.

Process of making takoyaki (2019/2019)Osaka Gastronomy and Culture

Sold at venues including mom-and-pop candy stores, choboyaki was likely known at the time as a sort of children’s snack. Taking its hint from this dish, its successor takoyaki involved dissolving the flour in dashi instead of water, and then adding octopus in order to extend the appeal of the snack to adults as well as children.

Its flavor varied depending upon the batter, flavoring, and length of grilling—making it a simple and yet deeply satisfying light meal. The style of accenting it with condiments such as takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise, aonori (green laver, or edible seaweed) and skipjack flakes are said to be an influence from okonomiyaki following the end of the Second World War.

TakoyakiOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Typically made at stalls by young men adorned with headbands, who nimbly work their metal picks to flip the dumplings and work them into a spherical shape—it’s a mesmerizing scene. Served in boat-shaped bamboo dishes, the piping hot balls are picked up and ferried into one’s mouth using toothpicks—with the perfect takoyaki featuring a crisped skin and tender filling.

OkonomiyakiOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Okonomiyaki

Along with takoyaki, this dish may rightly be described as Osaka soul food. While both dishes involve dissolving flour in dashi, okonomiyaki includes cabbage—a non-negotiable ingredient—usually along with pork, as well as whichever additional ingredients you like. A thin layer of batter is spread out in a circle atop an iron griddle, and the browned savory pancake is then served with toppings such as sauce, mayonnaise and powdered seaweed—a serving style that is in turn said to have influenced takoyaki. 

Osaka favorite: okonomiyaki (2019/2019)Osaka Gastronomy and Culture

There are various theories concerning okonomiyaki’s origin. One is that the similar Tokyo-style monjayaki went through several off-shoot dishes before becoming okonomiyaki; another is that okonomiyaki was developed from the idea of restaurant patrons grilling their ingredients of choice in a playful, festive manner.

KushikatsuOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Kushikatsu

In Osaka, kushikatsu are made by skewering various meats and vegetables, coating them in a flour-based batter and panko breadcrumbs, and then deep-frying them in oil. And woe betide anyone who double-dips their kushikatsu in the sauce pot! A famed local neighborhood for the skewers is Janjan Yokocho Alley, located in the Shinsekai district near the Tsūtenkaku tower, which is lined with longstanding establishments that date back to the immediate postwar period, as well as newer shops whose popularity sees lines snaking out of the door. 

kushikatsuOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Kushikatsu are normally eaten counter-side in a casual atmosphere with the sauce served in trays and all the cabbage you can eat. The wide assortment of skewer options include beef, shrimp, asparagus, egg and cheese—all enjoyed together with the star of the show: the crunchy coating.

Steamed pork bunsOsaka Gastronomy and Culture

Steamed pork buns

These soft buns are made
by fermenting a flour and water-based batter that is then stuffed with fillings
and steamed. Fillings normally include pork and onion, with some shops also adding
finely chopped vegetables such as takenoko (bamboo shoots) or dried shiitake mushrooms.They
are said to date back to the period following the Meiji Restoration, when Chinese
steamed buns that had been introduced to Chinatown were adapted to fit Japanese-style
tastes. 

They were nominally “meat buns” but could not be sold under that name in the Kansai region; complaints would surely follow since “niku” (meat) in Osaka refers exclusively to beef. And since this dish features pork rather than beef, the dish is referred to in this region as butaman (pork buns).

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.
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