Osaka

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Osaka is a city for great eats and should be on your radar if you love Japanese food. I have family in Osaka and have always enjoyed visiting, but have forgotten how good the food is here since I have been spending more time in Kyoto. Now I am kicking myself. Osaka is easily accessible from Kyoto and worth spending at minimum a day to try some of the signature dishes it is known for.

Takoyaki are bite-size savory balls with octopus. Covered with a sweet sauce, katsuobushi flakes, and aonori it is a great snack. Tako = octopus; yaki = grilled.

Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake with toppings like pork and seafood. It is also topped with a sweet sauce, mayonnaise, katsuobushi flakes, and aonori. It is usually made in front of the diner on a hot teppan, iron grill.

Mizuno 美津の is a Michelin Bib Gourmand shop in the popular Dotonbori district.

https://tabelog.com/en/osaka/A2701/A270202/27001278/

Mizuno’s original okonomiyaki is called Mizuno-yaki and is made with pork, squid, shrimp, scallops, octopus, and oysters in the winter season. We were also craving some noodles and got the modern-yaki which is an okonomiyaki with yakisoba noodles.

The shop is very popular so expect lines.

http://www.mizuno-osaka.com/menu.html#sec5

大阪府 大阪市中央区 道頓堀 1-4-15

Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku, Dotonbori 1-4-15

osaka-udon-bou

Udon is soul food for Osakans. We fell into Bou while exploring the maze of restaurants in the buildings in front of Osaka station in Umeda. A small counter with a few side tables. There were some bottles of sake in the fridge, including Kawatsuru from Kagawa prefecture. Kagawa in Shikoku is also known for udon and it was a good match.

The recommended dish is tempura chikuwa (roasted fish cake) bukkake udon with an onsen tamago. Bukkake udon are cold noodles with a very little amount of sauce. A delicious bowl and a nice finish to the day after trying so many dishes.

The restaurant was filled with regulars, many office workers from the building.

Udon Bou Osaka Honten

Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Kita-Umeda 1-1-3, B200 Osaka Eki Mae Bldg. Dai-3, B2F37-2

うどん棒 大阪本店
大阪市北区梅田1-1-3B200大阪駅前
第3ビルB2F37-2

http://www.udonbo.co.jp/

I’ve been to Osaka over a dozen times and had never tried Osaka-style kushi katsu. Kushi katsu are small bites that are skewered, breaded and deep-fried. The Osaka twist on the dish is that on the table is a container with a thin sauce that the kushi katsu is dipped into. Signs everywhere remind diners to dip only once, no double dipping. 🙂

OMG, this was so good and I can’t believe it was my first time to experience this, 28 years after my first visit. The shop is casual and loads of fun for kids. Like kaitenzushi shops, a toy shinkansen brings the hot items to your tableside. Vegetarians will like it here as there are many vegetables on the menu. We loved it all, seafood, meat, vegetables, and cheese.

Best of all, this shop is at Shin-Osaka station where the shinkansen arrives. I will be back!

Kushi Katsu Daruma

http://www.kushikatu-daruma.com/

There are branches throughout the city.

Be sure to put Osaka on your radar. If you are spending any time in Kyoto, see if you can add a day and extend your travels to include Osaka.

 

2017 Tsukiji Tuna by the Numbers

tsukiji-tuna-2017

Today is the first day that Tsukiji Market is open, and the first tuna auction. The most expensive is called #1 tuna, ichiban maguro, and went for 74,200,000 JPY ($632,000 USD). The buyer was a popular sushi chain, Sushi Zanmai. The president, Kiyoshi Kimura, has bought the #1 tuna for the last six years running.

It was thought that last year would be the last tuna auction at the historic Tsukiji Market. Many issues have delayed the move to Toyosu.

President Kimura has said that he will cut the tuna at 2:00 p.m. at his Tsukiji Market main shop. He will sell the tuna at regular prices. The fatty tuna, ootoro, should sell for 10,000 JPY ($100) per piece, but he’ll sell it at regular prices, so 390 JPY ($4). As tuna is a big fish, it is actually better for it to be aged for a while for best flavor and texture, but it’s hard to resist having a bite of history.

It is important to understand the value of the tuna is not worth $632,000 USD, but that this is a popular marketing and PR opportunity for whoever buys the winning tuna. The media coverage alone on television is priceless. Every major news channel covered the event and followed the tuna to Sushi Zanmai. Interviews were held all morning and in the afternoon. The coverage will extend to the evening. Tomorrow’s print media will also have it on the front of almost every paper. So yes, it’s great publicity for the media-hungry Japanese market.

Tuna by the Numbers:

  • 212 kg bluefin tuna from Ohma, Aomori
  • $3,000 USD per kg (35,000 JPY per kg)
  • $632,000 USD for the whole tuna
  • 5 times the price of last year’s tuna
  • The 2013 year’s record tuna sold for 155,400,000 JPY or roughly $1.76 million US Dollars.
  • Estimated 15,000 pieces of sushi can be made from a tuna of this size. To make it even, each piece should be sold for 5,000 JPY, but will go for only 300 – 400 JPY.