This is my first Japan post solely focused on a city. Osaka deserves its own post, because, to put it eloquently, Osaka is the shit. It’s a big city, but not as uptight as Tokyo, and they absolutely love food and having a good time. We stayed in the Dōtonbori area for three nights, which is the epicenter of said good times. We would walk out of our hotel door and instantly be surrounded with hundreds of bars, restaurants, and night clubs. It’s crowded, but with great energy. I have a ton of photos, so I will just add some short comments to each. But if considering Japan, do not skip Osaka.
A river runs through the middle of Dōtonbori.
Walking through shinsaibashi, the shopping “mall” in Dotonbori.
Just a guy walking his pet chipmunk. It would run up his leg and hang out on his shoulder, which was great.
The streets of Dotonbori are colorful, and storefronts generally feature three dimensional icons, some of which are mechanical, like the crab below. Crab is a famous dish in Osaka.
We went out for kushiyaki, which are basically skewered things. Yakitori is chicken kushiyaki.
Outside one of many fugu (puffer fish) restaurants.
Fugu sushi sampler. My lips were a little tingly after eating them, but I’m still alive.
Fugu hot pot, raw fugu salad, misc fugu items. It’s a pretty boring fish actually, quite bland, no fat.
This place served up huge bowls of uni, ikura, crab, and other raw fish for $9-11.
Osaka is famous for the takoyaki – hot dough filled with octopus – featured on every street corner. They serve them so blazingly hot it’s impossible to not burn your mouth.
They sauce them up for you, then top them with katsuobushi, which waves in the wind in an eery way. I ate this one while out on the street under an overhang while it rained, doing my best to manage the hot lava in my mouth. So good. Filling, and cheap too.
Osaka is a twenty minute train ride from Kobe, so much great beef is served in Osaka. I decided to see what that was all about at a teppanyaki restaurant, which yes, is sort of setup like Benihana. My sister in law calls it “ninja steak”. They are not cheap in Japan. I think it was $100 for my dinner “set”, which featured a smoked duck appetizer, salad, rice, some vegetables, and my steak.
We ventured around and did tourist things too. The Osaka aquarium has nearly the largest single tank in the world, second only to, you guessed it, Atlanta.
I swear this is one of the ROUS’s from Princess Bride.
Late night Dotonbori.
All noodles, all the time.
One of my favorite food experiences was at this yakitori place. Former famous Atlanta food writer Gene Lee told me, “there is a great yakitori place near the Swissotel”. So I wandered over there and found it. He was right. Amazing.
This guy cooked yakitori for my face. The level of care and precise repetition which went in to each skewer was hypnotic.
I ate raw chicken (just seared on outside). They said they take delivery of chicken every day, except Sundays, so they don’t offer raw chicken on Sundays. But they featured many completely raw dishes, including a plate of raw chicken oysters (from the thigh). They say that due to their relationship with the farmer, the freshness, the chicken’s diet, and the quality of the breed, that they are comfortable serving it that way. Indeed, the chicken was amazing. Even raw, it was tender and juicy.
More chicken parts. So damn good. I crave this as much as anything from the trip. Anyone have recommendations for yakitori in Atlanta? It’s been a while since I’ve been to Jinbei. Shoya izakaya is fine, but I want real badass yakitori.