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Must-Eat Street Food in Osaka


Osaka’s street food isn’t world-famous for nothing!


dotonbori osaka


From multi-course kaiseki meals to stellar sushi, Japan is renowned worldwide for its fine dining restaurants. But Japanese cuisine doesn’t end with the expensive stuff. Just as beloved among the population is B-kyu gurume, or “B-grade cuisine.” “B” doesn’t mean “bad” here, as it’s just a way to distinguish it from high-end “A-grade” food like kaiseki. Indeed, some fans might argue it even stands for “best!”


In short, B-grade cuisine refers to Japanese soul food popular with regular people. This category includes hearty dishes like ramen, curry rice, spaghetti Napolitan and yakisoba – inexpensive, tasty comfort food you can eat anytime. If you think about it, it’s spiritually similar to Malaysian hawker food!


One great city in Japan for B-grade cuisine is Osaka, which has a strong shitamachi (downtown, or even working-class) culture and some great street food as a consequence. It doesn’t hurt that Osakans love food just as much as Malaysians; they’re associated with the phrase ‘kuidaore,’ which literally means to “eat until you fall over.” If you’re planning a trip to Japan and food is the main reason you’re visiting, you can always fly directly to Osaka from Malaysia, and travel to Tokyo by train if needed! 


Here are some dishes you must try when visiting Osaka. 






If there’s one Osaka dish you can’t miss, it’s okonomiyaki! It’s often referred to as Japanese pizza, but it’s really more like a cabbage pancake or frittata, or even a kind of murtabak analogue. You can customise the toppings, which can include anything from squid to pork belly to cheese, but it is always finished with tangy brown sauce and lashings of mayonnaise. 


You can either cook it yourself (“okonomi” – to your liking!) at the teppan hotplate on the table, or they can cook it for you in the kitchen beforehand. There are many okonomiyaki restaurants in town, but a popular place with locals and visitors alike is the Michelin Bib Gourmand-rated Mizuno at Dotonbori. Opened in 1945, this place’s hearty meat-and-seafood ‘Mizuno-yaki’ is a crowd favourite, and they even offer vegetarian versions! 


Location information

Name: Okonomiyaki Mizuno
Address: 1-4-15 Dotombori, Chuo-ku, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan
Public transportation: 10-minute walk from Namba Station






Love Takoyaki? Those big balls of gooey, lava-like batter with octopus chunks throughout, scattered with bonito flakes, green nori powder, chopped scallions, and pickled red ginger, topped with a thick brown sauce and mayonnaise are truly a delight for the tastebuds. A little greasy and sometimes a little cheesy, they’re not a full meal in themselves, but as snacks while you’re exploring downtown Osaka, there’s almost nothing better. 


Each takoyaki stand has a different spin on the dish. Some are extra crisp, while others offer different dressings, like ponzu (soy sauce and citrus juice) or sesame oil and salt. 






Anyone craving a hot, crispy meal will adore kushikatsu, which is basically battered, deep-fried food on a skewer, dipped in tangy brown sauce. How do you go wrong with it? You can’t. There’s almost no limit to what you can order as fresh, crunchy kushikatsu. Think ingredients like corn, ladies’ fingers, salmon, chicken thighs, cheese, and even ice cream at some restaurants. 


It was in Shinsekai during the prewar era that kushikatsu was supposedly invented, and even today, the district remains the destination for this iconic dish. Head over and walk into any of its many kushikatsu restaurants to experience it for yourself. Try Ganso Kushikatsu Daruma, popularly believed to be the inventor of Osaka-style kushikatsu. 


Location information

Name: Ganso Kushikatsu Daruma Honten
Address: Located in Janjanyokocho Nanyodori-shotengai
3-4-4 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0002
Public transportation: 3-minute walk from Dobutsuen-Mae Station






Tsuruhashi district has lots of yakiniku (Korean-style barbecue) stalls. The dish is made with some incredible cuts of well-marbled, quality Japanese beef and grill them. Try kalbi (short ribs), harami (skirt steak), or tan (tongue). If you’re feeling adventurous, try horumon, or innards. Dip in a sweet-salty sauce jam-packed with umami. Eat and repeat. What’s not to like? 


You’ll find a cluster of yakiniku restaurants right outside Tsuruhashi station. They’re not hard to find — just follow the smell of smoke and grilled beef. 


Mitarashi dango 


mitarashi dango


For many of us in Asia, mochi (sticky rice dumplings) are real comfort food. Mitarashi dango refers to skewers of grilled rice dumplings drenched in an addictive sweet-salty, sticky soy glaze. Naturally, Japan’s tasty street snack mochi is also popular with food-loving Osakans. 

If you love Malaysian hawker street culture, you’re bound to enjoy Osaka’s street food, too. Whether you’re interested in high-end dining or the more everyday dishes we’ve described here, Osaka is a fantastic culinary destination. We hope you’ll put Osaka on your Japan travel bucket list! 



Discover more great food in Japan!


Eat Your Way in Sweets Across the Nagasaki Kaido


Not Your Ordinary Noodles: 4 Underrated Dishes to Check Out



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