Kappo, which became an established style of Japanese cuisine in the late 1910s, is said to have originated in Osaka. It arose as the high-end Japanese restaurants that previously flourished began to disappear, and people wanted a more casual style of dining.
The chef stands in front of the chopping board, encircled by the counter. Meanwhile, customers delight in watching the deft action of the knife as the fish is prepared, taking in the scents and sounds of the simmering vegetables.
Prior to that, food had been prepared prior to customer’s arrival.
With kappo cuisine, orders were cooked before the customer’s eyes, allowing food to be consumed when freshly prepared.
In the old fancy establishments, the kitchen was hidden and dishes brought out by restaurant staff. The Kappo style featured an open kitchen, allowing diners to enjoy watching the actual cooking, as well as banter with the chef.
“What’s good today?”“
The sea bream is spectacular.
”“Well then, let’s have some sashimi.”
“Right. And how about I stew the head, too?”
In this way, chefs’ ability to judge what the diner wanted based on the conversation and offer something suitable became a measure of their skill.Kappo cuisine became much-loved by Osakans as symbolizing a new era, and restaurants of this style flourished accordingly.
Now, such restaurants may be found overseas in addition to Japan.
Udon & Udonsuki
In Osaka, udon noodles are famed for the way that their softness harmonizes gently with the kombu and skipjack-accented broth. One age-old favorite is salty-sweet kitsune udon, where the noodles are topped with fried tofu boiled to plump perfection.
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.
Sushi in Tokyo is known as Edomae, and is pressed by hand. Osaka’s famous style of sushi, meanwhile, is pressed sushi. “Box sushi” is one example: the toppings and vinegared rice are placed into a square wooden mold and pressed to fit. Watching the process of pressing box sushi is mesmeric.
A restaurant customer ordered the same thing daily: an omelette with rice. The cook decided to enliven the dish accenting the rice with ketchup and wrapping it in a thinly fried omelette.
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.
Kushikatsu eateries are found not only in the Shinsekai district, but all over Osaka . In addition to the lively, bar-like establishments, there are also fancy kushikatsu specialty restaurants with a unique creative menus.
Japan’s various regions are home to local hot pots, and Osaka is no exception. 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.
Conveyor belt sushi
Popular not only throughout Japan, but also now overseas, kaiten sushi (conveyor belt sushi) allows patrons to select their sushi of choice by taking plates off the revolving belt as they pass by.
These soft buns are made by fermenting a flour and water-based batter that is then stuffed with fillings and steamed.