Yakiniku and horumon (grilled meat and innards) / Tsuruhashi district,
Yakiniku (grilled meat), nowadays a firm favorite cuisine in Osaka, has also become much-loved among the city’s foreign visitors. Meat in Osaka inevitably means beef, and this dish of grilled beef—whereby cuts of meat, as well as innards known as “horumon”, are grilled over a flame and then enjoyed with a flavored sauce—is a true Osaka specialty.
This style of enjoying grilled meat began during the Showa era. During the 1940s and 1950s, an establishment known as Shokudoen was opened in Osaka’s Sennichimae district—the first yakiniku restaurant to be opened in the country, along with Meigetsukan in Tokyo.
The roots of the dish are Korean, and this style involves restaurant staff cooking and then serving the meat. The style of customers grilling and flavoring their own various types of meat was a new style developed in Japan—and the appearance of smokeless roasters meant that yakiniku could also be enjoyed at home. Osaka was known nationwide for having a large number of yakiniku restaurants throughout the prefecture, particularly in the Kita and Minami districts of Osaka city, which has everything from high-end restaurants to modest all-you-can-eat establishments.
The district of Tsuruhashi is known as a paradise for yakiniku lovers, with the scent of grilled meats wafting through the air as soon as one steps outside the train station. The largest Koreatown in the Kansai region, Tsuruhashi also features numerous stores with kimchi and imported Korean foods in addition to yakiniku establishments. Other local specialties include foods featuring “horumon” (innards), such as two hotpot dishes: chiritori (“dustpan”) nabe—named for its square, shallow shape—and motsu nabe, which uses a base of chicken bone or skipjack stock.
Both dishes feature similar ingredients: tongue, large intestine, tripe, and other cow intestines, along with numerous vegetables including onions, bean sprouts and leeks. Inexpensive and nutritious, this is among the lineup of proud Osaka dishes.
A plethora of well-loved ramen restaurants are to be found in Osaka, including longstanding shops in the Minami district that sees never-ending queues of customers, and additional popular establishments to which ramen lovers travel from all corners of the country.
Depachika (underground food avenues)
Literally an abbreviated version of the phrase “department store basement”, depachika refers to food markets located on the bottom floor of department stores.
Nearly unrecognizable to people from India, who are often surprised due to its completely different taste, Japanese curry is its own unique and beloved dish that may truly be described as a national food.
Rooftop beer gardens
Japan’s first beer garden opened in Yokohama in 1875, targeting foreign residents and sailors on foreign ships—but the country’s first rooftop beer garden was in nowhere other than Osaka.