Takoyaki, literally meaning fried octopus are a staple snack food/quick meal item all over Japan, but particularly famous in Osaka. They are fried dough balls with chunks of whole octopus inside 🐙⚽. What makes them special in Osaka, is the hot dough is still a little runny inside which makes for a great texture contrast and mouthfeel just like a good omelette 🍳. The hundreds of different stalls in Osaka also have their own twists and variations of the snack. I saw one takoyaki whick contained an entire baby octopus with the tenticles sticking out of the ball!
They are topped with takoyaki sauce (guessing it's soy based but sweet and more viscous and sticky), mayo, seaweed and katsobushi 😍. You can mix up your toppings also but I went for the classic at the famous market just outside Nippombashi station. Oh my days I had the besttttt time. Foodie paradise 😭 particularly for seafood
REVIEW: Robatayaki Hozenji Rikimaru-Chaya, Namba, Osaka.
Another S/O to my auntie for taking me to another style of Japanese cuisine I'd never tried before! Robatayaki: Teppanyaki's lesser known cousin. It's essentially the same, except its not a flat iron but rather a charcoal grill and the chef then hands you your ordered items via a paddle board similar to those used to make Pizza with.
Here I had grilled fish head (can't remember what fish exactly but it might have been snapper?) 🐟, remember to eat the eyes! We also had broiled scallops in the half shell with ponzu sauce 🐚, king prawns with kewpie mayo (I usually back good olive oil, lemon and garlic on shellfish so how hard this banged was a pleasant surprise 😲)🦐, turban whelks 👳♂️🐚 (the flesh is great, and while the liver is also edible, I highly recommend not eating it 🤮, my experience was only made worthwhile by later watching another dudes expression on making the same mistake 😂). Last 2 pics are the boiled then grilled onion so it was wonderfully sweet and tender and the the regional speciality: Kansai water aubergine 🍆, served raw and covered with katsobushi, it surprisingly tastes just like a pear 🍐😮🤔 In terms of flavours, it wasn't anything unique I hadn't tasted before, but who doesn't like caramelised, mallaird and smokey flavours? Certainly a fun experience also. Solid 7/10.
REVIEW: Zuboraya (no IG) a fugu (poisonous pufferfish) chain in Osaka with multiple locations. Fugu is seen as quite a luxury and often quite expensive as it's service requires a special licence due to the pufferfish blood containing lethal tetrodotoxin. Luckily, Zuboraya is slightly more affordable making it a must visit, huge S/O to my auntie for taking me! 🐡🔪🍽️🥢🍣
I was super impressed by this spread, eating all parts of the fish all served in many different ways! Started the meal off with an amouse bouche of tofu and crab 🦀 then kicked off with some sashimi of the fish flesh and skin, fugu flavour tbh is a little more subtle like other white fish sashimi, but really fresh and elegant. Then shabu shabu (hot pot) with a kombu dashi broth (kelp and bonito fish) using assorted vegetables, fugu skin, belly meat, backbone meat and the most special of all, the milt (sperm sac... Yes it was creamy lol 🍒👀 encircled on the 3rd pic). Once finished, the left over broth with all the developed fish and veg flavour was made into a congee (rice porridge with egg) which was sooo good legit the best congee 🍚 I've ever had.
To top it all off, we had Hire-zake, a warm sake 🍶 shot infused with a grilled fugu fin which gave a wonderful smokey comforting flavour. A really special meal unlike anything I've had before and probably won't have again for a while. 8.5/10
REVIEW: Shinsekai Oyajino Kushiya, one of many Kushikatsu joints in the Shinsekai area.and it doesn't have an IG account.
Having just landed in Osaka from Hong Kong and riding a 26 hour fast, I was pretty desperate looking for food in the local vicinity of my hostel. But it was already kinda late on a Sunday evening so places had start to shut and I was turned away from 2 places. Queue Oyajino Kushiya. A 24 hour Kushikatsu joint that saved me and my blood sugar levels. Kushikatsu is basically the same as tempura but using a dry breadcrumb coating as opposed to a wet batter - and on a stick.
I started this meal with some tripe (beef stomach) yukhoe style (Korean: soy and sesame) salad, and followed it up with the assorted meat and seafood skewers (pork, sausage, chicken, beef, octopus, 2 types of fish, prawn, scallop and lotus root) . I was perfectly satisfied with the meal but wasn't blown away in any way shape or form so I wouldn't rate it highly highly, but Kushikatsu is definitely worth a try at least once. The ponzu dipping sauce is pretty good and makes it a bit more special as its sweetness and slight tartness paired with the unlimited free cabbage help cut the richness of the fried food excellently. All together with 2 beers to chase the food down was ¥3,000 so basically £20 which is not outrageous given the amount of food and beer and this meal did also save me so I will still give it a decent 6.5/10 (I did have another dinner at family mart after though lol). It's also in the cool super photigenic Shinsekai area around osaka tower 🗼 so am completely lost as to why I didn't take a photo 🙈
Delicious in taste with an added zing from the lemon. Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta Bake is the one 🤩👌🏻
Here’s the ingredients you’ll need to give it a try 👇
2 tsp oil
3 chicken breasts, sliced
1 tsp oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped finely
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup chicken stock
Juice of 2 lemons
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
450g penne, cooked
2 tbsp chopped parsley
3/4 cup parmesan cheese