Osaka is the second largest city in Japan and the food capital of the country. It is also known as 'Japan's kitchen'. Dotonbori that runs along the Dotonbori canal, is Osaka's biggest tourist destination and famous for street food. It is filled with a number of restaurants and food shops offering all kinds of Japanese street food including okonomiyaki and takoyaki, the two famous Japanese fast food dishes that originated in Osaka.
Okonomiyaki or the 'Osaka soul food', is the Japanese pancake. It is also known as the Japanese pizza. It is made from cabbage, flour, eggs, meat or seafood, green onions and other ingredients, all mixed into a batter then grilled or pan-fried on both sides on an iron plate. Some of the toppings include okonomiyaki sauce, seaweed flakes and pickled ginger. A metal spatula is used to slice the dish when it is ready. A nice variant of okonomiyaki is modan-yaki which is served with a layer of fried noodles.
Mizuno in Dotonbori is the oldest okonomiyaki restaurant in Osaka. You can expect a long queue at the restaurant during dining hours. Orders can be placed only once. Seating is along the grills and the okonomiyaki is prepared in front of the customers. Some restaurants have tables fitted with teppans or special hotplates, where customers can grill the okonomiyaki themselves.
Takoyaki are small octopus balls made of wheat flour based batter with green onions and pickled ginger inside and topped with takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise. It is one of the most famous street foods in Japan. There are many fast food shops in Dotonbori that offer takoyaki.
Kani Doraku is a popular restaurant chain also found in Dotonbori just round the corner from Ebisubashi. It is famous for chargrilled crabs. The place is so popular that it usually gets sold out in the evenings. Perhaps, brunch at Kani Doraku on a weekday is a better idea if one wants to avoid waiting in queues!
Kushikatsu is another Japanese street food dish made of deep-fried skewered meat and vegetables that comes with a dipping sauce. Since the sauce is shared, customers can dip the kushikatsu only once.
Ice cream sandwiches, puddings and tarts or a matcha cheese cake are also specialities of this area.