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  • Writer's pictureMacy

Experience Japan: Food and Drink in Osaka

Takoyaki, Sapporo beer and chu-high.

The two famous dishes originated from Osaka are Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki. Okonomiyaki (大阪燒) is a pancake filled with seafood (or just octopus) and shredded cabbages, top with soy sauce glaze and dried bonito flakes. Takoyaki (章魚燒), literally octopus balls, is some batter filled with pieces of octopus, cooked in the hemisphere-shape pan, with the similar topping of okonomiyaki. During our stay in Osaka, we discovered an Izakaya restaurant in a basement, called Genten. The chef’s speciality is Akashiyaki (明石燒), similar to Takoyaki but in a flat round shape, accompanied by a bowl of clear broth, without the sauce topping.

Sake, as a Japanese specialty, called Nihonshu (日本酒) or Seishu (清酒) in Japan, is distilled fermented rice wine. At most restaurants in North America, you may choose to have the sake served hot or cold.

The grading system is determined by the proportion of pure kori rice and the added distilled alcohol. The selection listed below is in the order of the highest to the lowest.

Junmai is made with only rice, water, yeast, and koji, no added distilled alcohol, has rich and full flavor.

Junmai-Ginjo, ithout added distilled alcohol, complex flavors, often has fruit and flowery notes.

Junmai Daiginjo, full and complex flavors.

Ginjo has distilled alcohol and generally has aromatic flavors.

A few major brands that you should get familiar with if you are into sake are: Juyondai (十四代), Dassai (獺祭), Kokuryu (黑龍), Hiroki (飛露喜), Dewatsuru (出羽鶴), Hakkaisan (八海山), Gekkeikan(月桂冠), Tentaka (天鷹), Kikushi (菊水).

Shochu (燒酌) is a Japanese distilled beverage. The typical main ingredients can be rice, barley, or sweet potato, buckwheat. It is important not to be mistaken with Korean liquor ‘Soju’. Just like whisky, you can have it neat (nothing added), on the rocks, mixed with hot or cold water, or even tea and juice.

The shochu-based cocktails are extremely popular in Japan in recent years. Chuhai (chu-high) is a mixed drink of shochu, soda, ice and flavoring, such as lime, peach, and mango. Other than being offered at bars and restaurants, they are widely available at local supermarkets, convenience stores, and even at vending machines on the streets. 

Thank you for your interests in our Japan experience. Want to share your experience? Leave comments below!

Macy

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