A food-lover's obsession, Osaka prefecture is the official and unofficial kitchen of Japan. Local foods here are a feast of enjoyment and one could spend forever savouring each and every one of them. Famous noodles as well as classic pub-style snacks and street foods are just some of the reasons why anyone who thinks they like food makes their way down to Osaka. Here is a simple guide to some of the regional cuisine of Osaka.
Now a standard noodle around the country, the claim to fame behind Osaka's kitsune udon is its rich dashi-based broth. Featuring a slice of aburaage deep-fried tofu resting atop a serving of noodles, kitsune udon was named after the fox who, so the legends say, were thoroughly enamoured of deep-fried tofu.
Ehomaki are Osaka's culinary prayer of fortune and good health. Eaten facing a direction that changes each year, these thick sushi rolls with their jackpot of fillings are enjoyed on setsubun, the day before spring. Ehomaki are meant to be eaten without a break or a sound and those who do so are thought to enjoy good luck of the rest of the year.
One of Osaka's most popular casual foods, kushikatsu are skewers of deep-fried deliciousness. Coated in batter and panko breadcrumbs, ingredients ranging from beef, shrimp and cheese to shallots, mushrooms and asparagus can all be deep-fried and then dipped - only once - into a special sauce.
Possibly Japan's number one yatai street stall snack, takoyaki are little battered balls of octopus. Usually served in little trays of six to eight balls, they are more often than not liberally topped with mayonnaise, sauce and flakes of bonito and nori. Other variations exist but whichever you choose, the challenge is always to stop at one tray or to go for one more. They are that yum.