In the Kansai area, Osaka is known as a city of “kuidaore,” which translates literally as “eat till you drop.” It’s no joke either; the locals spend all their money on food and drink. This has made Osaka into a metropolis where the variety of restaurants, and other various eating and drinking establishments is astounding. Osaka offers everything! Join the locals for ‘kushi-katsu’ (deep fried skewers) in a downtown ‘tachinomi’ (standing bar) and spend only the change in your pocket, or get a table and try well-known dishes like okonomi-yaki (a type of savory pancake full of cabbage) and yaki-soba (fried noodles). Those wishing to experience the true culinary magic of Japanese food will also find Osaka a delight, where upper-end dining experiences can be found at various “Kappou” restaurants around the city.
“Kappou” takes the traditional “kaiseki” style dining, and brings it to the counter top of the restaurant. The locals here don’t like the stiff atmosphere of formal dining, preferring to have their meal while they chat to the chef as he prepares their next dish. “Washoku”, or traditional Japanese cuisine was added to UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list at the end of 2013, and the various dishes offered in a Kappou course will help the yet inexperience see exactly why this came to be. Dishes always contain fresh, local and seasonal ingredients with a fine balance of fish, meat and vegetables; the “suimono” (a clear broth soup) is made with Japanese “dashi” or soup stock, a base ingredient in almost all Japanese foods and pride of chefs in Osaka, where dashi culture is abundant. The following “Hassun” dish is laden with a multitude of little mouthwatering delicacies, which is eventually followed by a “main” dish of meat (“Washoku” is not all fish!).
Restaurants like Kappou Kubota offer this exact same course experience for a price that won’t break your bank.
Dashi brings out “umami,” the 5th sense of taste after “sweetness,” “sourness,” “bitterness” and “saltiness.” There are plenty of tasty dashi foods in Osaka. “Udon” noodles would be a standard, different from the strong, dark Tokyo udon. Osaka’s udon noodles are light in flavor. The soft water brings out the flavor of the kelp, so you only need a little soy sauce to enjoy your meal; “light,” doesn’t mean, “light in flavor.” Tasters will find a rich aroma and taste. Those interested in sampling some really delicious dashi should check out the following shops: Matsubaya、mimiu and Doutombori. For a basic introduction to “Dashi”, you can also follow Osaka Bob as he takes you through the backstreets of Osaka to find the secret of this deliciousness.
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