Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Osaka Eats

On Tuesday I arrived in Osaka. My hotel is right next to the Umeda station in a busy, bustling part of town. This place is a maze of underground shopping malls and department stores and it is hard for even the local people to find their way. But I have been managing ok. After my train ride from Kyoto I was hungry for some lunch. In the underground maze I found a ramen shop with an advertized special of pork and ramen with a bowl of rice for only 700 yen (~$7). It was quite a deal and filled me up.

Here is a photo from my hotel room looking down on the Umeda train station. Yes, that is a ferris wheel on top of the Hep Five building.

After spending the afternoon exploring night was falling and I was starting to get hungry for dinner.

The Hankyu department store is just one of the many huge shopping conglomerates here. Actually I think all of Japan is one large shopping mall. They certainly are in the christmas spirit here.

I wandered around and found many of these narrow streets lined with all kinds of resaurants, pachinko parlors and shops.

I could have gone to She's Bar or spent only 500 yen and be served by Ladys staff.

Although I think the idea of throwing darts and looking at girls is more appealing, I was looking for an Osaka specialty for dinner and it wasn't to be had here.

I did pass by this place on the way. It was snorting at me as I walked by. I presume you can get pork there!

Finally, in the underground Umeda maze, I found a very nice okonomiyaki shop. This is an Osaka favorite. Kind of like a pancake but different, okonomiyaki literally menas cooked as you like it. The base is a mixture of cabbage and a batter. You can add all kind of things to it. Mine had pork, squid and shrimp. Some places have you cook your own at the table side griddle but at this place the server came over every so often to tend to my meal. So all I had to do was watch as she expertly shaped it into a perfect round using a wide spatula.

Ah, it's crisping nicely.

Topped with okonomiyaki sauce and mayonaise, it's ready to eat. This was further accented with dried bonito flakes and seaweed. It was as delicious as I remember.

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