Okonomiyaki

by - 11/12/2014

I love okonomiyaki. Before going to Japan, I had only ever tried it at Shirokiya in Ala Moana on Oahu, and I had made it for myself using the recipe from Cooking with Dog, but I wasn't entirely sure how truly authentic okonomiyaki was supposed to taste. Don't get me wrong, the recipe was good, but I didn't have all the proper ingredients. 

Osaka is the home of okonomiyaki. Kansai, to be exact. You can find okonomiyaki anywhere in Japan, but their styles different depending on region. For example, Hiroshima adds noodles to their okonomiyaki. The best way to describe it is like a savory pancake. It has a very runny batter, and is primarily made up of cabbage. Just about anything can be added to it, like pork, shrimp, cheese, and other veggies. It is topped with sauce that I can best describe as a mix between teriyaki and worcestershire sauce, as well as mayonnaise. I know that sounds completely disgusting and believe me, I am with you. Mayonnaise is disgusting. But Japanese mayo is different. They use Kewpie mayo (yes, like the baby dolls with the tiny wings), which tastes nothing like Best Foods or Hellmans or, God forbid, Miracle Whip. It's rounded off with aonori and bonito flakes (katsuobushi shavings). 

When we went to Japan last year, my first taste of it was a magical experience, but it was even more magical for Kevin, who noted it as his most favorite food he ate on the entire trip. 

This time, our friends took us to a different okonomiyaki restaurant somewhere in Dotonbori where they had five-cheese okonomiyaki! We got slightly lost trying to get there and ended up back tracking, but if we hadn't done that, we never would have seen this majestic sight: 


Does anyone remember Dance Dance Revolution, or Pump it Up? I was a Pump it Up girl, myself. But this takes it to a whole new level. The funny thing is, when we were done with dinner an hour or so later, this guy was STILL dancing, and had an even bigger crowd than before! 

But I digress. Back to okonomiyaki!

The place we went to was called Yukari. Their okonomiyaki was different from the last one in that the cabbage was chopped a little finer. I settled for a kimchi okonomiyaki, while Kevin went for a three-cheese as he could not fully commit to five cheeses. 

Okonomiyaki grill where workers come and grill it for you

Flipped over!
You could add your own aonori and katsuobushi
For good measure, we also ate again at the first place we went to called Okonomiyaki Tsuruhashi Fugetsu located in the Midosuji Grand Building Store, located smack in the middle of dotonbori. We kicked it off with this thin pork wrapped in an egg, smothered in mayo, okonomiyaki sauce, and topped with katsuobushi. 

Tenpanyaki! It's like breakfast 
Carnage.

You can see the difference in both okonomiyaki; this one definitely has larger strips of cabbage.


Something got lost in translation, and noodles were added, making it a modan-yaki. Don't ask me what modan means. I read that it's derived from the English word "modern," but I don't see how adding noodles makes this more "hip."


Kevins okonomiyaki face
Finished!

Needless to say, this okonomiyaki was extremely filling with the addition of the noodles. You might also notice they the katsuobushi is on the inside and not on top. Personally, I prefer mine on top. I like to watch it dance!


It's hard to say which restaurant I enjoyed more. Both styles were a bit different. I will say that Yukari's was easier to eat because you didn't have to cut through large strips of cabbage, and I liked the hot mustard. Gave it a nice kick. I also liked being able to add my own katsuobushi.

Okonomiyaki Yukari
Sennichimae, Chuoku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0074, Japan
Hours of operation: unknown (sorry!)

Tsuruhashi Fugetsu
Midosuji Grand Building
1-9-1 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Hours of operation: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm

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