Every foodie’s paradise, Osaka, is known for its cheap and delicious food! However, you may feel that the cost of travel from afar just to eat is a bit of an extravagance… I have just the thing for you: traveling via “StarFlyer,” a full-service airline at low-cost carrier prices, with flights such as Osaka to Fukuoka (one way) starting at 4,500 JPY! Today I’d like to introduce some tasty but cheap gourmet options that you can enjoy in Osaka with the money you saved on travel.
Full service at such a low cost! Let’s go to Osaka with StarFlyer!
StarFlyer, which started in October of 2013, offers flights between Kansai and Fukuoka at low-cost carrier (LCC) prices as low as 4,500 JPY for a one-way ticket. One-way flights between Tokyo and Kansai also start at the low price of 7,300 JPY, and they depart from Haneda Airport, which is quite convenient.
You may be wondering what makes them different from any other LCC, but StarFlyer boasts the quality of its services, which even tops that of major airlines. With roomy seats and a variety of entertainment options, you will be sure to choose them again after just one ride! Their high-quality experience is great for people of all ages, and will satisfy even the most experienced traveler. And of course, with the money saved on travel, you want to enjoy the food at your destination! I am a travel writer living in Osaka, and today I want to share with you my top choices for Osaka food.
Gotta have those flour-based snacks! Delicious takoyaki from a well-established shop
“Wanaka” is a very popular takoyaki (flour-based snack balls filled with octopus) shop located next to the Namba Grand Kagetsu theater, which is considered Osaka’s mecca of comedy. The secret to their popularity is of course the taste and price. The unorthodox variations like takoyaki served with scallions or dipping sauce are delicious as well, but I invite you to first try the standard, sauce-flavored takoyaki: 8 for 400 JPY. The dough that fills your mouth with the flavor of their secret sauce is crispy on the outside but gooey on the inside, and so soft that they droop down from the toothpicks they’re served on. The octopus inside has a nice, chewy texture that fills your mouth with flavor the more you chew. This is definitely an Osakan-approved takoyaki. “Wanaka” has a space for guests to sit down and eat as well. Takoyaki shops around Doutonbori (another area famous for its street food) usually have you stand there and rush to eat, but the space to sit down is nice for travelers who want to relax. Those of you who would like to sit down and enjoy your takoyaki: this is the spot for you.
Wanaka Address: 11-19 Nambasennichimae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture Hours: Weekdays: 10:00 AM ~ 11:30 PM, Weekends and Holidays: 9:00 AM ~ 11:30 PM
Now this is a Tempura tower!
Next up on our list is “Futsu no Shokudo Iwama” (The Normal Dining Hall Iwama) from the Namba area, the area of Osaka known for its delicious, cheap spots. “Iwama” is located near the Namba Grand Kagetsu Theater, on a little side street off of the famous Sennichimae Douguya-suji Shopping Street.
Though this establishment is “normal” by name, the appearance, taste, and sheer amount of food you receive is far from it. At the entrance for example, there is a giant caricature of the owner to greet you. Now, you might be wondering: can you really expect one of these “funny” restaurants to have good food? Well I need you to trust me and give this place a try. Their top choice, huge-portioned item is the “Toritama Tendon” (chicken and egg tempura rice bowl) at 850 JPY, seen in the picture above. Just look at that mountain of chicken tempura! Burying the bowl of rice, you’ll find chicken tempura, pumpkin tempura, sweet potato tempura, onion tempura, and at the very top, a half-boiled egg tempura. Now this is a tempura tower! The tempura is crispy on the outside and warm on the inside, providing a taste you won’t get tired of. The sauce is served on the side, so you can flavor it just the way you like. Inside the restaurant, you will find autographs from many comedians on display; apparently it is a popular spot for comedians of the Yoshimoto Kogyo entertainment company. If you’re ever in Osaka, why not give this tower of Tempura a try?
Futsu no Shokudo Iwama Address: 9-12 Nambasennichimae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture Hours: 11:00 AM ~ 3:00 PM, 5:00 PM ~ 9:30 PM Closed: Wednesdays
Anaba Sushi, a little-known delicious restaurant
Temma is known for being the battlefield of Osaka restaurants offering cheap, delicious, and huge sushi. Today I’d like to introduce “Taishu Sushi Izake: Anaba,” located at the entrance of a small alley in front of the JR Temma Station. “Anaba” has a simple setup, with foldable tables and round stools, making it an izakaya (a Japanese drinking establishment with food) with a retro feel. However, this retro sushi restaurant gets a perfect score in both taste and volume! Just look at the freshness and size of the sushi in the picture… and with prices starting at just 90 JPY for 2 pieces, its also super cheap! Here I’d like to share with you my top 3 picks for sushi at “Anaba”! First Place: Ostrich Nigiri 288 JPY (middle of the second row) Second Place: Fatty Flounder Edge 288 JPY (middle of lower row) Third Place: Seafood-filled Anaba-maki 588 JPY (upper row)
My top choice is the Ostrich, but have you ever tried it? You would think that such a lean, fast-running bird would have tough, unpleasant meat, but your first bite gives an almost tuna-like flavor, followed by a beef-like taste! You’re sure to be hooked. Other than that, there are over 200 choices of sushi on the menu! There are a lot of interesting choices for drinks too, like the chlorella-kale juice cocktail, the Calpis-oolong cocktail, the green tea beer, etc. Taste-wise, the chlorella and kale juice mix was a bit bitter for me, but it should be good for my body. Definitely give this cheap, delicious sushi a try.
Taishu Sushi Izakaya: Anaba Address: 4-12-7 Tenjinbashi, Kita Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture Hours: 5:00 PM ~ 1:30 AM Closed: Tuesdays
This bowl’s cover is made of beef!
Last but not least, we have “Nabeya,” which covers all three important things for Osakans: the price, the taste, and the amount. Once inside, you’ll see that each seat has its own gas stove. That’s right: you can even have your very own hot pot! Although there are a lot of hot pot choices, my top pick is the gyuniku tetsunabe (beef iron hot pot), the cover of which is made completely of beef! Beneath this layer of beef, you’ll find the pot filled with things like onions and Chinese cabbage, all stewing in their special, soy sauce based broth, which has the certain sweetness Osakans love. As it simmers, the sweet aroma will surely awaken your appetite. The sweet beef with a little bit of raw egg on it is so delicious it just melts in your mouth. Last but not least, you finish up with a little udon (thick Japanese noodles). Other than that, I’d recommend: The sweet-sauced beef sukiyaki : 650 JPY The 180g of chicken neck sukiyaki: 600 JPY And in winter, you definitely want the oyster hot pot! Unfortunately I don’t have a picture to share with you, but their hot pot generously filled with oysters is only 900 JPY! To finish up the miso-based soup flavored by oysters, try adding some rice to make it into porridge!
Nabeya Address: 2-6-5 Tengachayakita, Nishinari Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture Hours: 2:00 PM ~ 9:00 PM Closed: Sundays
The three important things for any Osakan: the taste, the price, and the amount!
It’s only natural for expensive meals to taste great, but to an Osakan, it’s all about getting great-tasting food at the lowest prices… and getting enough of it to fill you up!
I hope you have enjoyed this introduction of top choices of all foods –from street snacks to hotpot- that make an Osakan go wild. “Cheap and delicious” is all about Osaka food and Starflyer.
[This article has been a tie-up with StarFlyer, inc.]
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