|Glico man in Dotonbori, Osaka, Japan|
I found there was less English spoken in Osaka, while people seemed a lot less conservative than their Tokyo counterparts. Prices, in general, also seemed a little less harsh on the back pocket.
|Dotonbori Canal, Osaka|
|Takoyaki octopus balls from Daimaru depa-chika, Osaka|
Osaka is the home of 'street food' like takoyaki octopus balls and okonomiyaki Japanese savoury pancakes, so it was only appropriate that we had our first meal at the takoyaki stall at Daimaru.
It also happened to be probably the best takoyaki I'd ever had up until that point, with the pressure cooked octopus making a big difference.
|Udon and soba shop|
Ordering directly with the chefs in front of us, it was easy enough to copy orders from fellow diners if one couldn't read the menus. Most of the male diners ordered a bowl of what looked like fried rice alongside their udon, which I suppose wasn't huge, but certainly sufficient for breakfast.
|Tempura prawn udon|
The tempura udon featured a single tempura prawn that wore a cloak of batter that inevitably goes soggy in the slightly sweet, clear soup. I'm not the hugest fan of shallots but I find the thinly shredded ones absolutely necessary in Japanese noodle soups.
The serving was just the right size for me, clean and simple, and good slurping practice as well. The light serve also provided capacity for a naughty lunch.
|Kushikatsu in Osaka: okra, lotus root and eggplant|
|Kushikatsu: beef and pork|
|Kushikatsu asparagus, octopus and prawn|
|Mechanical crab outside a restaurant in Dotonbori, Osaka|
|Cooking our own takoyaki, Dotonbori, Osaka|
They poured in the batter - just enough to spill over the holes - and from there, you had to move at some pace before the batter cooked too quickly.
|Fillings and condiments for cooking our own takoyaki|
Other standard fillings included shallots, beni shoga pickled ginger and some sort of crisp bits that sadly lost their crispness as soon as they hit the batter.
|Fillings in and cooking takoyaki|
|DIY takoyaki end result|
This certainly wasn't the best meal or takoyaki we'd had but it was fun nonetheless.
|Glico man by night|
|Gobo burdock root sralad|
We had no idea what the gobo salad was, but knew we needed some vegetables to the grilled meal. The julienned burdock root and carrot, smothered in a creamy, seasame sauce, turned out to be a total winner.
|Grilled chicken skin|
The mass of skin, garnished with shallots, was on the soft and chewy side which seems standard in Japan, whereas I definitely prefer crisp and crunchy chicken skin where possible.
|Okonomiyaki on the grill|
We dressed our selection of a modern-yaki with the condiments provided at the table; essentially the same condiments as for takoyaki.
|Modern-yaki okonomiyaki - dressed with katsuoboshi|
|Back streets in Namba, Osaka|
|Cured ham off the bone from Pieno, Namba|
Squeezing past diners, we put our bags up on the overhead shelf space and immediately ordered a serving of the cured ham that sat atop the counter. A cheery American accented Japanese chef sliced the ham by hand, while Campari and blood orange was the drink of choice.
|Four cheese pizza|
I'm not sure what I should have expected of pizza in Japan, but Osaka eats, especially at the cheaper end of the scale, proved to be quite some match to Tokyo.