29 September 2014

Day 14: Okonomiyaki, Osaka

Day 14: Osaka Castle

Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street
Osaka, as you know it, is famous with their seem-like endless markets and of course always-packed pachinko shops.  Besides those things, for me personally, in here is one of the culinary capital in Japan. From street snacks to main meals, abundant everywhere in Osaka.


We walked a long the small alley that night, not far from Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street. We saw this shop, looked tiny from the outside but they have a bigger dining space inside.  Packed with locals, surely it would be yummy.  We then take a seat not far from this cool lady where she managed to handle a few yakisoba okonomiyaki on her hotplate before serve it to the customer. 

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients, mixed in a bowl then grilled on the hot flat pan.  Traditionally, the ingredients are mixed on the bowl and then grilled on the hot pan in front of you by yourself, then when it is done, you can put the toppings like okonomiyaki sauce, seaweed flakes, bonito flakes and mayonnaise as you please. The name Okonomiyaki is derived from the word "okonomi", meaning "what you like" or "what you want", and yaki meaning "grilled" or "cooked". There are many version of Okonomiyaki all over Japan.  In Osaka or Kansai region, where most people believe is where okonomiyaki is originated, they normally mix the raw ingredients in a bowl then grilled both sides like pancake.

As this is our first time having this do-it-yourself okonomiyaki, the waiters helps us around and nicely explain how and what is the proper way of having okonomiyaki.

Step 1: Raw ingredients mixed on a bowl

Step 2: Pour all onto a flat-hot pan

Step 3: Flip it, cook both side  until it is cooked through

Step 4: Smeared okonomiyaki sauce on top and sprinkles some more toppings over it such as bonito flakes, seaweed flakes and mayonaisse as you like

Special Okonomiyaki - Pork in between with mayo, mustard, tomato sauce and poppyseed on top 900¥

Okonomiyaki - mix of pork, shrimp and egg 900¥

Step 5: Cut it into 4 slices or more
and the last step (which what we most looking forward of) enjoy it

The two of us only order 2 okonomiyaki, as the portion is very huge.  Okonomiyaki here in Osaka is really earn their popularity right.  Their Okonomiyaki is very plump and juicy, not dry and floury at all.  Very flavoursome and those each ingredients shine in its own way.  Plus we scattered heaps of sauce and toppings, that's bring this dish to next level.

These layered ring type cake or otherwise is called Baumkuchen is pretty popular in Japan as I have seen people sell this cake in a few different places.  However, we ended up buying this brulee cheesecake from one of the cake shop in Namba station, it is more like my cup of tea.

The Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street
Starts around Tenjimbashi-suji Rokuchome Station on the Tanimachi and Sakaisuji Subway Lines,
runs south and passes by Osaka Tenmangu Shrine before ending around the Tenjinbashi Bridge

Stay tuned for the next blog still in Japan:
Day 15: Hiroshima

11 September 2014

Day 14: Osaka Castle

Day 14: Hotel Monterey Grasmere, Osaka

There are plenty of castles in Japan that would take you a whole month or two to see them all.  However, if your time is limited, you need to smartly pick the most unique and popular one.  Osaka castle is one of the best castle to visit.  Nice and well constructed with the location that easy to reach.

Not only pretty in photo but this castle has been well designed and formatted.  I believe in the past when the war between rulers existed, it was very hard for enemy to enter into this castle.  The main hall is surrounded by water and the way in is only by the bridge followed with high wall along the side of narrow lane.  

Osaka Castle

Time Capsule

Takoyaki Truck

Takoyaki with Salmon Roe


Stay tuned for the next blog still in Japan:

08 September 2014

Day 14: Hotel Monterey Grasmere, Osaka

Day 14: Uji

If you guys do not have much time in Japan but still willing to visit Uji as I mentioned in my previous blog.  This is what we did.  Early morning, we dropped our luggage and kept them in the locker in Kyoto Station.  Then we catched train to go to Uji and came back just before midday and heading further south to Osaka and spend the rest of the night in there.  It is doable as roughly one-way trip from Kyoto to Uji only takes less than one hour.  And in Uji town itself, you can cover the main town iconics in about two or three hours by foot. However, it depends of the people speeds too.

Once, we arrived back at Kyoto station, we grabbed a quick nibble from Lotteria.  They indeed serve a very good burger and chicken.  Then, we speed up running to catch our next shinkansen to Osaka.

In Osaka, we decided to stay in Namba, as I do some research that apparently Namba is a very busy area and lots of food around.  However, we need to change to JR loop train from Osaka station or we need to transit twice from Shin-Osaka station.  Luckily, the hotel that we picked for the next 4 nights is right next to the Namba station via north exit, just come up the escalator then you will see this tall building.

The room is pretty huge for Japanese-hotel's standard, toilet is also very spacious and clean.  They have a modern decoration and nice city view from our room's window.  They also have a nice small chapel too inside the hotel, just opposite the reception.

Hotel Monterey Grasmere, Osaka
1-2-3 Minatomachi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka
PH: +81-6-6645-7111

Stay tuned for the next blog still in Japan:

27 August 2014

Day 14: Uji

Day 14: Fushimi Inari, Kyoto

Uji is a small town located just few minutes away from Kyoto by train and apparently always be an under-shadow of big city Kyoto where most tourists has not yet discovered Uji's charms.  But this tiny town is actually very famous with their green tea produces and the classic Tale of Genji that took place in Uji as well.  Few other places that you need to visit while you were here, such as the historic Uji bridge, Byodoin Temple, and last but not least astonish-looking of Uji River.  Also, along the omotesando or the narrow street back to station do not forget to stop by and indulge in one of the dessert shop and sample their popular hot matcha tea which is usually accompanied with some little sweets.

A public post box in Uji shaped as tea caddy

The Tale of Genji

Uji Bridge

Matcha or Green Tea Ice Cream

Uji River

Hot Matcha Tea and Sweet

Stay tuned for the next blog still in Japan: