The search for great Osaka style okonomiyaki led me to Dotonbori, a bustling night life part of town with plenty of stimuli here, flashing neon lights, large and polite crowds of people are here with me enjoying the party type atmosphere. Gawking at the visual extravaganza of the street decorations, the store fronts and each other, at times it looks like comic con is in town.
The okonomiyaki restaurant is busy, really busy, with a wait of an hour or so, With my name down on the list I go for a quick drink at a bar nearby, there are plenty of options, the hardest part is just picking one. The bar smelled good, goddamn it! With a couple of guys cooking seafood behind the small counter, sadly I’ve committed my appetite to another tonight. I didn’t need to consult the Japanese language drinks menus, Uisukī rokku and umeshu rokku, are 2 of the few things I’ve learnt so far, the waitress was relieved that this was an easy exchange, even though this place is not far from the main street, but already English is rare, I love that.
Back at the okonomiyaki restaurant and I’m seated at the bar watching the chef cook the large mixed pancakes, I watch as he adds the batter, steams / wilts the cabbage or onion, adds the protein item, the extra batter and flips them. A sprinkle of this, a scrape of that and soon enough on the warming plate in front of me there are a pair of pancakes. The first is the Osaka okonomiyaki with pork, the instant difference I see comparing it to the Hiroshima okonomiyaki is the lack of noodles, apart from that it is very similar, with the sauces on the side to add yourself rather than coating the pancake already. The second is a variation on the theme a migayaki with squid, the main vegetable with this being spring onion, there is no cabbage in this. I think this made it a bit sweeter, obviously more onion-y but not dissimilar.
The name for okonomiyaki derives from the Japanese word okonomi meaning “how you like” or “what you like” even though this is a frugal, easy to cook and eat dish, it is no way associated with economic, I like how the turn of phrase sound similar, and leads the mind in a direction yet is untrue.
With a vibrant area to explore a glazed crème brulee from a street side van made an excellent finish to the meal before the 30 minute walk back to my airbnb. I really enjoy okonomiyaki, but I think this will be my last experience, I’d like to try other things.