Kansai culinary specialties 関西料理
An Osaka-style okonomiyaki, ready to eat.
A tray of takoyaki
Credit: guide Japon
Slices of Kobe beef. Check out that marbling!
With Osaka, the Japanese street food paradise, and Kyoto, kingdom of great cuisine, the Kansai region offers a variety of culinary delights.
Here, Japan Experience has selected a few typical Kansai specialties:
This Japanese pancake (お好み焼き), is one of the stars of Osakan street food. It's a cabbage pancake cooked on a hotplate, then topped with savory brown sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito fish flakes and nori seaweed. Once purchased and served in a small cardboard tray, you can wander the city enjoying your delicious pancake, or eat it on the spot, side by side with other customers, along with a cold beer!
When talking about Kansai street food, takoyaki (たこ焼き) should immediately come to mind. These are dumplings stuffed with pieces of octopus and cooked using a special mold. They are usually served and eaten in a boat-shaped tray, but you can also sometimes find them on skewers. Takoyaki are sold at many street stalls (yatai, 屋台) which may not be much to look at, but each will boast of having the best recipe!
Yatsuhashi (八つ橋) are sweet specialties the Japanese always bring back from a trip to Kyoto. It is a small triangular-shaped mochi (glutinous rice flour) confectionery, usually stuffed with red bean paste (an, あん).
In Kyoto, there are many words with the prefix "kyo-" (meaning "from Kyoto"). For example, the kyo-yasai (京野菜, vegetables from Kyoto) with which many kyo-tsukemono (京漬物, pickles from Kyoto, slices of assorted vegetables marinated in vinegar) are made, that are found in kyo-ryori (京料理, Kyoto cuisine). You can find an incredible variety at Nishiki Market (錦市場), a popular market for residents of Kyoto.
There are also kyo-gashi (京菓子), traditional wagashi sweets from Kyoto.
When someone mentions "Kobe", it's impossible not to think of Kobe beef! Renowned worldwide, this is the Rolls Royce of wagyu (和牛, Japanese beef). It gained its reputation due to the "marbling" in the meat, that is, the fine layers of fat running through it. It's said that Kobe cattle are massaged daily to achieve this, and even fed with beer!