We are staying in Namba, which I had researched and had seen that it was a bustling place to stay, as there are no proper sights to see (in my opinion) today was all about exploring the surrounding area and trying all the local delicacies.
For breakfast I was really craving something more healthy and western, so we looked in Namba City department store which is right next to Namba station and found a Hawaiian breakfast spot which served a frozen acai berry yoghurt with granola and fruit. It was pretty pricey at 980 for a full bowl, but it really hit the spot and I was so happy to eat something fresh for brekkie.
We then moved onto the streets to have a wander and try to find an okonomiyaki restaurant for lunch, I was following a guide I found online which listed some good spots to eat in the Namba area, http://www.theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/the-10-best-restaurants-in-minami-namba-osaka/. The place suggested there was a restaurant called Mizuno, and when we found it it was an hours wait! The food was also very pricey with everything over 1000, so we decided to skip and move onto another restaurant from the list. We walked through Dotonburi and tried one of these rice cakes with sticky sweet soy sauce, I wasn’t a fan as the sauce was too strong. I then spent 700Y on some takoyaki, the Osaka special, octopus balls, I really wanted to try the cheese and bacon but they didn’t have any and I probably would have enjoyed them more. These balls are quite sickly and gooey, I’d prefer it if they had been cooked for longer, and there’s too much sauce and fish flakes going on. I think it’s either you love them or hate them….
Where we ended up was a bit further north and over the river, closer to Shinshibashi, at Hokkoyokusei which is a Omu-rice restaurant which is basically rice wrapped in omlet with a tomato sauce. It’s a dish which is special to the area so I was pleased the wait wasn’t too long. It was a traditional family run place where we had to take off our shoes and sit on tatami mats. I ordered the mini mushroom omurice and fried chicked set meal which came with salad and miso soup. I’ve got to say, I found this meal so good, and not because it tasted out of this world and it was the newest thing I’d ever eaten, but because the tomato sauce tasted like Heinz spaghetti hoops! It was like I was eating an English breakfast ha! I was getting a bit sick of eating the same thing everyday so these flavours were like heaven to me and I ate it so quick. MR didn’t like it as he didn’t think it was very special as it tasted so much like home, but I loved it and enjoyed the fact that it was new flavours and a speciality dish, I certainly hadn’t eaten rice wrapped in omulet before. It was quite pricey and can understand why some foreigners would not find it anything special and a waste of money.
Moving on we walked on the riverside, which was really lovely as there was less of the bustle of people and the sun was shining. We walked until we came near nippombashi station where there is a food market called Kuromon Ichiba, I’m constantly craving fresh food here and thought it would be a good place to get some fruit. There’s a ton of fresh seafood here, lots of crab and blowfish, octopus on sticks, tempura, sushi, nearly everything! It was really nice to walk through and was a calmer version of Tokyo’s outdoor fish market. I got a strawberry snow cone which was a sugary delight, and they also sold some milk and redbean versions. I also bought a 70Y fried meat and potato dumpling, but there was no meat and it was pretty rank. I’m not very good at trying these local foods! In the end there were a ton of fresh produce shops so I bought some strawberries which weren’t as sweet as the previous ones I’d tried and I got some yellow kiwi.
As it was so sunny and nice, we thought it would be a good idea to eat the fruit in the sun, so we walked all the way to Osaka castle! It was a 50min walk, and on the way we came across a bakery which sold egg tarts and chocolate tarts, a saviour as I’d just mentioned I was craving chocolate. They were kinda expensive at 250Y each but omg, most delicious egg tart ever and the chocolate was dark and to die for. I was so happy to eat these and if they weren’t so expensive I would have bought so many more! It definitley made the long walk a lot quicker.
It took a while to get into the castle but it’s great that you don’t have to pay to be on the grounds, just have to pay to go into the castle. I wasn’t bothered about going inside as I new it was a replica and not very old, but it was nice to get some pictures outside and there were some drummers playing which really added to the atmosphere. Here we enjoyed the kiwi and strawberries, and watched some crazy dog ladies.
That evening, after I’d had a nap we went to a highly rated curry udon restaurant, Miyoshiya, I ordered the curry udon with beef and MR got it with Katsu. It was boiling hot when we got it so I struggled to eat mine without burning myself but surprisingly I really enjoyed the dish. It was a huge bowl of curry soup with thick udon noodles and some beef and tofu, I also got a small bowl of fried tempura bits to add a bit of texture. I did get a bit sick of the soup after a while as there was so much of it and I’m more used to eating it with rice rather than on it’s own, but I did eat most of it. At the end once you’ve finished all the udon and meat, you’re supposed to get some rice and an egg to make a risotto with the left over curry sauce I really didn’t fancy doing this… We met the owner who was happy to know we are from London and showed us a picture of him and Ainsley Harriet, lol! It was a nice restaurant and a great way of ending my foody day.