Osaka is very much like Singapore and most big, commercial cities – its people are always in a mad rush, traffic is heavy and commuting is a very stressful exercise.
While we did not quite like that aspect of Osaka, we do love, love, love its food culture and abundant options of restaurants in Minami (accessible by Namba Station) and Kita (accessible by Osaka Station).
Minami, where Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi shopping street are, is a hive of activity in the day and night. It is fascinating to see the array of lightboxes and oversized food replicas adorning the front of shops and buildings, eagerly beckoning consumers to come their way and spend some money. As if the lightboxes and oversized food replicas aren’t enough to entice consumers, most shops hire staff to stand at the entrance to shout their wares.
Oh yes. A trip to Osaka isn’t complete without taking a photo of Glico Man!
We took a step further by getting TWO photos of Glico Man – one in the day, one in the night.
Since it was tough deciding what to eat in Minami, we ended up having three lunches in a day – one at a kaiten-zushi shop, one at Kani Doraku (our second go on this trip, with the first mega crab feast in Kyoto) and one at a western-style bistro where we had excellent sundaes (which the locals prefer to call ‘parfait’).
Boy, I’m glad we have big Singaporean stomachs and appetites!
There’s also plenty to eat in Kita. Immediately around where we stayed, at Monterey Osaka, close to Osaka Station, is a long strip mall that houses a computer and gaming shop and a mind-boggling selection of restaurants. There, we patronised an okonomiyaki specialty shop, an izakaya that serves cheap set lunches in the day and Eki Bacon – out favourite! – a place for imported beers, sausages and crispy, roasted pork.
There’s something wonderful about Japanese pork. I’m not usually a fan of pork, as it tends to stink. But pigs reared in Japan produce a particularly sweet and tender meat that tastes delightful however it is cooked.
If there’s one thing I miss about Osaka, it has to be the crispy, roasted pork from Eki Bacon. :(