Okonomiyaki – The Japanese Pancake
My input on finding okonomiyaki around Japan
Okonomiyaki is one of the most famous Japanese dishes. Okonomiyaki is the name for ‘Japanese pancake’ or ‘Japanese pizza’ and is a mix of thinly shredded cabbage lightly sautéed in a batter. You can choose to top it with assorted vegetables, seafood, or your choice of meat. It is cooked on a hotplate right in front of you. The usual sauces used to prepare this delicious dish is Worcestershire sauce and mayo but, in many places, they have their secret okonomiyaki-ya sauce. Sauce plays a significant role in uplifting this dish with a taste to devour.
Here’s the list of places I would like to recommend and rank them.
#1 Mind-blowing Okonomiyaki Experience was in Hatena
On one fine day Okonomiyaki-zoned experience happened in Hatena. A popular joint recommended by one of my friends. As a Kansai-Jin, I love Okonomiyaki. After tasting at several okonomiyaki joints in Tokyo, I can safely say Hatena use a generous amount of meat, and very sizeable pieces of seafood and cook it right in front. This is Top-level experience of seafood-based Osaka style seafood okonomiyaki.
Link to reach Hatena http://s.tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1307/A130701/13022296/
#2 My Favorite go-to joint for delightful Okonomiyaki Benbei
Since coming to Japan, I have not found a delicious Okonomiyaki place in Tokyo. I’ve searched in many places, but it never met my level. If I don’t eat my okonomiyaki, sometimes I cannot live, I’m obsessed with this dish. The other day while doing my usual errands I ran into a place called – Hiroshima style okonomiyaki place. The taste of their okonomiyaki awakened my senses. It was full of savory, saucy, fluffy and the flour amount was just right. It was astonishingly scrumptious, and the portion size was appetizing.
Here’s the map for you to reach Benbei: http://www.benbe.jp/
There are quite a few different ways of serving this dish. The most common is having diners sit across the teppan – hotplate – while the chefs slather the sauces over a generous amount of meat, eggs, veggies and help you to serve yourself right on the spot.
Some places have their unique version of serving Okonomiyaki-ya – they let you handle the batter and allow you to cook the meal for yourself. Don’t worry! A guide will be around if you do not know how to cook it yourself – sounds like a great DIY lol!
#3 Yo-Chan Okonomiyaki at Azabu-Juban
The place is Yo-Chan – in short for “Hey Baby!”. This is an expression used in Osaka to ‘cat’ call the ladies. Located in Azabu-juban. The exterior looks like a place you’d find in Osaka. I highly recommend this place because it serves one of the best Hiroshima style okonomiyaki at an affordable price.
You can reach here by using this map below.
Apparently, the taste varies throughout Japan, a few best places to have them are in Osaka and Hiroshima. A question a lot of people ask, which city serves the best okonomiyaki-ya – Osaka or Hiroshima; try it yourself. Both the cities have their own take on classic okonomiyaki-ya.
Alternatively, if you are craving for a hot Okonomiyaki in a foreign land then here’s how you can make okonomiyaki probably anywhere in the world.
#4 My All-time Favourite Okonomiyaki – Home-made Okonomiyaki by my friend..
My friend of over 15 years – Itoh-san – is an Okonomiyaki cooking master. I love his distinctive cooking style. In fact, he has raised the level of okonomiyaki to such heights that I could never settle for the okonomiyaki you find in the market, which I consider mediocre.
Last week was simply delightful as he cooked delicious Okonomiyaki at home. I have captured all the details for you to try out yourself. Oh yes! He has upped his cooking game over these years – it’s better than it’s ever been!
Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki recipe
This recipe serves one
- Okonomiyaki powder mix (flour and stuff) x 2 tbsp
- Potato (Imaimo) x ¼ cup
- Bamboo (Take) x ¼ cup
- Thinly sliced beef or meat of your choice x 4 medium sized slices
- Cabbage x 1 cup
- Noodles x ¼ cup
- Mix 2 eggs, the okonomiyaki Mix, and cabbage in a bowl
- Fry the beef
- Add a small amount of cooked noodles shaped in a small circle
- Add the batter on top
- Cook for 2.5 – 3 minutes on each side on low – medium heat.
- Then drizzle the mayonnaise, Okonomiyaki sauce and slather it all on the cooked okonomiyaki.
- Optional step: To increase flavor you can add seaweed and fish flakes.
- Serve hot and eat a lot!
If you’re a tourist visiting Japan here are the recommended places to try Okonomiyaki at.
Recommended restaurants: Hatena (Tokyo), Azabu-juban (Tokyo), Benbei (Tokyo) or you can visit Okonomimura – the place infamous for serving okonomiyaki-ya. The restaurants are lined side by side, and each restaurant serves a different version from one another. However, whichever version you root for – Hiroshima or Osaka – don’t tell the locals about your preference; it can hurt their feelings.