Okonomiyaki mayonnaise art

By Steven Simonitch

Some talented baristas are able to draw beautiful patterns or designs on the surface of a latte. This “latte art” isn’t easy to pull off, but the extra artistic effort is sure to captivate customers and keep them coming back for more.

That doesn’t just apply to cafés, either: in Osaka, there is an okonomiyaki shop where the chef enchants locals and tourists alike with stunning displays of mayonnaise art.

If you’re unfamiliar with okonomiyaki, you need to stop reading this article, head to your nearest Japanese restaurant and introduce yourself because you have been missing out. Often referred to as a “Japanese pancake” or “Japanese pizza,” okonomiyaki is of conglomeration of veggies, meat and whatever else you want grilled in batter and topped with, among other things, sweet okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise.

Osaka in particular is proud of its style of okonomiyaki and this particular restaurant, Okaru, is said to hold a favorable reputation with the locals. If Osakans approve than you know it must good — and you get a bit of entertainment to boot.

So just how skilled is this condiment technician? We visited Okaru to find out.

Sitting down in front of the teppan iron grill, we placed an order for 3 okonomiyaki and asked the lovely female staff member if it was true that they draw pictures with mayonnaise. She smiled and told us they do, and so we asked her to go crazy on our order.

Mayonnaise packet in hand, she decorated the first two okonomiyaki with surprisingly detailed drawings of Osaka landmarks Kuidaore Taro and Tsutenkaku. We know some of you artistic barista hipsters out there are thinking you could do better, but remember that she’s doing with this mayonnaise…and just look at how deft her handwork is!

For the last piece, we requested she draw Mickey Mouse and without hesitation she grabbed another packet and squeezed out a portrait of our favorite Disney mascot in no time. She told us she can draw most popular characters, but it took her a lot of practice to be able to manipulate the condiment like she can now.

As for the taste…well, there’s a reason why the locals keep coming back and it’s not just for the Japanese Mickey Mouse pancakes.

Store Information: Okaru (おかる) Address: 1-9-19 Sennichimae, Chuo-ku, Osaka Hours: 12:00-15:00, 17:00-22:30, Closed Thursdays

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Disney is extremely serious about copyright infringement and misuse of its trademarks. They reportedly filed a million dollar lawsuit against a family party business back in 2008. I wouldn't be surprised if this article results with the restaurant, whose address is conveniently included, receiving at least a stern cease and desist letter from Disney's legal department.

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Okonomiyaki hiroshima style is my favorite! Hard to find outside Japan tho'.

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Love the stuff! I once had a former student describe it as "Japanese pizza" !

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Okonomiyaki is delicious!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Okonomiyaki is delicious! Try skipping the red sweet ginger and replace with cherries. Even better !!

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