Osaka is so famous for food that the saying kuidaore (“eat ’til you drop") has famously been connected to the city. So when it comes to buying souvenirs for yourself and people back home after a visit, you can be swamped for choice with so much on offer.
However, when you strip it all back to the core of what lies at the heart of Osaka, the choice becomes infinitely easier. As the birthplace of okonomiyaki, a now world-famous savory pancake, this is the only thing you need to take away with you, but as it’s not really possible to pack the gooey fried meal away in your suitcase, we suggest going for the next best thing…
If you need any more convincing about how good this product is, take it from our reporter Udonko, who loves okonomiyaki but has never had the chance to actually try it in Osaka.
As she was passing through Shin-Osaka Station the other day, she decided to pick up a box of Okonomiyaki Senbei, and now she’s become obsessed with it, ranking it as her newest favorite souvenir.
Priced at 345 yen for a set of six, this is one of Osaka’s top-selling souvenirs, and with good reason, because not only do the crackers look like discs of okonomiyaki, they contain real freeze-dried ingredients.
The box Udonko purchased contained three “Mayonnaise Yaki” and three “Cabbage Yaki’‘ and when she took one of each out to try, her mouth gaped in amazement.
▼ They looked just like okonomiyaki.
Sprinkled with a variety of toppings such as shrimp, green seaweed, and tempura flakes, each one looked like a smaller version of a real okonomiyaki.
▼ At first glance, you wouldn’t think this was a rice cracker.
She first tried the Mayonnaise Yaki (pictured above), and after only half a bite, the taste of okonomiyaki had already filled her mouth. She could clearly taste the familiar ingredients, alongside the usual seasonings, such as sauce and mayonnaise. Everything about it was okonomiyaki, but with a crunchy texture that blew her mind and excited her palate.
Upon trying the Cabbage Yaki (above), she fell even deeper in love with the treats, as the taste of cabbage sang out above the other ingredients, with a more refreshing taste due to the lack of mayonnaise, giving her not one but two different varieties of okonomiyaki to enjoy in one sitting.
The Cabbage Yaki crackers contained 16 kilocalories, while the Mayonnaise Yaki variety contained 18, making them extremely low in calories compared to the real thing. So if you’re watching your weight but craving okonomiyaki, these are ideal, and you can eat a few of them without having to feel too guilty afterwards.
When it comes to Osaka souvenirs, Udonko had heard of famous products like 551 Pork Buns, but the Okonomiyaki Senbei were a dark horse that she hadn’t seen coming.
She was amazed by how well okonomiyaki could be recreated as a rice cracker, and after looking at the back of the pack, she was in for another surprise, when she found that the product name (商品名) was simply listed as…
She’d expected it to be written out as “Okonomiyaki Senbei”, so to find that it was simply “Okonomiyaki” upped the authenticity even further, making her realise that you really can take okonomiyaki from Osaka home with you!
So despite never having technically eaten okonomiyaki in Osaka, she now feels she can say she’s eaten okonomiyaki from Osaka, and if you’d like your friends and family to feel that way too, be sure to keep an eye out for these next time you’re travelling through the city.
Photos © SoraNews24
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