The birth of the 'Osaka Burger'

By Karen Masuda

The dainty little burger you see in the photo at left is the new “Osaka Burger.” But does it look like a burger to you? Maybe a burger with the meat on the outside?

The Osaka Burger actually uses the famous Osaka specialty, okonomiyaki, for buns and consists of a chicken patty, fried egg with shiso leaf and topped with a plum sauce, (bainiku sauce).

And it actually was known as something else before being called the Osaka Burger: “Ume Chicken”, the most popular item on the menu at Osaka Burger Kaen Hanamaru. Whatever you want to call it, its originality sparks the curiosity enough to make you wonder: ‘how does it taste?

The Osaka Burger will appreciate your curiosity because it hopes to represent Osaka cuisine alongside the ranks of okonomiyaki and skewered deep-fried pork by bringing together several regional specialties into a new and exciting culinary experience through the burger.

If you have ever tried a Japanese burger shop, you may have noticed that the variety exceeds that of its Western counterparts by offering so many interesting items. The Japanese food industry has given new meaning to building a burger by innovating on the original hamburger, resulting in The Japanese burger, an industry in itself. Most burger shops even outside of Japan offer the usual chicken and fish burgers, maybe even the proverbial teriyaki chicken burger, but only in Japan can you get such a very wide range of types of burgers. Substituting the usual bun with rice patties, gobou (burdock root) patties or, like Osaka Burger, okonomiyaki patties. Who would ever have known that there is an art to building burgers.

The producer of Osaka Burgers, Osaka native Yoshihiro Okamoto, says that while visiting England 20 years ago, before Japanese food became the rave and Japan was mostly known for its electronics, he thought of how much he wanted the world to know Osaka food. Later, on reflecting on okonomiyaki and realizing the difficulty of breaking into the foreign market, using the hamburger as a medium came to mind as it was something you can hold in your hands and eat—not to mention it was already known the world over.

People in Osaka have taken to the Osaka Burger as an interesting fun way to eat regional specialties. Thanks to local willingness to try new things, the Osaka Burger was even available for a limited time promotion at local Lawson convenience stores.

Once the okonomiyaki buns became a finished product, the possibilities of new and interesting burgers being created, became endless. All it takes is for creators to use the specialities of their area to make a new burger, as in the case of this Tosa Sasebo Burger made by Osaka Burgers in collaboration with Kochi Prefecture’s Tosa Electric Railway.

Osaka Burgers have been busy making burgers since 2004. With visitors coming from all over the world, perhaps visitors can take back with them the Osaka Burger as one of the treats of the Kasai area. They just might, because on a pamphlet produced by Japanese Travel Agencies geared at Chinese tourist Osaka Burgers appeared in the top three food specialties of Osaka.

With Osaka Burgers, this original and tasty treat, the sky is the limit.


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Actually, it looks rather obscene to me. Burgers should taste like burgers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The only major chain with absurd burgers is MOS Burger. The rice burgers are pretty tastly if you think of them as Yaki-onigiri (totally Japanese), and not your regular burger. Most others have unique burgers but not unimaginable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It has all the class of Osaka...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I want one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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