Welcome to the city of Osaka, Japan’s kitchen as some say. It is without a doubt the food capital of Japan hosting some of the best fish in the entire world. They have a variety of food from every region of Japan represented in all their glory. It is one specific eating experience we are here to talk about today, though, street food or Yatai. You may think that it’s something you already know about but there’s no better place in the world for it than Osaka. Here’s how to enjoy the best of the best of Japanese street food in the capital of food.
cover photo credit: yto
What is Yatai
First of all, we must discuss what Yatai actually means. Its literal translation when translated into English is ‘shop stand’. We are talking food stands and or trucks here, people. Street food at its finest. There is no better place to eat Yatai food or street food than in Japan and seeing as though Osaka is the food capital of Japan then why not in this magnificent place. Historically Yatai meant a little wooden cart that allowed you to cook and sell food from. Now it is a little more of a broad term and basically means to most travelers and food hunters something as simple as straight up street food.
The world famous Osaka castle is one of the best places to go for some street food or Yatai. It houses on its courtyard almost every day tons of food trucks that do great food from all over Japan. It is perfect for your lunch if you are a busy salary man on your daily lunch break or you’re feeling a little hungry whilst walking around the brilliant historic city. There is no better place to try some exciting Japanese street food than looking at the majesty of one of Japans oldest monuments.
What can we say about this street. It is almost as famous as the castle. Its popularity knows no bounds and that is no surprise because this bustling environment has almost all the Japanese food you could ever wish for on one street. It is vibrant at night and has wonderful places to eat and drink with many of those places being street food based out of trucks and other moveable vehicles for cooking and serving. Have a look below at the best types of foods you can get from the Yatai and street food vendors.
3.The Best Food to Try
There’s great food on the streets of Japan so let me talk you through some of the most famous and delicious. We’ll start with one you will almost definitely know: RAMEN. Ramen comes in many forms and can be bought anywhere from vending machines to high end restaurants but some of the best is found on the streets of Japan.
Next up we have Kushikatsu. This amazing and familiar dish is meat placed on a skewer and then deep fried. These come in many shapes and sizes and the meat can differ. Some of the special things about this is the vast array of dipping sauces you can have for these in all the different places it is possible to find them.
And we can’t talk about street food without mentioning some kind of fish. It is Japan after all. Fish is all over the place in deep fried form and in sushi form or in noodle dishes. The possibilities are endless, and you are almost guaranteed that about half of the street vendors will have a fish dish.
Don’t be Afraid to Look Around
Don’t be afraid to look around. What I mean by this is that there is so much to find in the magnificent city that whilst the Castle Courtyard and Dotonbori street are the most vast and bustling places there are street vendors to find all over Osaka. You may well be walking along the street looking at some amazing Japanese architecture and stumble upon a vendor selling some Ramen or fish. The possibilities to enjoy Japanese street food is totally endless.
So, there we have it. Japanese Yatai and Japanese street food. The best country in the world in my opinion for street food. Sure, Thailand is amazing and China and also India but nothing is quite like Japan. Japanese street food is much more than just needing some sustenance to stay alive. It’s also about the experience. The experience of being in a place that’s amazing and vibrant, possibly with your friends, enjoying the great new food and maybe even a drink. That whole thing that makes the experience amazing, absorbing Japan and all it’s culture in one night. Nothing can beat it. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Now all that’s left to say is get yourself to Osaka and fall in love with it as most people do.
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