Japan: Mizuno

CK and I spent our afternoon in Osaka playing tourist at Osaka Castle (without paying admission to go inside) and then gawking at the whale sharks at the Osaka Aquarium.  (Whale sharks!!)

Then, when it was suitably dark outside, we ventured out to Dotonbori, the food and lights district of Osaka.  Think Vegas and Times Square, but Japanese and (mostly) all about food:

We knew we had to get okonomiyaki (a savory Japanese pancake of sorts) while in Osaka, so we made sure to look up where to get the best.  According to many, that place is Mizuno:

It was difficult to miss the restaurant with the winding line outside.  We were handed English menus as we stood in line and had our order taken right before we were allowed in...to wait some more.

Inside, we were directed to sit behind a row of people at a counter right in front of the grill:

Just as I was getting resigned to going the rest of the night with my hair and my clothes smelling of smoke, we were told a table had opened for us upstairs:

A counter seat is fun, but I much rather enjoy my meal at a spacious table with a grill all to ourselves.

Our server/okonomiyaki grill master brought us the fixings for our first okonomiyaki:

The couple next to us also ordered the same one.  Guess the pork loin and scallop yamaimoyaki (okonomiyaki made with yam) is popular.  Not cheap though at 2520 yen (or around $25).

First, our grill master lovingly arranged the pork and the scallops on the grill:

Next, he mixed together the rest of the ingredients into a batter:

And poured it over the protein:

After letting it grill under a cover for a while, he gently flipped the beast over:

Then slathered it with okonomiyaki sauce, kewpie mayo, and a dollop of mustard:

He finished it off by garnishing it with seaweed and bonito flakes.  (No photo of final product, sorry!  Got too excited and started eating.)

For our second okonomiyaki, we went with the pork and leek "modernyaki" or basic okonomiyaki (970 yen or around $9.70) and threw some buck wheat noodles on it (additional 165 yen or $1.65):

The most fun part of the experience was digging into our okonomiyaki with our little spatulas:

Know what's not fun?  Trying to figure out which okonomiyaki you ordered over a month later.  What's the point of taking pictures of the menu when you don't remember what you ultimately decided to get?  And what's the point of travel/food buddies who have memories as shoddy as yours?  (You're useless to me, CK!) 

Thank goodness I'd taken a picture of the final receipt and could recognize the kanji characters.  My parents always told me Chinese school would come in handy one day.

Anyway, the okonomiyaki were good, but I wouldn't necessarily stand in line for them.  I also don't think the yam one was 25 bucks good.  Definitely a lot of food though.  We struggled to finish both of them.

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