Oh Osaka, we were glad to see you. We’d caught a 6AM flight from Sydney to Cairns, without having eaten breakfast beforehand because we stupidly confused the Cairns and Gold Coast international airports and thought there’d be a Hungry Jacks during our transit. Turns out there wasn’t, and we had to satisfy ourselves with one cafe — the only place selling hot food, and at extortionist prices. But we had an 8 hour flight ahead with no meals so we ate. Even so, 8 hours is a long time, so we couldn’t wait to stuff ourselves with Japanese food! And Osaka is a food haven!
It was past 7PM when we arrived at Osaka and shops close late (unlike 5PM in Australia), so we quickly dropped our bags at the hotel. This time we booked a hotel close to Dotonbori (above). This meant good food was just minutes away!
I had my sights set on ramen. I’ve not had a good relationship with ramen (my first experience was Ajisen Ramen in Sydney, which has since closed down, and my second experience in Kyoto did not help), but I was curious about it after having enjoyed the ramen at Ippudo in Sydney.
We were famished and in no mood to join any queue, so we settled on a decent looking ramen restaurant: Golden Kyuemon.
Being in Dotonbori, and hence tourist central, its menu was in English, which made the transition to everything being in Japanese more gentle.
I ordered the kurenai soy sauce ramen. I made my pick for no other reason than my preference for soup in my ramen (or any noodles, really) to be as clear as possible (none of that teeth coating collagen stuff!).
D ordered the gold soy sauce ramen. D, slightly more adventurous than me, went for the slightly cloudier version. Each bowl came with a slice of pork, a soft-boiled egg, bamboo shoots, and a whole heaping of spring onion (urgh!). I chose the thin noodles, while D chose the thick noodles (thin noodles were recommended for both soups but we wanted to see the difference…). Both were tasty, and warded off the nauseating hunger.
For D, however, ramen was just the first course! He loves his takoyaki, and waiting until the next day to visit our tried and true favourite store in Osaka was just too long. So, we got 8 from the takoyaki store on the 1st floor of the Konoman Museum for all things takoyaki. From the signs outside, it claims to be the ‘No. 1’ takoyaki store in Dotonbori, so it seemed like a safe bet.
These takoyaki were quite disappointing. It’s a good thing we already had a favourite store for takoyaki because if this were the first time we tried takoyaki, we’d weren’t keen to eat more. We’re used to our takoyaki being slightly crispy on the outside, and searing hot with generous bites of octopus inside. Unfortunately, these were mushy both out- and inside, and only warm. Perhaps being on Dotonbori, they make huge batches waiting for their customers, rather than to order.
By now it was past 10 and the time difference was catching up to us (11PM is bedtime ad the 2 hour time difference meant our body clocks thought it was midnight). But we had two more places in mind: a SevenBank ATM for cash and the supermarkets.
On the way out of Dotonbori, an apple and cinnamon tart caught our eyes at Ken’s Pastry. We love apple pies so we indulged. Too bad it was cold and custardy, and not at all like a hot apple pie.
We eventually made it to the ATM, which is conveniently situated outside our favourite supermarket in Osaka (the Life supermarket underneath Hotel Monterey). We had another supermarket in mind though. D and I like to explore supermarkets, even in Sydney, so a supermarket overseas is all sorts of fun. Since our last trip to Osaka, I’d discovered a MaxValu just five minutes walk south from the favourite Life supermarket. So there we went only to discover that Life was cheaper generally. That’s good news though as Life is more central.
Look at these giant octopus and scallops for sale!
Eating ice cream in the cold is the best, I tell you. The crunchy chocolate top and the wafer covering the vanilla and chocolate ice cream tasted just as good as I remembered from three years ago coming back from Tokyo DisneySea.
Before calling it a night, we dropped by the Life supermarket for a few cans of chu-hi to be consumed over the next few days. Here are peach and pear…
…and nashi pear and apple.