Perhaps not as internationally renown as sashimi, sushi or ramen, okonomiyaki is a type of savory pancake. Originating from the Kansai and Hiroshima regions it has grown into one of Japan’s favorite dishes. The name comes from the Japanese meaning for “what you like” (okonomi) and “grill” (yaki). Here’s everything you need to know about Japan’s most underrated dish.
What we love about okonomiyaki is it’s incredibly easy to make and so versatile. Just throw your favorite ingredients (or whatever you have) together and get cooking! It’s also not as time consuming to make as a ramen soup base, not as fiddly or delicate as sushi and the ingredients are far easier to find than for a fresh sashimi dish. Okonomiyaki also tastes different from restaurant to restaurant, region to region, with each adding their own unique twist to the dish.
Street food stalls provide a variety of ingredients to create your own tasty combinations.
Making okonomiyaki can be a lot of fun and allow you get creative. But before you get started, let’s introduce you to the different styles first!
Kansai style: Mix water and flour to create a batter. Add vegetables, meat, seafood and other ingredients of your choice then fry the mixture on the hot plate. Finally top with mayonnaise, soy sauce, dried bonito fish flakes and any other sauces you like.
Tokyo style: First fry the meat and vegetables. Make a circle shape, then pour the batter over the top in the middle of your meat and veg circle. Let the batter come to a boil, then mix. While the ingredients are largely the same, the main difference between the two styles is in the texture. Try them both and see which you prefer!
Another popular choice at the okonomiyaki restaurants is yakisoba. An equally versatile fried noodle dish with an assortment of your favorite ingredients topped with yakisoba sauce; a mixture of Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup, soy sauce and sugar (or honey).
With these three methods, you’re now fully prepared for your visit to the okonomiyaki joint. Even better, when you get home, check the fridge, grab an assortment of ingredients and make your very own easy but delicious Japanese meal!