DIY Okonomiyaki,
An Osakan Favorite



Written by: Cedric(Cedric)

● Everything Tastes Good in Okonomiyaki

Some call it a savory pancake, some call it Japanese pizza. Okonomiyaki is a staple Osakan food that every visitor to Osaka must try.
My Japanese friends cook it at home, but I always bought it frozen because I thought it’d be difficult to recreate the flavor on my own.
I’d been quite satisfied with frozen okonomiyaki—you only need to pop it in a microwave and it’s actually pretty tasty—but when I heard there’s a restaurant where you can have a go at making your own okonomiyaki, I had to try. I invited my friend Hyy to join me.

You can find numerous okonomiyaki shops in Osaka but only a few let you cook your own. Each restaurant has its own approach and they are all fun—whether they cook it in front of you at the counter or at your table, or bring out freshly made okonomiyaki on an iron plate—but I’d always wanted to try the art of making okonomiyaki myself.

Founded more than 70 years ago, Sennichimae Hatsuse is a long-standing okonomiyaki restaurant in Minami. All seating is in individual rooms, which is great because you can cook at your own pace and not worry about embarrassing yourself when you mess up…;)
I had thought pork was the default choice of meat for okonomiyaki, but I was welcomed by a wide variety of protein choices including squid, shrimp, octopus, beef, scallops, etc. The menu also included “modanyaki” with which you add yakisoba noodles into the okonomiyaki batter.
We decided to order one standard pork okonomiyaki and one “mix” okonomiyaki that includes pork, squid, and shrimp!


● Cooking Made Easy & Fun

A bowl filled with the ingredients for the batter (typically includes flour, eggs, dashi broth, nagaimo yam, and shredded cabbage) and a separate bowl of raw meats and seafood arrived.
We were advised to mix the proteins into the batter mixture only after they were cooked.
Mixing the batter ingredients in a tiny bowl without spilling anything was a little challenging for both Hyy and me, but after successfully mixing them, we poured the batter onto the large cast-iron grill built into our table.

Hyy poured the batter neatly as if she was making a cute cake. Mine was more dynamic—spread wide and big on the hot grill. We shaped them nicely using kote, metal turners.
After 5 minutes on the grill, it was time to flip the okonomiyaki. Using two kote and counting to three, we carefully flipped the two thick round pancakes. We both succeeded! Phew.


● Choose Your Favorite Toppings

Brown both sides a little…and they were done!
Next step was choosing the toppings for our proud creation. Katsuobushi bonito flakes, mayonnaise, aonori seaweed flakes…standard okonomiyaki toppings were neatly placed in the metal tray on the table, allowing us to use as much as we wanted. After spreading Hatsuse’s original sauce on my okonomiyaki, I took the mayonnaise and wrote Osaka with kanji characters that I had just learned, but the bonito flake topping hid my great work right after…boo.


● Fresh Off the Grill

After we added all the toppings we wanted, it was time to eat.
We used the kote to cut into the okonomiyaki right on the grill. We of course compared the two okonomiyaki—the thicker one had a nice light crispness, and they were both excellent! Indeed, after laboring and nurturing them on the grill, our okonomiyaki tasted exceptionally good. And it was the freshest it could be♪

Next time, I’m going to eat the hot okonomiyaki off the small kote directly from the pan, just like the Osakans do!

Spots Introduced

Sennichimae Hatsuse

[Access] About 5 mins walk from Exit 2 at Namba Station.
About 5 mins walk from Exit 5 at Nippombashi Station.
[Hours] Weekdays 11:30am – Midnight (Last Order at 11:00pm)
Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays 11:00am – Midnight (Last Order at 11:00pm)
※Temporary Hours 11:30am – 8:00pm (Last Order at 7:00pm)
[Closed] Open everyday