Sunday, January 7, 2018

Kuromon Market tour in Osaka

We only planned one thing before we went to Osaka so we had the flexibility to work around Sadie's tantrums if she had any, and in typical fashion the one thing we planned was food centered. We booked a Kuromon market food tour through Arigato Japan Food Tours, and we had a great time. The great time was compounded by the fact that our close friend Austin just happened to be in Japan that same weekend and met up with us for the tour!! It was his first time meeting Sadie and my first time seeing him in a couple of years!

The weather was kind of gross that day, but thankfully the market is covered and was so crowded that we weren't all that cold. The tour description made it sound like we were only going to have a few bites of three or four things from the market, but essentially anything that we showed interest in our guide got for us (as long as it wasn't overly expensive), and we walked away full!

We LOVED Osaka and loved every bite we had on this tour. We had something called takoyaki, which is the little dough balls you can see in the video below. Y'all. It was DELICIOUS! It's like these cheesy, gooey, crispy-on-the-outside balls with a little octopus tentacle or piece of shrimp inside each one. They come topped with a sauce or a vegetable kind of topping and they were seriously the most delicious thing we had on the trip! Takoyaki is uniquely Osakan and, according to our tour guide, is to Osaka what the hot dog or pretzel is to New York: classic street food.

Our tour included some amazing sashimi tuna, served up right in front of the fish stall. 

It made me so happy to have Austin creepin' around in the background of my photos again! Our tour guide is in the foreground, and she was awesome! 

Sea urchin was all over the fish stalls in the market. We didn't sample any, but they made the market feel uniquely Japanese. 

This seems to be a common feature in Asia: market stalls or restaurants will have little statues or images of the animals and/or dishes that they serve, presumably for the foreigners who wouldn't know what is on the menu otherwise. I just think it's funny that the animals always have happy little faces as if to say, "We're so excited for you to eat us!"

Sadie was pretty tired the whole tour, but I'm so glad she got to meet her Uncle Austin.

This market stall had a very hipster urban feel to it. I really liked the paper signs hanging from the ceiling. 

so. much. seafood! And the market didn't stink! At the fish market in Melbourne where Tyler worked, it stunk of fish. Not rotten fish or anything, but just a VERY fishy smell. This market didn't smell at all. I guess that's an indication of how fresh everything was?

Lots of stalls had the food ready to be cooked and served right there on the spot, sort of like a market/restaurant combo. There were often little tables or benches in the middle of the stall for you to sit at while you ate before meandering on to the next stall. 

We had some wagyu beef skewers and OH. MY. HEAVENS they were so good!! 

Gotta love the trademark nostril flare that says, "Am I really about to do this?!"

Sea urchin prepped and ready to be gobbled up. 

The roof of the market had pretty colored glass which would have been lovely on a bright sunny day. There were also these giant fish hanging from the ceiling that had these creepy flashing lightbulb eyes. 

Loved this sweet old lady manning her stall, watching everyone bustle by. She had a friendly face. 

The Kuromon market was the kind of place that, if we lived in Osaka, we would just spend a day meandering, noshing on bites, people watching, and moving on to the next restaurant/stall to have another snack. It was such a vibrant, bustling, fun place to spend a morning. We had just chosen Osaka because it was a cheap flight, but we left with even more stuff on our list to see for next time. I'm glad it's a quick hop over because I think we'll make lots of quick little trips over to explore this city even more.

Vicariously yours,

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