Reviews On goes the bacon (after the bean sprouts - no picture for that one)

Published on November 9th, 2011 | by Gareth

Okonomiyake Kansai, Japan

Traveling around Japan is a fantastic food experience. The selection of food and the combinations can often challenge the average Western palette and what we deem as ‘normal food’. Fish, rice and pickles for breakfast, marinated crickets and dried fish as a snack or garnish and sweet bean paste for dessert are just a few examples of unusual combinations.  It’s a real food adventure and I love it. Where possible we have sought out traditional regional Japanese specialties, one of these is okonomiake, a type of pancake. Okonomiyake is a famous dish from Osaka, part of the Kansai region (Central and Western Honshu). Loosely translated it means ‘as you like it’ or ‘whatever you want’.  Essentially it is a mix of egg, batter and your choice of ingredients, cooked on a hotplate. The origins of the dish date back to a Buddhist priests the 1700s.

Okonomiyake bars are often found clustered together; Okonomimura Genzo in Hiroshima is located in a building with 3 floors of these bars, each floor housing about four or five Okonomiyake bars.

Generally, they all contain noodles, bean sprouts, bacon, cabbage, and onion. You can ‘customise’ with a choice of udon or soba noodles, and additional fillings, such as prawns, fish, beef, vegetables etc. Each layer of ingredients are seasoned with salt, pepper and a secret blend of herds and spices. Its not haute cuisine but it definitely tastes good and is surprisingly filling, perfect after a day full of site seeing.

I think the sequence of piccies will give you a better idea of what this dish is and how its made:


An image of Okonomiyake batter.

1. Batter base goes on the hot plate


An image of a chef adding shredded cabbage for Okonomiyake filling.

2. Generous layer of shredded cabbage and bean sprouts.


An image of bacon being added to Okonomiyake cooking on a hotplate

3. On goes the bacon


An image of Okonomiyake cooking on a hotplate in Japan.

4. Wasn’t 100% what this was but I think its batter. Language was a barrier to finding out more.


An image of Okonomiyake being flipped on hotplate.

5. Skillfully flipped without loosing any filling


An image of soba noodles being added to Okonomiyake.

6. Next cook the fresh soba noodles


An image of cooking an egg on a hotplate.

7. After skillfully adding a portion of noodles to each pancake they make the lid from a single egg


An image of Okonomiyake being glazed with sauce.

8. Lifted onto the egg and flipped then a light bbq sauce is added.

An image of Japanese Okonomiyake on a hotplate.

9. All made and served on the hotplate that runs the length of the bar. Food entertainment

Okonomiyaki Sumitomo

6 13-18 Higashimikuni, Yodogawaku, Osaka

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About the Author

Englishman in Sydney loves a whisky, pies and all things savoury. Digital Marketer by day, cook the rest of the time. Amateur writer, photographer & aspiring anthropologists.

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