Umaiya うまい屋, Osaka

Having spent the day at Osaka Castle enjoying hanami, our next stop was to visit the Tengo Nakazakidori Shopping Street for some nice street food.

Started with the quintessentially Osaka snack – Takoyaki.  We visited the Michelin Bib Gourmand Takoyaki stall – Umaiya which is an old-school store established since 1953. I wanted to take a photo of the sign board of the shop but realised that it was almost charred black!

There were a handful of people queuing for their food but we decided to eat-in at the store instead of takeout cos we wanted to take a rest. It was stated clearly that there is minimum order requirement for eat-in.

Unlike the ones we see in Singapore, the takoyaki served here is served plain without any toppings. I guess it takes a lot of guts for the Chef to serve it plain! This is probably a testament to the quality of the takoyaki. The only condiment available is the sauce that customers are free to coat over the freshly made takoyaki which are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

P.S This was one of the best takoyaki I had in Osaka, due to its firmness. I don’t like the takoyaki to be too soggy. So I love the texture of the takoyaki here!

It was a pity that we didn’t get to eat the takoyaki from the classic little cardboard boats. Nonetheless I brought home a food miniature that I got from a capsule toy vending machine. =)

Feeling satisfied from the takoyaki, we continued our walk along the arcade in search of the 2nd shop on our “To-Eat” list, but we were attracted by the aroma of char-grilled skewers. Upon closer look, we realised that there are freshly grilled yakitoris displayed on a make-shift table outside the shop. And the shop 鳥梅鶏肉店 is actually a poultry shop selling chicken meat!

The friendly owner gestured to the sign saying it’s ¥70 per skewer. We helped ourselves to the skewers, dipped them into pot of dark-coloured gravy and ate them on the spot! The chicken was tender and juicy, certainly as fresh as it can be. This was certainly an interesting experience to enjoy yakitori straight from a poultry shop.

Umaiya うまい屋: 4-21 Naniwacho, Kita-ku, Osaka

鳥梅鶏肉店: 1 Chome-9-2 Nakazaki, Kita-ku, Osaka

Earlier photos taken:

Flowers in full bloom at Osaka Castle Park.

We came well-prepared with our picnic mat and food we brought from Kyoto. We settled down on an empty space under the row of Sakura Trees to enjoy Hanami. Although we had visited many scenic Sakura blossoms sites in Kyoto, it was a different experience sitting down on picnic mats and soaking in the hanami atmosphere here. We were surrounded by the locals who came out in full force as it was a weekend. Some came as couples, same came in large families and large groups. We saw kids running about while the adults sat down and chatted, as they munch on snacks and drank tons of beer.

Earlier we went shopping at Takashimaya’s supermarket section and decided to purchase the Sakura-Momo Ichigo/White Ichigo mix set to bring for our picnic. The Sakura-Momo Ichigo is a type of luxurious strawberries variety that we didn’t get to eat during our previous visit to Hokkaido in Feb this year. Hence we were eager to try these fresh and beautiful strawberries variety this time. I recalled seeing them sold in Isetan supermarket in Singapore and they even forbid customers from taking any photos of the delicate imported products. In addition, the price was more expensive than those sold in Japan due to the transport cost of exporting them over under cold storage conditions.

Over at the supermarket in Japan, we didn’t have any problems when we asked for permission to take photos. Having tried the wonderful Yubari melon in Hokkaido, we were impressed by the extremely juicy melons. Spotted this gift box musk melon at Takashimaya priced at a jaw-dropping ¥27,000 (approx. S$330)!!!

Melons are pricey, deemed as luxury fruits and often used for gifting in Japan. I understand from a TV programme that the melon’s skin is said to resemble the turtle shell and the stem resembles that of a crane’s leg. Hence melon gifting connotates wishes of longevity when given as gifts to recipients such as elderly/parents. Therefore melons with intact stems are also priced higher than not-so-perfect ones.

Other than the fruits segment, we also spent quite some time at the supermarket admiring the fresh groceries that are delivered from various parts of Japan. Seeing the fresh produce made me feel like cooking a meal during my stay in Japan. However it is a dilemma as there are also many wonderful eats available from the many quality restaurants!

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