Next I would like to visit Okonomiyaki Galaxy please 
March 3, 2015 5:08 AM   Subscribe

Okonomiyaki World is a surprisingly comprehensive cooking resource that includes a history, recipes and variations for both Osaka/Kansai and Hiroshima styles, information on ingredients and nutrition, supplies and utensils, restaurants serving okonomiyaki around the world, and even an okonomiyaki discussion group. The only thing it's missing is a banjo tribute that features animated, dancing cats, but this link has you covered.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide (25 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
Oh...I have to try and make this. Never heard of Okonomiyaki before, but darned if it doesn't look awesome!
posted by Thorzdad at 5:29 AM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

It is. Oh, it is.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 6:09 AM on March 3, 2015 [9 favorites]

When I visited Japan, someone translated "okonomiyaki" for me as "fried fun." Not the most precise translation, but it gets the point across rather well.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:11 AM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]

Okonomiyaki are pretty easy to make at home. I use this Americanized recipe. I leave out the tenkasu and don't miss them. The key thing is to not skimp on the toppings. My personal selection is Kewpie mayonaise, aonori, bonito flakes, the pink pickles (what are those called?), and okonomiyaki sauce or Bulldog fruit sauce.
posted by chocotaco at 6:13 AM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

This has been my okonomiyaki resource for years, ever since I introduced Ranma 1/2 to my son.

It's been a while since we had okonomiyaki and anime night. Thanks for the reminder :)
posted by methroach at 6:21 AM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I remembered! Beni shoga. Now I can get on with my day and planning to eat more okonomiyaki. There was an old Japanese commercial where the mom was so happy about them since her family would "eat a mountain of cabbage"! and then she giggled, sneakily.....
posted by chocotaco at 6:23 AM on March 3, 2015

Yup, okonomiyaki is great stuff, and one of our regular items on the meal agenda. But we virtually never make it at home ourselves. We have a great little okonomiyaki restaurant right around the corner from our house: literally a 30-second walk! Making it at home in a fry pan or skillet is OK, but to make it on a big, table-sized griddle (at your own table) is just better, IMO. And our local spot has some pretty creative takes on okonomiyaki. We're tight enough with the owner that it's just as relaxed as being at home, too.

We also get monja there, which is only for the hard-core Tokyoites. Most Japanese outside of Tokyo don't even know what it is...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:42 AM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I visited Japan as a high school kid. Landed in Tokyo with my class and immediately threw up from jet lag, then broke out into hives out of culture shock before even leaving the airport. Kids from our host families were there waiting for us and I was immediately whisked away on a series of trains and buses to a distant suburb with tiny hilly streets. We barely could speak to each other and my skin itched. Everything seemed off kilter and hallucinatory. We marched through the streets for what felt like hours, loaded down with my bags.

As dusk fell, we popped into a tiny tiny corner shop. It had a tiny bar surrounding a grill. Two or three random salarymen were nursing beers and greeted my companion warmly. Behind the grill was a bald man in the remnants of a suit. It looked like he walked straight out of an office and threw on an apron. He offered me a beer which I confusedly declined. He then started throwing things on the grill with such grace that I couldn't even follow what was going into the mix. The only thing I recognized was eggs.

Now I was an insanely picky boy. I wanted to like foreign food, and more than anything I wanted to be polite, but I was terrified of what I had heard about sushi and outside of sushi I had no idea what to expect. So it was with mad trepidation that I watched this sort of meaty, cabbagey omelet take shape. He plopped one in front of me and the other kid, who immediately dug in with chopsticks. I cautiously did the same.

I'm not a foodie, so I can't really describe what I experienced, especially since my frame of reference for non-American food up to that point was Pork Lo-Mein, but I can say that it was very close to the best thing I have ever eaten in my entire life. It was warm and crisp and hearty and umami-y. It turned out this man was my host kid's father and that this restaurant was his hobby. Like other men might rebuild a car in a shed, he had a teeny diner where he only made okonomiyaki. The kid kept saying "Japanese Pizza!" and even though it bore no resemblance to pizza visually or taste-wise, I knew what he meant. This was pure comfort. I've never had it since, and part of me hopes not to because the experience is so pure in my memory, just reading the words okonomiyaki brings back that dark corner lined with friendly old faces, the surrender of eating something without knowing its ingredients, my silly terror fading into camaraderie, and the taste of the unknown becoming familiar. I'll never forget it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:42 AM on March 3, 2015 [18 favorites]

When I visited Japan, someone translated "okonomiyaki" for me as "fried fun." Not the most precise translation, but it gets the point across rather well.

More literally, "fried whatever-you-like." Okonomiyaki is the best stuff. I went to a cook-your-own restaurant in Hiroshima and made such a hash of it that the waitress took pity on me and cooked it herself, but it was delicious nonetheless.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:53 AM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

I *strongly* recommend you use dashi stock instead of water, it really improves the flavor. You can get dashi powder at nearly any Asian market, it's dirt cheap, and well worth it. While you're at the Asian market you can pick up the okonomiyaki sauce and some bonito flakes. Ao nori flakes are very nice too, but for some reason they're preposterously expensive at all the markets in my area so I mostly don't bother.

I don't bother with packaged okonomiyaki flour I just add some baking powder for leavening and a tablespoon of potato starch. It isn't the same as grated Japanese yam, but it does add a nice sticky chewy texture to the okonomiyaki that is at least vaguely similar.

But seriously, make some okonomiyaki, it's delicious.
posted by sotonohito at 7:20 AM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Plus, of course, if you buy dashi stock, you can grab some miso and make miso soup for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner, or just whenever you want delicious miso soup.
posted by sotonohito at 7:21 AM on March 3, 2015

I've used crisped rice in place of tenkasu when I make it. Not ideal, but a lot easier.

Anyways, yum, okonomoyaki. Wish we had places that served it here in Louisville.
posted by jackbishop at 7:29 AM on March 3, 2015

Potomac Avenue, that was a wonderful anecdote. My first and only time in Japan has similarities. I wasn't sick or totally disoriented but I had disembarked onto the tarmac at Narita into heat and humidity I had never experienced outdoors ever in my life. I was slow-motion melting into a jet-lagged puddle as myself and the rest of the exchange program students were driven to meet our host families and mine decided to take myself and my travel partner out to an Okonomiyaki shop first thing.

I had heard of okonomiyaki before because of watching Ranma 1/2 but I had no idea what sort of taste to expect. It was delicious, of course, and definitely seemed like the first time I ever felt anchored onto the ground.

Another intense memory was seeing the undulating bonito flakes as they were put on as a topping.

Man, I need to just figure out a home recipe already.
posted by whittaker at 7:45 AM on March 3, 2015

If you're in NYC, I highly recommend Otafuku for all your okonomiyaki AND takoyaki needs.
posted by kokaku at 7:51 AM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I don't know why but hardly any restaurants in town make this stuff. It's like a secret. An awesome secret I can let people in on. When I have gone to buy all the stuff at H Mart or T & T here in Vancouver, when they're ringing the items up, half the time someone behind me in line will say "oh, okonomiyaki party?", sorta longingly.

I make a pretty dope Osaka-style okonomiyaki given that all the usual ingredients aren't always easy to find. Instead of the usual strips of pork you often find in okonomiyaki, I use bacon. And always shrimp. I make them pretty large and cut them into quarters. Everyone I've made it for completely gorges themselves.

I agree about using Dashi stock like the person upthread suggested. It doesn't seem like it would make a huge difference but it does.
posted by Hoopo at 7:53 AM on March 3, 2015

I was lucky enough to get a Japanese electric griddle from a friend as a wedding gift. It has totally upped our okonomiyaki game here at home. And yet I will always long for the hole-in-the-wall restaurant I accidentally found in Kyoto when my parents were visiting me. It was a magical 6 person restaurant that is now a firm part of our family lore.

And in the land of additions/substitutions, let me recommend a couple dashes of fish sauce to the batter if you don't have dashi on hand.
posted by ikahime at 7:58 AM on March 3, 2015

*drools uncontrollably*
posted by lalochezia at 7:59 AM on March 3, 2015

Great, now I'm jonesing for some okonomiyaki. C'Mon, Houston, get with the program.
posted by Runes at 8:13 AM on March 3, 2015

One more thing: I lived in Shizuoka Prefecture, so as far as I'm concerned okonomiyaki is incomplete without dried sakuraebi.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:22 AM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh, man, the gently waving bonito flakes on top are one of my favorite parts. Entrancing.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:09 AM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Now I'm hungry, so I looked up some recipes for vegan okonomiyaki: Bryanna Clark Grogan. the taste space. The Real Meal. Your Vegan Mom. Veggietorials. Olives for Dinner. Terry Hope Romero (and the accompanying sauce recipe).
posted by Lexica at 10:12 AM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

This FPP gets my vote for FPP of the year.
posted by snwod at 7:43 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Hiroshimayaki (with soba noodles) is the only okonomiyaki. That stuff from Osaka is only a pale shadow.

And Otafuku sauce is what binds the galaxy together.
posted by armage at 3:06 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

armage heresy! Osaka style is vastly superior in every way!
posted by sotonohito at 5:08 PM on March 4, 2015

Hiroshimayaki (with soba noodles) is the only okonomiyaki.

Well, that's just like, your opinion, man.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:33 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

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