Mizuno Okonomiyaki: The (Pancake) Circle of Life
Hi Everyone! Welcome back. Today, we're going to talk about Mizuno Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan. Upon arriving to Osaka, there was only one priority on our list and that was to eat as much as possible. On one of our first nights, we ate not just one dinner, but THREE full dinners. The other two meals were at Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M and Isomaru Suisan.
This meal was the first of the three. Anyway, since we knew we wanted at least two dinners, we made sure that our first dinner was fairly light. That being said, we decided to try an order or two of Japan's famous Okonomiyaki, a type of savory Japanese pancake. This restaurant has been operating for over 70 years and was once in the possession of a rare Michelin star. Today, they are rated as "Bib Gourmand", which is considered a Michelin inspector's favorite at a good value.
During our visit, we waited over an hour to be seated so watch out for that when allocating your time. We only ordered two different okonomiyakis to share. Despite the casual setting, it was probably the best okonomiyaki I've ever had. The experience is perfect for casual get-togethers with friends or family. But, it's also ideal for late-night drunken escapades. As you will soon see, your okonomiyaki is prepared and cooked right in front of you. Steph took several pictures so you can see the progression of the okonomiyaki pancake of goodness.
First, we got the Yamaimo-Yaki, To start, the guy came over and started grilling oysters and pork belly. Once it was decently cooked, he poured a mixture of flour, eggs, cabbage, and yam over the grilled meats. Now, it was starting to look like a pancake!
As it was grilling, the waiter topped it with Bonito Flakes (dried, fermented, skipjack tuna) - see above. Bonito flakes are full of savory, smoky flavor and are usually used as a topping. By drying and fermenting the tuna, the moisture is drawn out and the flavor becomes more concentrated. When placed on top of hot food, you'll notice that the flakes start to writhe and dance. This is because the flakes are so thin and dry that the moisture or steam will cause the flakes to move.
After a while, the waiter flipped the okonomiyaki, exposing the beautifully grilled underside.The Yamaimo-Yaki is one of the most popular dishes at Mizuno. The batter is made with yam, which gives the okonomiyaki a smooth texture. It's definitely a little bit sweeter than your average okonomiyaki.
Finally, the waiter will douse your pancake in sauce (see above), including a Japanese Worcestershire-style sauce. This sauce is like Worcestershire sauce but it's a bit thicker and sweeter. It goes well with fried food and is often used for okonomiyaki. The waiter asked if we want to add Mayonnaise and the unanimous decision was an aggressive "YES". As you can see above, there is no limit to how much sauce you can put! :) Overall, the pancake is an avalanche of sensory feelings. It's sweet, salty, and savory but also crunchy, chewy, and creamy. This one is a lot of fun.
Lastly, we also got the Modan-Yaki (see the first picture of this post). This is a "Modern" okonomiyaki as it incorporates noodles as one of its ingredients. We ordered this one with Shrimps and Scallops. The preparation process was the same as that the Yamaimo-Yaki. I'd highly recommend this one as well.