Posted October 12, 2010 by Jennifer Lam in Destinations

Chibo Okonomiyaki, Osaka, Japan

As mentioned in one of my previous posts, you can expect to find something delicious anywhere you go in Osaka. However, for a truly memorable experience, I’d recommend visiting a restaurant like Chibo Okonomiyaki.
Okonomiyaki is basically a “pancake” consisting of flour, egg, cabbage and mountain yams, plus a choice of additional ingredients. Once cooked the okonomiyaki is topped off with okonomiyaki sauce, a Japanese version of plum sauce, a mayonnaise sauce, seaweed powder and dried bonito flakes. Okonomiyaki is also frequently referred to as “Japanese Pizza”. There are okonomiyaki restaurants dotted along almost every street in Osaka but I found Chibo to be one of the more outstanding ones.

Chibo Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan - iron plate cooking, okonomiyaki action

Because the okonomiyaki is cooked on an iron plate, most okonomiyaki restaurants like Chibo also specialise in teppanyaki. Chibo opened its first restaurant in 1967 and today, there are 54 of them. We’re here at their headquarters in Namba, Osaka, where there are five floors of okonomiyaki action!
It is fairly early but the restaurant on the ground floor is already full – all except for the chef’s table, which is definitely the best table in the house!
The table setting includes a cute little kote which is a shovel-like spatula for picking and cutting up the okonomiyaki.

Chibo Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan - a slice of okonomiyaki

We all start with a glass of the Chibo soda which cools us down instantly. I can’t recall exactly what is in it, but I think it is honey, lemon, Oolong tea and soda water.

Chibo Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan - Chibo soda - lemon and oolong tea

Chibo Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan - group shot from behind the kitchen

Osaka’s obsession with takoyaki is translated by Chibo into a succulent okonomiyaki-style treat. This Oka Tako (580円) is a fried batter wrapped around diced octopus and served on the same bamboo boat tray as used by takoyaki street vendors. It is dangerously delicious and I may even like this omelette variation more than the original balls!

Chibo Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan - oka tako - takoyaki in okonomiyaki shop style, fried batter on the iron griddle wrapped around diced octopus (580 yen)

The next thing I order is the house specialty. I’d like to think that you can never go wrong, ordering something the restaurant has named after themselves. The Okonomiyaki Chibo (1600円) consists of a thick savoury batter with chunky bits of pork, beef, cuttlefish, octopus and a king prawn. The flavours are delicate and utterly moreish.

Chibo Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan - okonomiyaki chibo - pork, beef, cuttlefish, octopus and prawn, 1600 yen

Chibo Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan - at the chefs table

Other okonomiyaki variations we try are the Yamaimoyaki Mix (1500円) with pork, cuttlefish, shrimp and yam, and the Okonomiyaki Dotonbori, which has pork, sujikon, cheese, cuttlefish and shrimp.

Chibo Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan - yamaimoyaki mix, pork cuttlefish, shrimp and yam, 1500 yen and okonomiyaki dotonbori - pork, suijkon, cheese, cuttlefish and shrimp, 1550 yen

We also have a large serve of the classic yakisoba (1450円) which is evenly coated with a fragrant soy/Worcestershire sauce.

Chibo Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan - yakisoba mix - 1300 yen plus 150 yen for large serving

Followed by cups of complimentary tea, some of us have the smoky azuki bean ice-cream with mochi balls for dessert, while others have the matcha (green tea) ice-cream with azuki beans sandwiched between wafers (380円). Like all Japanese desserts, these are divine.

Chibo Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan - tea

Chibo Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan - dessert

Chibo Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan - dessert of matcha icecream and azuki beans

We say our goodbyes to the chefs, who’ve put on a great show and waddle out with a deeply-satisfied appetite and our souveneir ‘Chibo Okonomiyaki’ stickers.
This has been one of the best meals I’ve had in Japan yet.

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Chibo Okonomiyaki Restaurant
〒542-0074 Michikaze Bldg
1/2F, 11-27 Namba Sennichimae, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan
Phone: +81 06-6643-0111
Web: www.chibo.com

Jennifer Lam

Jennifer is the founder of I Ate My Way Through. Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. These days, you'll most likely find Jen blogging about slow & intentional living On The Slow Lane and sharing what she knows now about mindful parenting and play-based learning at Mama's Got This.