In this culinary mecca of sushi, takoyaki (fried balls of chopped-up octopus) and the quintessential umami, I’m afraid to admit that at times, I long for some more familiar tastes and sights from home.
We came across this Krispy Kreme Doughnuts soon after we arrived and we chuckled at seeing something familiar. Then came the Baskin-Robbins and we recalled our $1.31 ice cream scoops on the 31st of the month. Next came KFC, which is so dear to Michael that he dedicated an entire blog to the Colonel. Of course we see McDonald’s everywhere–I think there are more here than all the Mickey D’s in the Puget Sound combined!
They aren’t the only American burger joint in town, thank goodness!
On our quest to find our go-to Mexican restaurant, we’ve had some hits and misses. There’s El Pancho that hit the mark the first time we ate lunch there.
And then we found Fisherman’s Tacos, which has a homemade, creamy sauce–not quite sour cream, yet not quite dressing. Despite the fact that I ordered the daily special, which turned out to be liver with a fishy taste, it was still good, although I’ll be sure to not order that again. And they actually served jalapeños, which is something we can’t easily get here. And when you order a side of jalapeños, you also get a side of food service gloves!
Last year, Taco Bell opened up in the main hub of Umeda and we had to go check it out. Partly because a few months prior to it opening, we were in Okinawa and saw タコベル “tako beru” on the map, which we translated as “taco bell”. We drove 30 minutes from the hotel, having that “yo quiero taco bell” mantra in our heads. When we arrived, we were sorely disappointed to find tako beru coffee shop that specializes in all things…tako—octopus…wah, waah. But, here we are at the real TACO BELL®.
And as you can see, they were introducing the okonomiyaki burrito–an Osakan twist, which was different. I can’t say it was yummy or satisfying, but it was…interesting.
On our trip to Hokkaido over the summer, we found (more like searched furiously after we heard rumors that there was a location in Sapporo) Cold Stone Creamery. That was especially delightful because the confectioner begins the process by getting everyone’s attention and then merrily sings a song while mixing your order together and clanging the scooper and mixing tools together. We also found a delectable Ben and Jerry’s and have found Cold Stone ice cream sandwiches in the dessert section of 7-11 (not recommended, the Cold Stone ice cream sandwich, that is, we love 7-11 here!).
After a year and half of living in Osaka, we find our tummies no longer yearn for specific foods from the States. Maybe it’s because our palates have changed. Maybe it’s because our hearts know we can’t indulge in those foods easily anymore. Or maybe it’s because being in Osaka, nicknamed “the kitchen of Japan” we’ve grown accustomed to all the delightful discoveries offered here. The exciting part is that new restaurants are opening up all the time. Michael and I just had a wonderful Taiwanese lunch in this new underground dining area. So come down to Japan’s kitchen and we’ll take you to some tasty places. Just be sure to bring us some Trader Joe’s goods in return. 😉