Monday, April 15, 2013

Sakura in Osaka ( Part 5 ) Exploring Kuromon Ichiba Market

Today was our last day in Osaka.. While Corito was browsing the Michelin guide for a " molecular " restaurant in Osaka, the name Fujiya 1935 came out. It is owned and operated by Chef Tetsuya Fujiwara, who opened his restaurant in 2003, after extensive training in Spain and Italy. According to the reviews on the Michelin guide, Chef Tatsuya displays his latest techniques in this restaurant. We were all hoping to experience " fine dining " at Fujiya 1935 - a 3star Michelin restaurant where Chef Tatsuya and his wife  showcases their prowess in fine dining.  I have heard a lot about Chef Tatsuya while watching the food channels like: Masterchef and the Iron Chef. We tried to call for lunch reservations but it was fully booked.  Feeling downhearted we decided to proceed with our plan B -- " visit Kuromon Ichiba market ".

We were pleasantly surprised with our experience at the Kuromon Ichiba Market. Kuromon Ichiba is 15 minutes away from the Namba district ( just one subway stop ), we got off at the Nipponbashi station and the undercovered market was right in front of us. Kuromon Ichiba Market is an enclosed 600 meter market located in the Nippombashi district of Osaka.

The Kuromon market is famous for its wide variety of food stalls where you can spend an hour or two just wandering around. 

Known as "Osaka's Kitchen", this lively retail market specializes in all things food related, like fresh seafood, produce, cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Osaka specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi.

Some of the shops freely give out samples or sell sample dishes and skewers meant to be eaten then and there. There are small restaurants and food stands selling ready made food. A few stands allow you to eat although other stands consists of no more than a couple of stools and a bar. They usually specialize in one type of food.

Corito did all the purchasing of what we were gong to have for lunch. Luz, the accountant of the group, took tabs on her purchases. We found a couple of food stands that allowed us to sit down and have our meals.

Here are the highlight purchases we had :

OTORO  - or Toro Belly is the fattest part of the fish, the colour is pink and it literally melts in your mouth!

Japanese Kumamoto Oysters -  The meat is plump and succulent. The flavor is clean, rich and briny. The shell is small but has a deep cup that is fluted and sculptured. The best months to eat these oysters are January, February, March, April, September, October, November and December.

Uni or Sea urchin --- Some people describe it as the foie gras of the sea, saying that the texture is smooth and custard like.  I like the taste of sea urchin but I think you must have an acquired taste for this delectable dish. Our uni was very rich, creamy, briny with a slight nutty flavor. It had a slight sweetness that is similar to raw scallops.

Amaebi or sweet shrimps - is praised for its clear and sweet aftertaste unlike the regular raw shrimps. It is best to eat Amaebi with wasabi or grated ginger as the main condiment for sweet shrimp.

The only meat dish we had was the Kobe beef  - The Kobe beef steak is said to be the best among beef steaks. For all the steak lovers, you should try Kobe beef steak in order to savor the distinct taste of this type of steak!!

Kobe beef is well known for its extreme marbling of fat. In fact, the Japanese grading system for the meat focuses solely on the amount of fat in a rib eye. The more the fat, the higher the grade.

I asked them to cook my meat lightly seared on all sides, seasoned only with salt and pepper and then sliced before it was served on my plate. Marvelous! The light searing on all sides ensured a slight crisp that added to the pleasure of chewing as the crisp outer gave way to its succulent pink insides as I devour each piece. I clearly remember the hot juices oozing out when I bit into each slice! The fat tasted like premium butter. 

When you buy a Kobe beef steak, it is like treating yourself like an emperor since this meat is very  expensive – with prices for each cut going at $200 upwards.  Is it worth it?  You have to taste and savor it to know.

Bon Appetiti !!!!!


  1. Hello. I'm Nikolai.

    I would like to publish a guest post (with one link) on your great blog - Could you please give me the price for the placement of it?

    Thank you and I look forward to your reply.

    Have a nice day.

  2. Hi. I am Jen Nee.

    Enjoyed reading your blog about Osaka.

    I am planning for a trip to Osaka in Nov this year.

    Can you please let me know the prices of the food that you ate in Kuromon Market?

    Thank you.

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