Okonomiyaki: Discovering Japan’s Captivating Soul FoodOkonomiyaki


Japanese cuisine has gained popularity worldwide, and among its diverse offerings, Okonomiyaki stands out as a beloved soul food. In this article, we will delve deep into the allure of Okonomiyaki and explore the rich culinary culture of Japan for our international readers. From the origins and variations of Okonomiyaki to dining etiquette and recommended establishments, we aim to provide a comprehensive range of information. Join us on this journey as we uncover the fascinating world of Okonomiyaki and showcase the vibrant tapestry of Japanese gastronomy.

★Exploring the Origins and History of Okonomiyaki: Hiroshima and Osaka Styles

The origins and historical background of Okonomiyaki are fascinating. It traces back to the Edo period in Japan, dating a long time ago. However, the Okonomiyaki of that era was different from the modern version we enjoy today. It was a dumpling-like dish incorporating vegetables and fish. The contemporary style and name of Okonomiyaki were established during the Meiji period.

The origin of Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki can be traced back to the Koi district in Hiroshima City. This style is cooked on a flat iron griddle, featuring a layered structure. First, a thin layer of batter is spread, followed by cabbage and pork toppings. Additionally, noodles, seafood, tempura crumbs, or green onions can be added according to personal preference. It is then flipped and cooked, and finally topped with Okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise. Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki is characterized by its fluffy texture and luxurious layers of ingredients, often incorporating chewy noodles.

On the other hand, Osaka-style Okonomiyaki developed in Osaka City and its surrounding areas. It is cooked by mixing the batter and ingredients together and then grilling them as a whole. It has a flatter shape compared to Hiroshima-style. The batter is made with flour and dashi (broth), mixed with ingredients such as cabbage, green onions, and pork. Osaka-style Okonomiyaki is grilled into a round shape on the griddle, with a crispy surface and a chewy texture inside. It is commonly topped with sauce and mayonnaise, and special toppings like bonito flakes and dried seaweed are often used.

Both Hiroshima-style and Osaka-style Okonomiyaki have unique characteristics and flavors specific to their respective regions, each with its own fan base. For locals, Okonomiyaki is not just a dish but also a special way to spend time with family and friends, representing local pride. Both styles are cherished as part of Japan’s culinary culture and enjoyed by many people.

★The Basic Recipe for Okonomiyaki:

Here is the basic recipe and the necessary ingredients for making Okonomiyaki. In addition to the main ingredients such as cabbage and pork, I will explain in detail how to make the batter and use the condiments.

  1. Ingredients:
    • Cabbage: 1/4 head (finely chopped)
    • Pork: 100g (cut into small pieces)
    • Flour: 100g
    • Egg: 1
    • Water: 150ml
    • Okonomiyaki sauce: As desired
    • Mayonnaise: As desired
    • Aonori (dried seaweed flakes): As desired
    • Katsuobushi (bonito flakes): As desired
    • Optional toppings: Tempura flakes, green onions, seafood, etc.
  2. Making the Batter:
    • In a bowl, combine the flour, egg, and water. Mix well until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Preparing the Ingredients:
    • Add the chopped cabbage and pork to the batter and mix well. Ensure that the ingredients are evenly coated with the batter.
  4. Cooking:
    • Heat a flat frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Pour the batter onto the pan and spread it evenly to create a uniform thickness.
    • Once one side is lightly set, flip it over and cook the other side. Optionally, add additional toppings such as tempura flakes, green onions, or seafood.
  5. Finishing and Serving:
    • When both sides of the Okonomiyaki are golden brown, transfer it to a plate. Drizzle Okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise over the top.
    • Sprinkle Aonori and Katsuobushi on top. Enjoy the Okonomiyaki while it’s hot.

As you can see, Okonomiyaki can be made with simple ingredients and basic steps. The cooking time and toppings can be adjusted to personal preferences. Okonomiyaki is often enjoyed with family and friends, so feel free to experiment with different variations and toppings according to your taste.

★Variations of Okonomiyaki:

Okonomiyaki comes in various variations depending on the region and season. In addition to Hiroshima-style and Osaka-style, there are other styles such as seafood, cheese, and vegan versions that feature only vegetables.

  1. Seafood Okonomiyaki: This version uses an abundance of seafood such as squid, shrimp, and shellfish as the main ingredients. The freshness of the seafood pairs well with the Okonomiyaki, allowing you to savor the flavors of the sea.
  2. Cheese Okonomiyaki: By topping the Okonomiyaki with cheese, you can enjoy the combination of melty cheese and the texture of Okonomiyaki. It’s a delightful choice for cheese lovers.
  3. Vegetable Okonomiyaki (Vegan Okonomiyaki): This version is made using only vegetables without the use of pork or seafood. Cabbage, bean sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, and other preferred vegetables can be used to create a healthy Okonomiyaki.
  4. Okonomiyaki Pancake: This version transforms the Okonomiyaki batter into a pancake-like texture, with a chewy and fluffy consistency. It can be enjoyed as a dessert by adding fruits and whipped cream as toppings.

These are just a few examples, and there are many other variations of Okonomiyaki based on different regions and individual ideas. It’s fun to create your own unique Okonomiyaki by incorporating your preferences and ingredients.

★Etiquette and Enjoyment of Okonomiyaki:

Here is some advice on etiquette and the way to enjoy Okonomiyaki. I will introduce proper manners related to the usage of sauce and mayonnaise, as well as techniques for cutting Okonomiyaki, in line with Japanese dining culture.

  1. Sauce and Mayonnaise Application: It is common to pour sauce and mayonnaise over Okonomiyaki. Apply the sauce generously to the entire Okonomiyaki according to your preference, and for the mayonnaise, create vertical lines for an aesthetically pleasing presentation.
  2. Cutting Okonomiyaki: Okonomiyaki is typically cut into small pieces for easy consumption. To achieve bite-sized portions, it is convenient to use a small spatula or pizza cutter to divide the Okonomiyaki into smaller pieces.
  3. Eating with Skewers: In Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki, it is also common to eat it with skewers. Using skewers makes it easier to eat without the Okonomiyaki falling apart.
  4. Enjoying Okonomiyaki Parties: Okonomiyaki is perfect for enjoyable gatherings with family and friends. Each person can choose their preferred ingredients and toppings and cook their own Okonomiyaki, creating a fun and interactive dining experience.
  5. Enjoy it while it’s hot: It is recommended to eat Okonomiyaki while it’s still hot. By consuming it while it’s piping hot, you can fully savor the flavors and textures of the ingredients.

Keep these manners and tips in mind as you enjoy Okonomiyaki.

★Recommended Okonomiyaki Restaurants:

Here are some recommended Okonomiyaki restaurants. These establishments are well-known and loved by locals. They are sure to provide an enjoyable experience for visitors from overseas as well.

  1. “Okonomiyaki Kiji” (Chuo Ward, Hiroshima City): One of the famous Okonomiyaki restaurants in Hiroshima. Here, you can enjoy Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki. Fresh ingredients and homemade Okonomiyaki sauce are the highlights.
  2. “Okonomiyaki Aoi” (Asaminami Ward, Hiroshima City): A cozy and beloved local spot where you can enjoy the traditional flavors of Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki.
  3. “Okonomiyaki Kuramaru” (Chuo Ward, Osaka City): A reputable Okonomiyaki restaurant in Osaka. They offer Osaka-style Okonomiyaki, and you can indulge in its unique ambiance and delicious Okonomiyaki.
  4. “Okonomiyaki Yamashita” (Nishi Ward, Osaka City): A well-loved local Okonomiyaki restaurant in Osaka. You can fully enjoy the authentic flavors of traditional Osaka-style Okonomiyaki here.

These establishments are known for their individual characteristics and flavors, and they have gained popularity among locals. We invite visitors from overseas to try these authentic Okonomiyaki experiences.

★Okonomiyaki and Japanese Culture:

Okonomiyaki plays an important role as part of Japanese food culture. This dish is a special meal shared among Japanese families and friends, with each region having its own unique style and flavor.

In Japan, making and eating Okonomiyaki is an occasion that brings people together and fosters social interactions. Cooking Okonomiyaki with family and friends while engaging in conversations is a precious time that deepens bonds.

Moreover, Okonomiyaki reflects the local specialties and culture of each region. Whether it’s Hiroshima-style or Osaka-style Okonomiyaki, it showcases the regional produce and traditions. Visiting local Okonomiyaki restaurants allows you to experience the distinct flavors and atmosphere of each region.

Furthermore, Okonomiyaki highlights the use of Japanese ingredients. Cabbage, pork, and other toppings utilize the bountiful agricultural and livestock products of Japan. The Okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise, too, contribute to the unique taste that Japan offers.

Okonomiyaki goes beyond being just a dish. It represents the cherished bonds among Japanese people and their families and friends, as well as an opportunity to experience regional culture and ingredients.

★Providing Okonomiyaki Recipe:

You can easily make Okonomiyaki at home and enjoy it. Here are the steps and tips to make Okonomiyaki.


  • Okonomiyaki flour: 2 cups
  • Water: 1 cup
  • Eggs: 2
  • Cabbage: 1/2 head (finely chopped)
  • Pork or other toppings: Optional
  • Okonomiyaki sauce
  • Mayonnaise
  • Aonori (dried seaweed flakes) (optional)


  1. In a bowl, mix the Okonomiyaki flour, water, and eggs until well combined. Mix thoroughly until you have a smooth batter.
  2. Add the chopped cabbage to the batter and mix well. Make sure the cabbage is evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  3. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and pour the batter onto the pan, spreading it into a round shape of about 10-15 cm in diameter.
  4. Place the pork or other toppings on top of the batter. Press the toppings firmly into the batter for better integration.
  5. Once the batter starts to solidify, flip the Okonomiyaki. The key here is to carefully flip it using a spatula. Don’t worry if it doesn’t flip perfectly—it won’t affect the taste. Just enjoy the process.
  6. Cook the other side until it is well browned.
  7. Drizzle Okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise over the cooked Okonomiyaki. Sprinkle with aonori if desired.

Tips for making Okonomiyaki:

  • Thoroughly mix the batter to achieve a consistent texture.
  • Finely chop the cabbage for better texture in the Okonomiyaki.
  • When pouring the batter, start from the center of the pan and spread it in a circular motion for even thickness.
  • When flipping the Okonomiyaki, do it slowly and carefully.

With these steps and tips, you can make Okonomiyaki at home and enjoy it. Experience the taste of traditional Japanese home-cooked cuisine.


Through this article, you have had the opportunity to learn in detail about the appeal of Okonomiyaki and Japanese food culture. By exploring the origins and variations of Okonomiyaki, as well as the etiquette for enjoying it and recommended establishments, readers can develop a deeper understanding and truly enjoy Okonomiyaki on their own. We hope that this article will be helpful for those who wish to experience Japan’s food culture during their travels or when dining at local establishments.