A Walking Guide to Osaka’s Kitchen – Kuromon Market
Kuromon Market, referred to as the kitchen of the huge gourmet area of Osaka, is where many of the professionals go to for their ingredients. Here is a guide for walking around the area.
What is Kuromon Market?
Kuromon Market is a food market with roots going back to 1822 and is the backbone of the Osaka food scene, where everyone, including professional chefs, goes to procure ingredients. It has around 150 shops in total, centering on fishmongers, greengrocers and butchers as well. Many of the shops now sell cooked food, such as butchers that sell croquettes and deep-fried chicken, and fishmongers offering grilled fish, making the market a gourmet food destination for tourists from around the country.
The easiest way to get to Kuromon Market is on the subway, as it is immediately outside the No. 10 Exit of Nippombashi Station on the Sennichimae Line. A little known fact is that Kuromon Markets are also only about 10 minutes on foot from Namba, so if you want to go to Dotonbori on the same day, you should consider walking.
Enjoy Trying Various Foods
The best thing to do in Kuromon Market is to try the wide variety of foods! There are many choices, ranging from seafood bowls and sushi made with fresh ingredients, to wagyu steak, takoyaki, and pufferfish. It can be quite a challenge to decide what to have, so here are a few shops that are particularly popular.
Maguroya Kurogin Kuromon Market Main Branch
The fresh seafood is a must try if you are in Kuromon Market. Maguroya Kurogin is a fishmonger specializing in maguro (tuna) that offers carefully selected maguro, as well as rare maguro from Oma in Aomori Prefecture. It has an eat-in corner where you can casually enjoy outstanding maguro. The maguro sashimi, sushi, and bowls are popular. In particular, the Sanshoku Bowl (2,500 JPY) with different maguro parts (toro, chutoro, akami, and negitoro (minced toro mixed with scallions)) is an outstanding dish you won't want to miss.
Kuromon Sanpei Kuromon Ichiba Store
This is a shop known for its fresh, seasonal seafood, and as an eat-in corner where you can enjoy seafood procured that day as sashimi, sushi, grilled, or in rice bowls. It is also renowned for its outstanding toro (fatty tuna). Some popular menu items include the Premium Seafood Bowl (1,500 JPY (incl. tax)) that comes with plenty of maguro, scallop, squid, and salmon, and the Hon-Maguro Bowl (1,500 JPY (incl. tax)), which is a great way to enjoy the umami (Japanese savory taste) of Pacific bluefin tuna.
The image is for illustrative purposes only.
Maruzen Meat Shop
This is a shop specializing in Japanese Black Wagyu beef where they sell only the highest quality meat with good fat content. They offer free grilling services at their teppan (steel griddle) for any meat purchased, so you can enjoy freshly cooked meats in the eat-in space or take them with you as you walk around. The Japanese Black Wagyu Skewer (600 JPY) and Kobe Beef Steak (3,500 JPY per 100g) are popular. This is a great place to enjoy the outstanding flavors of Japanese Black Wagyu beef.
Ebinoya Kuromon Market Store
This is the place to go to enjoy freshly fried tempura. The hot and crispy tempura, fried in front of your eyes after you place your order, is a steal at only 850 JPY (incl. tax) for a Tempura Teishoku plate with plenty of shrimp, fish, and vegetable tempura and all-you-can-eat mentaiko (spicy cod roe). The Seasonal Tempura Bowl (980 JPY (incl. tax)) with tempura on top of rice drizzled with a sweet and savory soy-based sauce is also a favorite of visitors. There is also the option of having tempura with a little something to drink if you order the Choinomi Set (700 JPY (incl. tax)).
Wanaka Kuromonichiba Shop
Wanaka is a shop for the Osaka specialty, takoyaki (ball-shaped savory pancake with octopus) that is so popular it always has long lines of customers. It will cost you 450 JPY (incl. tax) for an order of eight takoyaki, which are crunchy on the outside, soft and melty on the inside, and full of great flavors of dashi stock. These outstanding takoyaki are made by skilled takoyaki chefs on copper grills that have great heat conduction, with a batter based on thorough research down to the characteristics of flour that change by season. There are always crowds of people lined up for the outstanding flavors of this shop's takoyaki. While there is an eat-in space, takoyaki are great to take away and enjoy while strolling around.
Iseya Main Store
This is a store that has been selling tsukemono (Japanese pickles) in Kuromon Market for over 120 years, making it one of the oldest establishments among the approximately 140 shops in the market. The pickles, which are sold in barrels, are all made by hand. They are pickled for sale on the same day to ensure freshness, so many are sold out by the evening. There are some that can be sampled, so if there are any that pique your interest, ask for a tasting.
Kuromon Hamatou Kuromon Store
This is a restaurant that has been serving cuisine using fugu (pufferfish) for 90 years. The fugu is procured from Amakusa in Kumamoto from spring to fall, and from a torafugu ( Japanese pufferfish) farm in Awaji Island in the winter, so that it can be served year round. The Tessa (torafugu sashimi) (2,750 JPY (incl. tax)) made with the highest quality fugu is lean and has outstanding texture. The homemade ponzu (soy sauce-like sauce with citrus) sauce enhances the flavors. The recommendation is to get the course meal (5,500 JPY (incl. tax) and up) that includes the tessa, tecchiri (fugu hot pot), deep-fried fugu, and other items (reservations required by 11:00 am of the same day at the latest).
There are also many shops to to explore at Kuromon Market, such as drug stores and stores selling snacks, delicacies, dried vegetables, and seafood. There are also greengrocers that sell fresh-squeezed juices. Here are some popular shops that are great for gifts and souvenirs.
DAISO Kuromon Market Store
DAISO is a 100-yen shop where you can buy everything from daily necessities, convenience items, food, and interior decoration goods for 100 JPY (excl. tax) each. With so many products that are hard to believe are just 100 JPY, you are sure to be amazed by the good deals.
*The image is for illustrative purposes only.
Yoshiya Department Candy Store Kuromon Market Branch
This is a discount store for snacks and candies, where children and adults alike are sure to be excited by the discounted items that are neatly stacked up. The snacks on sale are all items that are popular products by major snack manufacturers, chosen based on thorough market research. Products are procured directly from approximately 160 manufacturers. The prices are so good, visitors have to be careful not to buy too much!
Relax in the Rest Area
If you get tired walking around, you can take a break at the Koromon Market Information Center, which doubles as a free rest area. It is an area where you can enjoy eating items you've picked up at the shops, and there are toilet facilities as well. There are always staff who speak English and Chinese who can help you with information about Kuromon Market. You can also leave your baggage there or have items sent to your hotel. In addition, there is a money-changing machine and free Wi-Fi.
Enjoy the Events at Kuromon Market
There are also events held at irregular intervals at Kuromon Market. Some events that have been held in the past include one featuring the world's largest taiyaki (fish-shaped pancake filled with sweet red bean paste) as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records, a maguro dissection show, and a lottery with fantastic awards. The events are announced on the official website, so be sure to participate if the timing is right.
It is fun to see the wide selection of food at the market, but keep in mind that it is not appropriate to touch the fish or fruits on display. Littering is also a no-no. As long as you are considerate of the etiquette, there is plenty to enjoy at Kuromon Market!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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