Tsuruhashi is where Ikuno Korea Town, the biggest Korean food market in Japan, is located and known as the battle ground between Yakiniku (Korean BBQ) restaurants. Here are some of the most popular Yakiniku places in the area.
Established in 1948, Tsuruichi is well known as the origin of Tsuke-dare, the dipping sauce for yakiniku. The charcoal-grilled meat soaked in the mild sauce that hasn't changed since the restaurent's opening is impeccably delicious. They use non-smoking roasters, so you don't have to worry about your clothes smelling like smoked food for the rest of the day. The Tsuruichi set (5,940 JPY) is highly recommended. It is a popular combo meal of red meat, salt tongue, and some vegetables and can be shared between 2 to 3 people. They also have other popular dishes that are available for more affordable prices such as Honetsuki Kalbi (Short Rib) (1,750 JPY (excl. tax)) and Ishiyaki Bibimbab (960 JPY (excl. tax)).
*English menu available
Meigetsu is a place where you can enjoy great Yakiniku from lunch hours. Their lunch hours are from 11:30 am - 5:00 pm, so you can have their lunch menu for your late lunch or early dinner. The recommended is their "Kuroge wagyu (Japanese Black beef) lunch", which uses the beef carefully selected by the owner who has been in the industry for over 40 years. It is available from just 1,280 JPY, which is pretty cheap for the amount of meat they offer. You can also try their "Enkai course lunch" which offers various dishes with quality meats at a good price. The course consists of 10 dishes including dessert and is available at 3,500 JPY (excl. tax). (Note that it is only available before 5 pm and you have to be a group of more than 4 people, and requires reservation made at least one day prior to your visit to the restaurant). The place is popular for the quality of meat they offer that stands out from the other Yakiniku restaurants in the area.
"Enkai course lunch"
3. Ogawatei Torachan
Ogawatei Torachan is less-known but a great restaurant located in a street filled with famous restaurants. The beef they offer, such as Iga and Yamagata beef, is mainly heifers and selected by the owner who knows everything about brand beef. The recommended is "Maboroshi-no Harami (very rare skirt meat)" (3,200 JPY(incl. tax)). It uses Yamagata beef which is extremely difficult to find outside Yamagata, the producing area of this beef. Purchased through the owner's strong personal connection, the quality of the beef is matched by few in the country, and its exquisite softness and deeply rich sweetness will bring anyone the ultimate satisfaction. They also use special sun-dried salt made by one of the best salt makers in Japan. It is a place for high quality brand beef.
4. Ajiyoshi Main branch
Ajiyoshi is one of the most famous Yakiniku places in the area. They have a strict policy for using only the best Japanese Black beef in the market, and when they decided that the beef available in the market for the day wasn't good enough, they would not make any offer at their store. The unparalleled quality of the beef they offer is only made possible by this uncompromised determination of theirs to provide only the best. The recommended is "Shio Negi Ribeye (Salt Onion Rib Sirloin)" (1,250 JPY (excl. tax)) (Note that it is not on the usual menu, and you have to ask the chief to order). The "proper" way of eating this is to only grill the one side of it, so you can really enjoy the rich taste of this selected sirloin. One more thing that cannot be missed is their "Reimen (Korean style cold noodle)", small size available at 780 JPY (excl. tax).
5. Hakuundai - Tsuruhashi station branch
Hakuundai has been popular among the locals since its establishment over 40 years ago. They offer handmade authentic Korean food and Yakiniku with the highest ranked tender meats of Japanese black beef. Their grilled offal is super fresh with rich flavor of the fat and crunchy texture and highly recommended among other things. They have a variety of meat available at reasonable prices such as "Harami (skirt)" (1,100 JPY (incl. tax)), and they are still very enjoyable, soft and flagrant meats. In addition to highly graded meats, you can also enjoy their authentic Korean food such as "Zenshu Ishinabe Bibimpap (Korean style rice heated in a stone bowl)" (1,250 JPY (incl. tax)).
* Chinese speaking staffs available
The moment you get off the train at Tsuruhashi station, the smell of grilled beef will immediately make you crave for Yakiniku. Tsuruhashi is easily accessible as it is only one train station away from Namba station. It is definitely worth a visit.
*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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