Okonomiyaki, Osaka style

You didn’t know you wanted a pancake made out of cabbage, shrimps, bacon and barbecue sauce. Until now.

Hello Oko ! Do you know Okonomiyaki ? Literally “what you like, grilled” says Wikipedia, this dish is a staple of Japanese cuisine. Forget about sushi, this is Osakas’s version of this kind of giant pancake, that mixes vegetables, fish and meat. It’s beautiful, it tastes fantastic and it’s so easy to do. You have to try it !


The day it all started

I discovered Okonomiyaki when I arrived in Paris 7 years ago. A friend of mine told me to go to a small restaurant (Happa Tei for those you want to know) specializing in Japanese street food. The menu was in Japanese, so I stuck with his advice to try the Okonomiyaki. And this was my face when I got to see the dish :

What’s fun with this recipe is that it looks like it’s alive. In fact, the moving topping here is made out of dried bonito flakes. Okonomiyaki is traditionally served on a small hot cast iron plate – if it’s not made in front of you – and the residual heat makes these small flakes dance like it’s coming directly from hell 🔥

At first glance, this recipe may seem fishy (no pun indented) : cabbage, shrimp, fish, bacon and barbecue sauce… But I can guarantee you, everyone who tried it just loved it. Weirdly enough, it really suits our western tastes.


It was only much later – through Youtuber’s “Alex French Guy Cooking” – that I discovered that Okonomiyaki was actually so simple to make. And the taste is 100% similar as the one I ate in that restaurant. Amen 🙌

Bonus : this recipe is a simplified version of the one you’ll find in Osaka, Japan. It’s probably one of the most known. However, in Hiroshima, the pancake is actually made out of fried noodles. Could it be any weirder ?


Where can I find the ingredients ?

This recipe requires some very specific products. I am aware that it can be hard to find some of the ingredients especially if you don’t live in a big city. Here are some solutions :

  • Online : you’ll probably find many online Japanese stores that’ll sell every ingredient listed here. These are very common ingredients in Japan.
  • In Paris (or online in France) : there’s a nice japanese grocery called Kioko. It’ll sell you everything, but please note that prices can be a bit steep.
  • Create your own recipe : Okonomi means “whatever you like”, remember ? What’s amazing with this recipe is that you can create your own easily. Just keep the flour/egg/liquid base, and add any vegetable, meat or seafood you like !

Time to stop talking, go get your japanese ingredients et let’s start this Oko party ! 💁‍♂️

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