When you are in Osaka, one of the places tourists like to visit is Kuromon Market, the oldest food market which has been around for over 170 years. Kuromon Market is located very near to Denden Town, Nipponbashi and Dotonbori, within walking distance. Hence you can do all together in half a day.
Some background of Kuromon Market, it is a wholesales food market which offers fresh ingredients for restaurants so chefs come here to pick up the fresh ingredients. I am not sure Kuromon market are still selling their bulk ingredient to chefs these days. What I see were tourists and yes, only tourists around the world flooding this place.
Having said that, I still very much love Kuromon Market as it reminds me of the time when I was studying in Japan and every weekend I have to visit the local neighborhood market which looks like this.
Let’s explore the top food to try in Kuromon Market!
Kinoko Yaki – Grilled Mushrooms 300yen / USD 2.70
The first thing we tried was Kinokoyaki. There was brown sauce applied on top of the mushroom and it was very salty. Maybe the young man was not very happy with me that’s why he added more brown sauce. Do remember to ask the staff not to apply so much sauce on top of your mushroom.
Grilled Scallop 400yen/USD3.55 & Imitation Crab Meat 100Yen/USD 0.90
Grilled Scallop is one of the highly recommended street food in Kuromon Market.
Please choose a fresh scallop that is still unopened, make sure the chef open it in front of you and take it to the grill. Do not purchase the scallop that is already been opened and been bbq in the grill for hours.
The crab stick I tried was fake crab stick, it made from starch and white fish called surimi. It purposely made to shape like a snow crab meat.
- Stars for grilled scallop: 4/5 – Must try
- Stars for Imitation Crab Meat: 3.5/5
Tako Tamago or Octopus Egg 100yen-250yen (USD 0.90-2.20)
The baby octopus sells at different prices based on their size.
This would be one of the most interesting street food you may want to try in Kuromon. There is a little surprise when you bite the baby octopus head, it has a little quail egg stuffed into the head of the grilled octopus.
Star: 4/5 – Must try as it has a little surprise inside!
Other fresh seafood :
“Uni”Sea Urchin 1800-2000yen (USD 16.00 – 17.80)
Some sea urchin and oyster are still in the shells. Due to the influx of Chinese tourists in Japan, many of the sign was written in Chinese.
Huge cockles which can slice into sashimi.
Oysters x2 for 500yen /USD 4.40
Unagi or grilled eel
Kuromom Market Maguro/Tuna
Another thing worth trying is the Maguro/tuna sashimi. Over here in Kuromon Market, a big chunk of sashimi would be given to you generously. The look does not look appealing when the sashimi was cut into big chunk but it certainly worth the value.
Emperor Crab Legs 1pcs 1,500 yen (USD 13.30)
Tell them you need “Ippon” mean 1 pcs then the chef will take out one leg and put them on the grill. If you want in bulk 4pcs of legs, the cost is 5,000yen/USD 44.32
The crab species is called Emperor Crab, anything related to the word “Emperor” means huge.
This is how it look like, taste really juicy and with natural crab flavor. You can dip with the ponzu sauce provided.
Star : 4.5/5
Soya Bean Milk 120-200yen (USD 1.10-1.80)
One of the popular items sold in Kuromon Furusato No Kaori is soya bean milk. It tasted similar to what we have in Singapore, except richer, smoother and less sugar. Available in cold and warm. Furusato No Kaori translates as “the fragrance of hometown”. Pretty healthy.
Oden – One Pot Dish 100-200yen /USD 0.90 – 1.80
I love oden and usually eat them in the convenient stall, 7 Eleven, Lawson or Family Mart. But over here in Kuromon market, you get to taste oden too. The pot usually consists of several ingredients such as tofu, boiled eggs, daikon/radish, konyaku – the rubber dish and fish cakes all boiled in the special dashi soup.
We picked “chikuwa” which is one of our favorite Oden’s choice.
Dango & Mochi
Abekawa Kinako Mochi 160yen USD 1.40
We love Abekawa kinako mochi as it is soft and the texture is like silk and it melts in your mouth.
Abekawa Kinako Mochi is usually eaten with a kuromitsu syrup, brownish sauce.
Daifuku is also a type of mochi which stuffed with sweet filling, can have various type of filling but most common one would be “anko”/red bean.
Wanaka Takoyaki 400-500yen /USD 3.55-4.40
Osaka street food favorite is takoyaki/Octopus balls. We tasted Wanaka Takoyaki in Kuromon Market but I would rather suggest you try Takoyaki at Dotonbori as there are several stalls and more options to choose from. To me, Dotonbori is a takoyaki paradise.
You can eat in and free water is provided.
UCC Cafe Plaza
Finally, I end my day in UCC Cafe and meeting up with my Japanese friend, Hisako san. She is my ex-colleague in Sydney and now she is based in Osaka. We have a good chat in UCC Cafe. It was great to catch up with her again after so many years.
Final thoughts :
Due to the big Typhoon Jebi which hit Osaka on Sept 4, 2018, Kuromon Market has far fewer tourists. That Typhoon Jebi hit just a month ago. I was quite shocked at how quiet Kuromon Market was as I expected more crowds.
Do try out some of the local street food especially the fresh seafood, scallops, emperor crabs and oysters and don’t forget to try the tako tamago/octopus egg. For me, my favorite from the list would be emperor crab and tamago octopus. Abekawa Kinako Mochi made a good dessert too for this street food tour in Kuromon Market.