So we're now on day 3. It was a rainy day and started out quite late. We headed straight to Kuromon Ichiba Market (黑門市場) for brunch. The market is a covered street with several side streets; it's quite easy to lose your way in the crowds. But we tried to explore every nook and corner before we decided on what to eat. The first thing we decided to eat was tempura at a stall called Nisshindo (日進堂).
|Lining up to buy tempura at Nisshindo, Kuromon Ichiba|
|Different kinds of tempura to choose from|
The tempura (天ぷら) was pre-fried and displayed on a rack at the front of the stall. They had a variety to choose from which they sold by piece somewhere around 100-150 yen. A couple were more expensive though, like the ebi (shrimp) which was 300 yen and the anago (conger eel) which was 600 yen. I think we bought an ebi, chikuwa (fish cake shaped like a tube), fish, and kabocha (winter squash) tempura to share. They refried a couple to heat it up, and gave us some straight from the rack. It was a bit greasy but yummy. Just an appetizer for what was still to come.
It was a cold day and the boiling hot oden at Ishibashi Shokuhin (石橋食品) was calling to us, so that's what we tried next. Oden is a lot of different ingredients boiled together in a light soy-flavored dashi broth until they absorb all the flavors. You pick which ingredients you want by piece. Most cost 100 yen except one which was 140 yen. We chose aburaage (fried tofu), daikon raddish, konnyaku (konjac), and satsuma-age (fried fish cake). They cut it up into bite-sized pieces for you and you eat it with a stick.
|It was difficult to get a clear shot of the oden shop with all the people passing by.|
|Can you see how hot the oden is?|
We didn't even attempt to take a picture of the oden we bought. Balancing a paper plate filled with piping hot food with broth is dangerous business. A lady who bought oden before us spilled the boiling hot liquid on herself while she was eating. Ouch!
And then it was time for the most important part of coming to Kuromon Ichiba: sushi! There were numerous sushi shops to choose from, and we settled for Kuromon Nakagawa (黑門中川) because they had affordable, fresh-looking sushi and also because there seemed to be a lot of people eating there. We chose an assorted set so we could try different kinds of sushi. It cost 2,500 yen. I found that I like the salmon roe and scallop sushi - that was the first time I'd tried both. Princeton went crazy over the fatty tuna (ootoro) sushi, raving that it "melts in your mouth". :-D
|Kuromon Nakagawa makes fresh sushi packs right there.|
|Assorted sushi at Kuromon Nakagawa, cost: 2,500 yen|
|Wanted to get one of each pack too (salmon, shrimp, scallop sushi) but that would've been too much. Hehe.|
We walked around some more and found a fresh soymilk shop manned by a pleasant old man. It was the freshest, creamiest tasting soymilk we'd ever had. Yum!
|I think he makes the soymilk and other soy products like tofu right there in the shop.|
Our stomachs full, we proceeded to the nearby Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shotengai (千日前道具屋筋商店街) where all sorts of cooking equipment and eating utensils can be found. I fell in love with the cat-designed bowls and cups! Unfortunately, they're difficult to put in your suitcase so I contented myself with just snapping a picture. We did buy those melanine chopsticks that you find in some Japanese restaurants - Princeton's are black and mine are red. Hehe.
|Would you believe the one photo I took of the cute cat-designed bowls and cups got corrupted?! Waaah!|
We explored Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shotengai then walked on to Shinsekai. Along the way, we explored what I think was Ebisubashi Shopping Street. It was nighttime when we arrived at our dinner destination Kushikatsu Daruma Tsutenkaku (串かつだるま). I'd read that this place usually has a long queue so we were happy to see that the line wasn't bad at all.
|We waited until the short queue of people went in so we could take a clear shot of Kushikatsu Daruma Tsutenkaku.|
|This is what you see upon entering Kushikatsu Daruma Tsutenkaku. You sit on a counter around the kitchen.|
"English menu wo arimasu ka?" I asked one of the waiters. (Do you have an English menu?) To which he promptly pulled out an English menu and spoke to us in perfect English! We ordered the Combo Tsutenkaku which is composed of 15 assorted pieces of kushikatsu (breaded deep-fried skewers of meat, vegetables, seafood, even cheese) and a complimentary doteyaki (beef sinew with konnyaku stewed using miso, sweet sake, and sugar). Price = 2,160 yen. It was delivered to us straight from the fryer.
|Complimentary doteyaki at Kushikatsu Daruma Tsutenkaku|
|The first 13 pieces of kushikatsu; the remaining two were delivered later.|
The waiter told us exactly what each piece was when she put the pan in front of us, but we forgot the moment she turned her back. We weren't the only ones, however, as we heard some of the other diners expressing the same thing. Hehe.
You dip the skewer in the sauce which is in the rectangular metal bowl behind the bowl of cabbage. No double dipping! It's a shared pot of sauce. If you want more sauce, you can use the raw cabbage to scoop it up from the bowl.
A leisurely stroll to the iconic Tsutenkaku Tower after dinner was the perfect nightcap. The lights in Shinsekai were beautiful.
|Tsutenkaku Tower, and Shinsekai in general, comes alive at night when all the lights come on.|
On the way home, we decided to drop by Osaka Takashimaya Department Store to check out their basement food hall. On the way out, we found Japan's famous Horai meat buns! We bought a couple for breakfast and walked on home.
|Horai meat buns for breakfast the next day.|