Okonomiyaki – Japanese Potato Pancakes

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If I were to try to start a business in the United States – this would be it! Of foods I will miss from Japan – it will be ramen and Okonomiyaki. I have wasted so many calories by not discovering this deliciousness until now!  


For lack of a better description, Okonomiyaki is essentially a tailor made do-it-yourself pancake. The wheat-based batter is combined with fillings of your choice. You mix the batter and cook it at your table.It is a bit confusing the first time you try it, so I’ll try to give you the basics for the Western Tokyo chain restaurant Dotonbori.

There is often a line at peak times but when ready to be seated, take off your shoes and put them in a locker. You will sit on the floor.  The Dotonbori’s I’ve been to had English menus but regardless the menu is filled with pictures.

When ready to order press the button on the wall. Also at this time, after they turn on the grill, you prep it with oil using the small container shown below.

You will be brought a bowl with the ingredients for your pancake. Smash and mix them to the desired consistency.  Once ready, pour them on the grill. Flip when ready.
There will be two sauces to try with your pancake. The dark brown is a kind of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup mix. The other is a mayonnaise. The Worcestershire is fine but I definitely prefer the mayonnaise.
I went twice the first week I learned about them. And have been back often in the coming weeks and months.

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