Find out where Haruka Hokune, head sushi chef of Sushi Azabu in Kuala Lumpur, eats in the historic Japanese city

In Japan's southern central Kansai region of Honshu lies Osaka, the lively and historic hub full of beautiful sights and even better eat. From takoyaki (ball-shaped snack with octopus) and okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancakes) to kushikatsu (deep-fried meat and vegetables) and yakiniku, Osaka's streets teems with gastronomic delights.

An Akashi native, Haruka Hokune is the only female sushi chef in Malaysia who is also one of the featured chefs at the highly anticipated Off Menu Kuala Lumpur 2022 in November. Here are her food recommendations in Osaka.

See also: Off Menu Kuala Lumpur 2022: Feed Your Curiosity at Tatler Dining's Annual Food Festival

Kick off your day at Café Tokiona

"This cosy and cute eatery is the perfect spot to pick up your caffeine needs and breakfast bites to fuel your morning. The retro interiors and vintage decor transport you back in time from the moment you step into the space. 

Do not miss its specialties: Turkish rice and Japanese curry rice. The menu also includes comforting dishes and bites that are also great for a brunch such as the Neapolitan pasta as well as the rum and raisin cookie sandwich."

Café Tokiona | 1 Chome-12-19 Tenjinbashi, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0041, Japan | +81 6 6355 1117 | Thursday-Tuesday, 7am-6pm

See also: A Food Lover’s Guide to Hakuba, Japan

Visit the iconic Shinsaibashi district for a taste of Osaka

"When night falls, the Shinsaibashi district is lit up in a rainbow's worth of neon lights, signalling shoppers and pedestrians to enter one of the eateries that line the street. Adjacent to the well-known Dōtonbori area, Shinsaibashi is a hotspot for locals and tourists alike, especially for its many restaurants and street food stalls. 

Must-visit restaurants include Kinryu Ramen (pictured above), Kaniyoshi for its crab and blowfish specialities, Danro for top-notch yakiniku, and Hokkyokusei Shinsaibashi, the original omurice store."

Shinsaibashi | Chūō-ku ward, Osaka, 542-0085 

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For a taste of Osakan street food, visit Takoyaki Kukuru

"When you walk down Dōtonbori, it's impossible to ignore the tempting aromas of fresh takoyaki sizzling away in the specially moulded pans at Takoyaki Kukuru. A treat for all ages, takoyaki is made out of a wheat flour-based batter and sprinkled with bits of octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion. 

Unmissable thanks to the octopus sculpture on its facade, Takoyaki Kukuru is the epicentre of takoyaki in Japan. World-famous and revered by many, every box is made fresh to order."

Takoyaki Kukuru | 1 Chome−10−5, Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071 | +81 6 6212 7381 | Monday-Friday, 11am-9pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10:30am

See also: 5 Creative New Tokyo Restaurants To Dine In

Splurge at Hajime

"Known for its intricate and artful plating, Hajime is a three Michelin-starred restaurant that turns your meal into a storytelling experience through its creations. Owner-chef Hajime Yoneda gets his inspiration from nature and the four seasons. 

Its signature dish chikyu (pictured above) is Yoneda's interpretation of the mountains and the ocean, presented with an intricacy not many can achieve in this world."

Hajime | 1-9-11-1F, Edobori, Nishi-ku, Osaka, 550-0002, Japan | +81 6 6447 6688 | Monday-Sunday, 5:30pm-8:30pm

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For after-hours drinks, head to Bar Adee

"Located in the upscale Intercontinental Osaka, Bar Adee provides patrons not only with top class tipples, but also unparalleled views of the Osaka skyline thanks to its 4.8m high windows. Known as a destination for gin lovers, Adee stocks a large assortment of the juniper berry liquor from around the world.

While there, you must not miss its signature cocktail, the GT+1, which you get to build yourself. You'll choose from one of the bar's 70 labels of gin to combine with your favourite tonic and a seasonal aromatic."

Bar Adee | 3-60 Ofuka-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, 530-0011 | +81 6 6374 5700 | Monday-Friday, 5pm-11pm; Saturday, Sunday & public holidays, 2pm-11pm

See also: 7 Cocktails to Order to Show You’re in the Know

Don't leave Osaka without a Japanese knife from Tower Knives Osaka

"Japan is known for its world-class knives, frequently seen stacked on racks behind sushi counters at omakase restaurants and even in home kitchens. Tower Knives Osaka is the place to get one of these coveted kitchen tools, made for precise slicing and dicing. 

All the knives are crafted in Japan and if you need some guidance, the staff is well-equipped to assist you in choosing the best fit for your needs and budget."

Tower Knives Osaka | 1-4-7, Ebisuhigashi, Naniwaku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, 556-0002 | +81 6 4301 7860 | Monday-Sunday, 10am-6pm

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