We refer to Osaka as the “Tenka no Daidokoro” which directly translates to the “Nations Kitchen.” With such a dazzling title and reputation, there is no doubt for finding extremely delicious foods in Osaka. What puts Osaka’s food above others is a dedication to deep, rich, and flavorful foods that touch the soul. It may sound cheesy but the second you try a dish you’ll easily agree. An especially famous dish is Takoyaki or fried ball-shaped octopus. Osaka prides itself to be the birthplace of this heavenly treat. However, it can be challenging for those who have religion based dietary restrictions when exploring the food scene of Osaka. If someone tells you that you can’t leave Osaka without trying takoyaki you’re also probably asking Where’s Halal Takoyaki in Osaka at then?
Until 2010, it could be difficult to find Halal takoyaki and other foods in Osaka. Then, a few eateries opened with “Halal” or “Muslim friendly” menus and sometimes even more arrangements, such as a prayer room. According to the Nishi Nippon Halal Association, there are about 70,000 to 120,000 Muslims living throughout Japan and the amount of visitors on vacation surmount this number. Furthermore, this fact highlights the growing need for even more Halal restaurants in Japan.
Not to worry, though. Halal restaurants are becoming increasingly common sights in Japan! Just like any other visitor, you deserve that good halal takoyaki that will make you fall in love with Osaka. Additionally, we're here to make your life just a tad bit easier. You’ll have only stress-free dining experiences and more time to take in the other wonderful things the city has to offer. Let’s take a deep dive into the halal takoyaki scene in Osaka!
WHAT MAKES FOOD HALAL?
The word tako means octopus and yaki means to fry or to burn in Japanese. In the original recipe, takoyaki is made from wheat flour and mixed with dashi (a sauce made from boiling kelp and bonito, a fish). Traditional takoyaki is filled with pieces of octopus, pickled ginger, green onions, and katsuobushi, which are dried fish flakes. Not exactly, halal-friendly. Nevertheless, there are restaurants here in Osaka that cater to people of Islamic faith.
Certified Halal Food criteria are very strict: pork and meat must have been processed according to Islamic law. Restaurants cannot serve alcohol as well in the premises. Some seasonings that cannot be used by the Koran, such as katsuo bushi are used in the recipe for Osaka takoyaki. Therefore here might use bonito dashi or mirin sauce to make Halal takoyaki. In the original recipe, we are to add soy sauce into bonito “dashi” (fish flakes) to make the dough. It can, therefore, be considered, as not fully Halal, if one looks at it in a strict manner.
Usually, people buy takoyaki from food stalls, but for Halal takoyaki in Osaka, it is best to head towards one of the Halal or Muslim-friendly restaurants. However, we must note that these restaurants that we are discussing in this article do not have recognition by the Nippon Halal Association, as they serve alcohol in the same premises. Nonetheless, they still serve halal and Muslim friendly menus for those who are comfortable.
In 2016, Matsuri restaurant opened. This launch made the headline of the English newspaper Japan Times because of their commitment to Muslim-friendly Japanese cuisine. One of their most popular dishes from the whole Muslim-friendly menu is definitely the halal takoyaki!
All the cooking ingredients are fresh and the restaurant Matsuri does not use frozen ingredients for its halal takoyaki. However, be mindful that sauces and the mayonnaise to use for seasoning takoyaki may not be halal, so when you visit this place ask the staff not to bring any sauces. Matsuri also offers a fantastic “samurai ramen” which is free of animal products. This is great for customers not wanting takoyaki and/ or vegetarians, no matter what religion.
The greatest experience though, in my opinion, is that it is possible to make your own takoyaki for 734 yen! This is where you get to be both chef and customer! Takoyaki is easy to make, with simple steps for cooking the batter in special tins and you get to customize each one. Since Osaka is so famous for takoyaki, it is worth paying a little extra to experience this fun activity! Overall, the budget for a delicious takoyaki meal can go from 600 to 3000 yen.
On top of this, there is a prayer room available too. The prayer room has a mat and a Qibla compass. Matsuri truly is a dedicated eatery that aims to provide the most comfortable and easy dining experience for Muslim customers. Many customers that eat at Matsuri are visiting from Indonesia, Malaysia, or Singapore. This is by far the most popular among Muslim travelers or expats and it was the first to launch this concept in Japan! Even if you don’t specifically eat halal, you won’t be disappointed by these mouth watering menu options!
Matsuri is located at 3 Chome-27-17 Yoshino, Fukushima Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 553-0006. The lunch hours are 11 am to 2pm and the dinner hours are 5pm to 9pm. Matsuri closes on Sundays. The restaurant is located in Fukushima, which is close to Noda Hanshin Station (1 minute!) on the subway line Sennichimae. For more information you can call them at 06-6940-6633.
Creo-Ru Takoyaki is our top 2nd place to try Halal Takoyaki in Osaka. Conveniently located near the Dotonbori river and in the heart of Namba, Creo-Ru Takoyaki is a true favorite for all food lovers. Even better, the atmosphere is just enchanting. Views of the Dotonbori canal and boats along with the food makes lunch or dinner even more breathtaking. It’s a takoyaki restaurant that’s both convenient and delicious! The restaurant is part of a chain, available all over Japan.
What makes Creo-Ru so special is their mission to simply make the most delicious and high quality takoyaki. You will not be disappointed at all, and will likely re-visit if you choose to come back to Osaka again in the future. Creo-Ru also makes a stellar okonomiyaki which, alongside takoyaki, make for an unforgettable Osaka dining experience. Adventurous eaters, this one’s for your bucket list!
Similar to Matsuri, Creo-Ru is not certified officially Halal either but they do have a Muslim-friendly menu and many customers are travelers from Indonesia and Malaysia. Employees who work there will ensure customers that no alcoholic type sauces (such as Mirin) will be used in the restaurant. On the other hand, this restaurant does serve alcoholic drinks, so it is always a good idea to inform the members of your party before visiting Creo-ru. The menu with takoyaki ranges from 1000 to 2000 yen.
Creo-Ru is located at 1-6-4, Dotonbori, Chuo, Osaka 542-0071 Osaka Prefecture. Business hours are 11am to 11:15pm. Creo-Ru is open every single day of the week. For more information you can call them at 06-6212-9195.
If one does not want to sit down at a proper restaurant, to taste Halal takoyaki, there are many food stalls in Osaka that only serve Takoyaki with Octopus inside. As long as you can ask for the ingredients used in the sauce, or ask for the stand owner not to add any sauce, you will be satisfied with this Muslim-friendly option. Some food stalls will even have clear labeling on whether their products are halal or not. It is a fun option to share the experience with your friends, in particular during spring and autumn. You can stroll around the numerous Osaka lanes while tasting the local delicacy.
Food stalls are another part of Osaka culinary culture you do not want to miss out on! Just be sure to exercise a bit of caution and don’t be shy when asking questions! Japanese vendors are almost always super accommodating and your positive experience is very important to them. Plus street takoyaki in front of the beautiful city backdrop? Sometimes that beats any restaurant.
OTHER GREAT HALAL FOOD OPTIONS IN OSAKA
Officially Halal certified and ready to eat right as you land. Sojibo restaurant is located at Kansai International airport and specializes in soba. Soba is not only delicious but it’s a pretty healthy Japanese food option too! You’ll be properly fueled whether you’ve just arrived or are about to leave Japan!
This is a stellar ramen restaurant that is officially Halal certified by the Japan Halal Foundation. Ayam-ya Namba has locations in Tokyo, Kyoto and even Malaysia! Ramen is a fan favorite everywhere, so be sure to try authentic Japanese ramen while visiting! Plus, they’ve got a prayer room too!
Ayam-ya Namba is located at 1-10-7, Nipponbashi Higashi, Naniwa-ku Osaka-shi, Osaka 556-0006. Lunch hours are 11:30am to 2:30pm. Dinner hours are 6pm to 9:30pm. Ayam-ya Namba is closed on Tuesdays.
HAFEZ HALAL RESTAURANT:
A Halal restaurant in Osaka serving Indian, Turkish and Persion cuisine. High quality food with halal guarantee. Food is also very authentic and great if you need a break from Japanese food during your trip!
Hafez Halal Restaurant is located at 1 Chome-2-14 Kitahorie, Nishi Ward, Osaka, 550-0014, Japan. Business hours are 11am to 10pm. Hafez Halal is open every single day of the week. May be closed on select special holidays. For more information you can call them at 06-6538-8830.
When a visitor asks the Nishi Nippon Halal association, or the Halal Media website, for a specific address with Halal Takoyaki in Osaka, the answer is: they do not exist yet. Yes, it is true that no “Certified Guaranty Halal Takoyaki” places currently operate in Osaka. However, there are places that have made special arrangements for “Muslim-friendly” spaces and menus. They cater for tourists & expats from Indonesia, Malaysia and many other Muslim countries by trying to to avoid forbidden seasonings and offering other accommodations.
While the amount of Muslim visitors increasing year by year, we see more and more restaurants extending a warm welcome with their halal menus. This presents the start of a changing and more religious-friendly Japan. The trend for Certified Halal Restaurants is growing and Osaka also offers many other options for Muslims. For example Halal sushi, Halal Yakiniku places, and more.
As in any other economies, if there is a growing demand, there is bound to be more halal-friendly places for takoyaki and other delicacies in the future to supply your needs. Everyone deserves to experience wonderful food when they travel and you are no exception! People of different faiths are welcome to Osaka as there are many options for you here! For more halal dining options in Osaka, check out the Halal Gourmet Japan website.