Translated by Lester Somera
Have Fun Making And Savoring Halal-Friendly Takoyaki At Matsuri In Osaka!
Written by Osawa Kumi
Matsuri, a restaurant located in Osaka's Nada district, offers a range of halal Japanese dishes, including ramen, okonomiyaki, takoyaki and more. We warmly recommend the services of this restaurant where you'll find friendly staff!
Osaka’s Noda area has a convenient location, easily accessible from anywhere in the Kansai region. There is a Japanese restaurant in Noda, Matsuri, which welcomes many customers from abroad, particularly visitors of the Muslim faith.
We’d like to introduce you to the charms of Matsuri, which has already served more than 7000 Muslim customers after less than a year in operation.
Matsuri is a minute away from the Noda-Hanshin Subway Station, and two or three minutes from the Noda Station on the Hanshin Line. The location is marked by fluttering yellow signs. Let’s find out what secrets lie in wait at this seemingly ordinary Japanese restaurant.
Enter the restaurant and you will soon see the kitchen on the right-hand side. The owner, Mr. Sano, was vigorously boiling ramen noodles when we came in. Next to the kitchen are counter seats and tables. In the back, there are private rooms where you need to take off your shoes.
A Restaurant With Many Muslim Visitors, Thanks to Online Word of Mouth!
We’ll introduce the customers who were at Matsuri that day. First, there was a family of visitors from Indonesia, visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagoya and Osaka over the course of five days. After stopping by Dotonbori, they decided to eat dinner at Matsuri, based on recommendations from friends. They were in the middle of eating takoyaki with plenty of sauce.
This group of Malaysians are in Japan to study Japanese. They developed an interest in the Japanese language from watching Japanese anime such as One Piece and Naruto, which are broadcast in their country in their native tongue.
They like ramen, sushi, udon and sashimi. All devout Muslims, they said, “It’s really hard to find halal-friendly restaurants, but we’ve gotten used to it.” They learned about Matsuri online, and visited for the first time. It seemed as though everyone was able to feel at ease with the menu.
The private rooms have traditional Japanese room fixtures: fusuma sliding doors, tatami and zabuton cushions, so customers can experience the atmosphere of Japanese furniture. Happi coats and fans are also available, so how about taking a photo here? You can wear the happi coats. Next, we’ll introduce more points that make Matsuri so recommended.
Point 1: A Prayer Room!
In the back of the private rooms, a small prayer room is set up.
There is also a mat and a Qibla compass. Mr. Sano said, ”Even if it’s just a minor thing, we do what we can.” His words relayed his kindness and earnest character.
Point 2: A “Samurai” Ramen Offering That Uses No Animal Products
This is “Samurai” ramen, a noodle dish that uses no animal products or alcohol in its preparation. Of course, it’s also extraordinarily delicious! We recommend this to all vegetarian customers, regardless of their religion.
Also popular as a souvenir, a two-person serving is 850 yen (with tax). It also has English instructions, so you can have peace of mind.
Point 3: You Can Make the Takoyaki Yourself!
The most popular item at Matsuri is the takoyaki, which you can cook yourself! (734 yen with tax).
Let’s briefly go over the steps for making takoyaki. First, pour the mixture of flour and water onto the oiled takoyaki hot plate. The trick to making spherical takoyaki is to fill each hole to slightly-overflowing.
Add your ingredients. First, you’ll be putting in finely-minced pieces of octopus and konjac.
Next, put in some tenkasu and green onions. Tenkasu are fried batter crumbs that are the side product of making a batch of tempura.
Once the batter has heated through, use a skewer to shape it into balls. On this day, Ai, an Indonesian exchange student from Java who is working at Matsuri, helped us cook our takoyaki. She says she that she is currently studying the Japanese language, Japanese culture and business communication.
With a hint of embarrassment, the gentle Ai explained to us that in the Indonesian language, her name means “hope” and “daybreak.” Also serving as an interpreter at Matsuri, Ai is a popular employee at the restaurant.
Point 4: You Can Even Buy Souvenirs!
Other than Samurai Ramen, you can also buy Matsuri Sauce as a souvenir. It uses plenty of vegetables and fruits, and sweet sake, seasoning and soy sauce lend depth to the sauce while it maintains a light flavor. It does not feature any pork-derived products or alcohol, so you can feel secure. It costs 350 yen (with tax).
Point 5: The Friendly Owner and Staff!
More than anything else, the restaurant’s greatest appeal lies in the warmth and consideration of Mr. Sano and the staff. They went to great pains to answer our inquiries about sightseeing in the Kansai area. Experience customer service that isn’t according to a script. We really understood why so many people say “I want to come here again!”
At Matsuri, you can enjoy many of the Japanese dishes that visitors to Japan want to sample, made with halal-appropriate ingredients. By all means, pay a visit to Matsuri.
A Present for MATCHA Readers!
If you tell the staff that you read about the restaurant on MATCHA, you can receive a set of original Matsuri chopsticks. Don't forget to mention it!