Osaka is one of the gourmet capitals of Japan where worldly famous dishes like takoyaki or okonomiyaki originated. But that doesn’t even touch the deep gastronomic scene of Osaka, as Japan’s second biggest city has a full course of dishes yet to be discovered by the world. One of them that is taking the whole nation by storm, is the craze for organs.

Horumon: How it all started

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Some of the things the Japanese eat might seem shocking to those who are not accustomed to it. Osaka’s horumon is clearly on that list.
“Horumon” is a general term for any inner organ of an animal, usually that of cows and pigs. This includes the ‘not-so-bizarre’ organs like liver, intestines, heart, to the very bizarre ones like ligaments, bone marrows, and so on.
Although the exact origin is unclear, urban legend says that it started from Korean barbecue restaurants in Osaka which started serving these parts along with normal meat. The term “horumon” is said to have been derived from the Osakan slang that means ‘things that are thrown away’ from the fact that most restaurants did not make use of these parts despite it being delicious.

From Street Food to a National Boom

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As the horumon started gaining popularity within the Korean barbecue restaurants, some started to open restaurants specialized in horumon. It had been a somewhat eccentric delicacy of Osaka, a street food if you will, until the early 2000s when horumon restaurants started to open in Tokyo.
Since then, horumon has become one of the nation’s favorite dining options, as it is cheaper and healthier than normal yakiniku, and taste brilliant.

How it is Eaten

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There are a couple of ways to eat horumon. The first and probably the most famous one is by grilling it like yakiniku.
Another popular way to enjoy a horumon is in a hot pot. “Horumon-nabe” or “motsu-nabe”, is a very popular meal eaten typically during winter when people craze for a hot meal to keep them warm. A horumon-nabe is usually served with simple ingredients like cabbage, bean sprouts, and leek with a special soup taken from meat bones and horumon. This delicacy is especially popular amongst women because there is a lot of collagen in the intestines, and it is a great way to consume a lot of it along with many veggies.

When you are here in Japan, make sure to enjoy the amazing horumon!