Gastrophoria is a scaldingly hot Okonomiyaki fresh from the stove at Foodstory.
I haven’t had many run-ins with this specialty pancake from Osaka due to geography and a lack of knowledge. The only Okonomiyaki I’ve had was a sad, frumpy, specimen bloated with too much flour from a stand in New York years back. Since then, I’ve steered clear of Okonomiyakis.
Fortunately, Yoko Isassi from Foodstory changed my perception. Housed in the historical Rowan building at the Financial District in downtown, Yoko teaches hands-on cooking classes on Japanese cuisine—from ramen making to sweets and everything in between.
The class I attended was on Okonomiyaki, an Osaka favorite that literally means “as you like.” Under Yoko’s tutelage, we got to transform the lowly cabbage into a decadent pancake, much like how the fairy godmother got Cinderella ball-ready.
Each attendee was equipped with cooking utensils and tasks so the class collaborates on creating the dish together. From chopping the cabbage, deveining the shrimp, mixing the batter to frying each cabbage cake, everyone got to create their portion the way they preferred—all under the calm guidance of Yoko. Being a fan of pork, I loaded mine up with pork belly… also shrimp, mochi and cheese—I couldn’t help myself!
After a much-too-long wait pan frying the Okonomiyaki, we lacquered on our pancakes with a sweet and savory sauce, Kewpie mayo, seaweed and bonito flakes that seems to dance along with the steam.
The best part of the class was the eating portion. Paired with a simple but flavorful miso soup with garden vegetables and an homemade orange jello with castella cake, it was a satisfying meal. Thank you Yoko for showing me the light!
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