551 Nikuman

Osaka in Kansai Japan is famous for many things, such as Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, Hanshin Tigers baseball team, fun Kansai dialect, previously mentioned only oblong ferris wheel in the entire known universe, and others… It is also known for the company 551 Horai (known to Japanese as simply “go go ichi”) which makes nikuman, gyoza, and also ice cream. Chinese food.
This chain of stores is so popular that often I see salary-men on the Shinkansen heading out of Osaka to Tokyo with 551 bags in tote, apparently to give them to loved ones as souvenirs (omiyage). I’m not sure what they are buying, if it is the nikuman (beef inside of a steamed bun shown below on left)… Wow. Meat as a gift is awesome.

When asked to describe 551 Horai, my Japanese friend known as Babie said, and I quote.


I see. Translation. “The Nikuman are freakin delicious.”

(Note: This particular form of the adjective, うまい, has not yet been covered in the JapanNewbie Kansai-ben Lesson series… and probably never will be.)

I may add, you can buy one nikuman for about 200 yen. The price is right.

There is a large 551 restaurant in Namba, out on the Nankai side in downtown. Usually though, you will find 551 being sold in mini-shop (kiosks really) around town. Often in Osaka, as you get off the train, there will be two in the trainsation on the platform, one for each side.

They’re everywhere.

You can order Nikuman from 551 by saying, “Give me 3 551 please.” 「551 3三個!」 This is fun.

I have to admit, the Nikuman are great. And YOU have to admit, that having good eats of real taste can’t be all that bad.

3 cheers for 551! (that’s, go-go-ichi)

– Harvey