If you love pancakes, you know they come in all shapes and sizes.
They can be sweet or salty – at the end of the day, it depends on the filling.
Now, okonomiyaki is a completely different type of pancake.
Originating from Japan, the savory dish has a similar preparation process.
But then, there are plenty of additions that can make the difference.
For instance, okonomiyaki could come with cabbage, meat, or seafood.
You can even combine these things together, not to mention the toppings.
Figuring out what to serve with okonomiyaki is quite difficult if you are not familiar with the dish – not impossible, though.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Okonomiyaki?
Lots of Japanese eat okonomiyaki as a meal.
The extras could make it feel quite fulfilling, especially if you opt for meat.
However, despite the heavy ingredients, these pancakes are relatively light.
They work well as a brunch, rather than a dinner.
Bringing in some side dishes will turn a basic pancake into an actual meal.
This is not always the case when you eat alone, but when you expect some guests over.
Having these pancakes on the table by themselves will leave your guests baffled – after all, everyone expects a side.
Fortunately, there are plenty of good options out there.
What to Serve with Okonomiyaki? 7 BEST Side Dishes
Here are some good ideas when not sure what to serve with okonomiyaki.
1. Crunchy Pickles
This is one of the simplest combos in Japanese cuisine when it comes to okonomiyaki.
It will not make your meal feel too heavy, but actually refreshing.
While fulfilling because of the pancake, the meal will feel healthy and light.
Pickles can be anything – cucumbers are the most common choices in Japan.
You can prepare everything yourself – yet, this is a long-term process.
Unless you have homemade pickles around, you can also buy them from the nearest grocery store.
The crunchy and refreshing aroma will work wonders with the pancake.
2. Crunchy French Fries
This is the westernized option when unsure what to serve with okonomiyaki.
Unless you are having dessert, chances are you can bring French fries for pretty much anything – this Kapanese pancake makes no exception either.
French fries take 15 minutes to prepare – more if you peel and cut them yourself instead of using frozen fries.
They are crunchy and crispy – great for the relatively soft pancake.
You do not have to bring in too many spices or condiments – a bit of salt on your fries is more than enough.
3. Garlicky Chicken Thighs
This is the type of side dish that could easily become the main dish in the combo.
Chicken is quite heavy and will make the okonomiyaki look like a side – no problems with that, as the combo is delicious.
Regardless of what you use for the pancake – seafood, meat, or cabbage, it will work well with the chicken thighs.
The texture is not to be overlooked either.
Based on what you choose for the pancake, the chicken can complement or contrast the texture – either way, you have a winning dish that will not disappoint.
4. Garlicky Sauteed Greens
Some people can devour a dozen pancakes within minutes.
For others, the dish may feel a bit too heavy due to what is inside.
Now, if you are not into heavy meals, sauteed greens are excellent as a side dish.
They take less than 20 minutes to prepare, and they bring in a refreshing aroma.
The combo is great for light lunches or dinners.
Plus, despite being sauteed, greens will still maintain a bit of crispiness.
When cooking them, make sure you use some crushed garlic too for even more flavor.
A bit of ginger will also add a tangy profile to your dish.
5. Sweet Orange Salad
This is the type of meal you would get in a fancy restaurant.
After all, mixing sweet and salty sweets is not for everyone – a simple mistake could ruin everything.
However, a slightly sweet salad will not disappoint.
You only need a few ingredients, such as oranges, sweet onions, and a light dressing.
The purpose is not to experience sweetness, but a bit of sourness and the strong aroma of onion.
No matter what your little pancakes are filled with, this side salad is refreshing and will make them feel lighter.
6. Asian Spare Ribs
This combo would turn both the okonomiyaki and the spare ribs into complementary main dishes.
Both of them are quite heavy and deserve the title.
However, this combo is great for a heavy meal – be it lunch or dinner.
It is fulfilling and provides a nice mix that will blend softly in each bite.
The smoky and hearty aroma of beans will complement the neutral pancakes, while the interior will work in this mix regardless of what you choose.
Believe it or not, even seafood will work with spare ribs and the right dressing.
7. Scrambled Eggs
This is simple and straightforward – not the most popular combo in Japan, but definitely a good choice in any western cuisine.
Scrambled eggs are soft with a bit of crust and can complement the okonomiyaki in terms of texture,.
When it comes to the taste, it makes no difference if you use cabbage, seafood, or meat for your pancakes – each of these options will work well with scrambled eggs.
Preparing the side dish should take less than 15 minutes, depending on how many people you cook for.
There is no need to enhance the eggs with any sophisticated spices or condiments – a bit of salt and pepper will do.
Bottom line, deciding what to serve with okonomiyaki is challenging if you are not sure about Japanese cuisine.
Besides, the little pancakes are often considered a meal in Japan – they are most commonly eaten with beer, with a few friends around a table.
They are quite light, though, so a side dish makes a good choice when hungry or looking for a meal – any of the above-mentioned dishes will do.