Takoyaki, small octopus balls are very popular dishes in Japan.
- The takoyaki, a specialty of Osaka
- Takoyaki, a dish on the go
- The taste of takoyaki
- The takoyaki museum
- Eating takoyaki at home
The takoyaki, a specialty of Osaka
The takoyaki “たこ焼き” are small balls of soft pasta filled with octopus. Even though nowadays they are found all over Japan, it is still a specialty in Osaka.
It is the city of street food, its streets are full of small shops “yatai” “屋台”. We sell okonomiyaki “焼き鳥”, gyoza “ギョーザ”, yakitori “焼き鳥” or these famous takoyaki!
Takoyaki, a dish on the go
Takoyaki are cheap and tasty, making them the kings of street food. Japanese people are ready to queue for long minutes to get a tray of these delicious dumplings. It is a dish that is eaten hot, very hot even. You will surely notice that most Japanese eat them almost immediately. What you need to know is that the ball is cooked on the outside but still melting at heart, so watch out for burns! But it is so good that the risk is worth it…
To consume them, no chopsticks or forks, but a small wooden pick that will allow you to eat them easily without crushing them! Also forget to eat them with your fingers. In addition to being soft and hot, do not forget that they are covered with sauce…
As we said above it is a take away dish in most cases and yet the Japanese don’t leave with their little boxes, they eat them right away. Indeed if you wait too much, they will be less tasty and will end up flattening completely. The contents of the box will therefore not be very tasty.
In Japan, you won’t be able to miss Takoyaki’s restaurants with their huge octopuses on their fronts!
The taste of takoyaki
Difficult to describe their flavors. They are close to those of okonomiyaki for those who already know them. There is a very interesting play of textures with the grilled on the outside, the softness on the inside, the right cooking of the octopus that doesn’t carry away the palate and those famous sauces that give so much character to these little balls. We find here again the katsuobushi “鰹節”, this famous dried and grated bonito in thin strips that come to dance on the takoyaki under the effect of the heat while bringing them a very marked taste.
In short, this dish is simply succulent. In Japan, it is a dish to be tasted obligatorily! The spectacle of the cooks is also very interesting. You will see how skillfully and quickly they prepare takoyaki. It is very impressive!
The takoyaki museum
The takoyaki is so emblematic in Osaka that there is even a museum in its effigy! You can obviously find there all the history of the takoyaki with its first version, the akashiyaki “明石焼き” which was already a small ball but which did not have the fun side of the takoyaki with all these sauces, Kewpie mayo etc.. It was only eaten soaked in dashi.
In this museum, you can also find tasting stands with all the possible variations. Indeed, there are many adaptations and variations. Some include sweet sauces, others potatoes… In short it is a place to go if you are in Osaka!
You will leave by way of the souvenir store where everything is so cute that you won’t know what to buy. Cuddly toys, key rings, phone shells etc… Everything is there!
Eating takoyaki at home
Making a trip to Japan just to go and consume them can be expensive indeed. Unfortunately, good restaurants offering these famous recipes are not legion. Some say they offer the original recipe but we are very far from it. And the price has nothing to do with the original cheap version either.
Unless one of these restaurants is close to you, we advise you to make these takoyaki yourself! You’ll see that it’s neither expensive nor complicated!
There are many websites selling special takoyaki stoves. Whether they are electric or simple stoves, it doesn’t make much difference. The goal is to make small round balls. However, you will have to provide you with the necessary ingredients to make them.
if you want to make some at home, here is our takoyaki recipe. If you don’t want to start making takoyaki you can always buy frozen ones in Asian grocery stores but you will have to add okonomiyaki sauce, Kewpie mayonnaise, katsuobushi and aonori.
You can also make a kakutako recipe. It is an alternative to Takoyaki which is really simple and good at the same time.
If you want to vary the ingredients, use shrimp, it’s called ebiyaki, very rare to see some in restaurants in Japan, these ebiyaki can be cooked during takoyaki parties with friends.