Takoyaki is the first thing on my wish lists during a holiday in Japan. Takoyaki is a popular Japanese snack, little round dough balls containing pieces of octopus. The word tako means octopus and yaki means grilled. It is topped with takoyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise, but I like to use okonomi sauce in place of takoyaki sauce. It’s often topped with seaweed flakes and dried bonito flakes, but you can personalise it any way you like. Takoyaki is best eaten while piping hot, butut be careful! The little balls are extremely hot.
Takoyaki originated in Osaka City, in the western Kansai region of Japan. For Osaka people, takoyaki is seen as not just a snack, but a meal in itself. Takoyaki is more of a festival food for me, someone from Kanto region, because takoyaki is usually bought from food stalls at Summer festivals. Whenever I go to festivals I make sure to buy takoyaki.
Photo Credit. Takoyaki stall.
There are some takoyaki restaurants selected by the Michelin Guide in Kyoto and Osaka. Aizuya Honten, which created takoyaki, was selected for 2016 and 2017. The shop is a bit far from the center of Osaka, but there’s also a takoyaki shop at Namba station.
There are also takoyaki restaurants in the Kanto area. I’ve tried Gindako, a popular fast food style chain, next to Omiya station. They make takoyaki right next to the cash register! They also offer seasonal menus, including cod roe, and cheese. Try the original 8 piece.
I tried to eat it in one bite, but it was extremely hot… Outside is crisp and the inside is nice and soft. Some people grab takoyaki by themselves as a quick snack to tide them over until dinner time.
If you want to make takoyaki at home, you need a specially shaped pan. Most Japanese families have one at home, and put it over a gas stove to use it.
I used to have an electronic Takoyaki pan. It’s more convenient for when you invite friends over, and when you hold a tako-pa (a takoyaki party!). Tako-pa are a favourite of younger Japanese groups of friends as they’re really cheap to make.
Takoyaki always reminds me of an anime, called ‘Takoyaki Mantoman’. When I was a kid, I liked all the cute takoyaki characters. The story is five takoyaki superheroes fight to protect Earth from aliens. I still remember the opening song. Once you listen to the song, you can’t forget it even if you don’t understand the lyrics.
If you’re interested in takoyaki and want to learn more, why don’t you join our next cooking class! We will introduce how to make Takoyaki & Okonomiyaki. Click here for details.
Osaka style Okonomiyaki ＆ Takoyaki
February 11 (Sat) and 12 (Sun)
Lunch 11AM – 2PM
Dinner 3PM – 6PM
Limited to 10 tickets per class only