Takoyaki

Osaka Things to Eat

Osaka, Japan Apr. 13 Sat 10:23PM

17.1 / 62.7

Osaka's Soul Food

Takoyaki is without a doubt the soul food of Osaka.

So what is takoyaki in the first place? If literally translated into English, it will be “octopus roast," but this food is something quite different. Takoyaki does contain octopus- it is actually put inside a dumpling made of wheat flour batter. This mixture is fried on a specially designed grill dedicated to Takoyaki, which has dozens of half circle bumps. The size of a takoyaki is about an inch in diameter.

 

Here is how Takoyaki is made: First, oil is put on the grill with a brush. Pour the batter into the small indentions. The boiled octopus pieces are put into each circle of batter. More batter is added to cover the pan. Next, red pickled ginger, spring onions, and Tenkasu, which is a deep-fried tempura batter, are added. When it is starting to cook, a special metal stick is used to turn the takoyaki and are turned repeatedly flipped so they do not burn. They are done when they are golden brown. Usually they are crispy outside and soft in the middle. They are served with takoyaki sauce, which is like a thicker and sweeter version of Worcestershire sauce, and on top of this is mayonnaise, dried green seaweed powder and grated dried bonito are added.

 

When eating takoyaki, be careful- since it is typically served right after it is cooked on the grill, it is very hot. To safely eat hot Takoyaki, wait three to five minutes. Or if eating when it’s hot sounds better, and rightly so, make a small hole in the side using the skewer or a pair of chopsticks and let the steam escape first. Then wait one minute, and try a tiny bite first to check whether it is safely edible or if a longer wait is needed.      

For people who are not familiar with eating octopus, it might not sound so appetizing. However, it is worth trying at least once, considering its reasonable price. Most shops sell 6 – 10 Takoyaki balls in a rectangular, boat shaped dish for about 300 – 500 yen (less than $5 USD). Depending on the shop, there are a variety of sauces and toppings as well. As for toppings, cheese, spring onion, and seasoned cod roe are sometimes on the menu. If octopus is completely out of the question, some shops even have an octopus-less option, but this is somewhat rare.

Rather than a restaurant staple, takoyaki is considered a simple food, which people by and large eat casually as lunch or a snack. Takoyaki shops are almost ubiquitous in Osaka and they are even throughout Japan. Takoyaki is popular not only at shops and vendors on the streets but also at home, and many Japanese own a small size takoyaki grill at home. It is a critical part of their daily life and also a part of Osaka culture. There is even a museum dedicated to takoyaki, where five popular shops can be found and a "takoyaki shrine" is laid out.

Eating Takoyaki in Japan, especially in Osaka, is a tasty cultural experience, and many add  It is a good idea to add it to your bucket list for Osaka.  Depending on the person, the octopus piece inside a dumpling might not sound great, but try it once, and who knows, it may become a new favorite!

 

 

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Please note that prices are subject to change due to exchange rate.

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