Day 14: Takoyaki
Although you can buy takoyaki in restaurants, this really is street food – and it’s as good as it gets!
Takoyaki are basically small balls of fried octopus. The octopus is normally minced or diced and then cooked in a sphere of wheat flour batter. Sometimes there will be other bits and pieces inside like tenkatsu, ginger and onion.
I love that when they’re cooked on the street you can see the whole process. A large cast iron pan with lines of moulds sits over the heat and the takoyaki sit inside. They’re turned gradually until the whole ball is properly cooked on the outside. The inside will be just a little bit runny to give it a special texture.
Takoyaki is served in batches and then covered with different toppings – maybe chives, spring onions, fish slakes, sauce, or mayonnaise. You can then sit down and pick them off one by one – or even keep walking down the street. Be warned, though, they can be pretty hot when they’ve come straight off the mould!
It was first around the city of Osaka that takoyaki appeared – and that was only about 80 years ago. Since then, its popularity has spread all across the country but particularly to the areas in and around Tokyo.
These ones that I ate are from Tokyo and I got them at a little stall on the street in the Harajuku area of the capital. That automatically makes them trendy (and probably slightly more expensive than in other parts of the city). The eight takoyaki balls cost 600 yen (US$6.10) and came with some extra vegetable toppings.
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