Big cities are often known for their street food. However, all of Japan is known for its street food in my mind and if it’s not in yours, it should be! One of the most popular, quick and common foods to find in Japan is takoyaki! If you can’t tell from the picture above, it’s a ball-shaped snack (about the size of a golfball) and is made of a wheat-based flour and made in a special takoyaki pan! Don’t worry, it’s not just flour.
There are many varieties of takoyaki just like other Japanese dishes we’ve discussed. Yet, it’s name comes from ‘tako’, which means octopus. Haha! Some of you are probably thinking ‘EW!’ but it’s really not what you think. Inside the small ball are tiny pieces of octopus. You don’t feel their texture if that’s what you’re worried about and the flavor is rather subtle from what you may imagine.
Though, tako isn’t the only thing in takoyaki. Other foods may be placed into the tiny fried balls, as well, such as tenkatsu(tempura flakes), pickled ginger(because the Japanese love pickled food), green onions, or really anything you want. Trust me, there’s lots of possibilities. It just has to fit into the golf ball-size ball and it’s all about what you’re willing to try.
Most important part about takoyaki is that you don’t have to go out for it. You can buy a takoyaki pan, bring it home, and have your friends and family gather around the kotatsu(short, Japanese table). Here everyone can participate in adding ingredients and cooking the takoyaki. Remember, you have to be diligent. When making takoyaki, you use toothpicks to mold and spin the takoyaki balls in the pan(because it has no cover). It’s tricky, but entertaining.
OH! And don’t forget the sauce! Takoyaki sauce is also key to the flavor of takoyaki and some would say it’s like worcestershire sauce. (Not sure I taste the resemblence, but… :p) Of course, takoyaki sauce is just common. There are other options, too, depending on what suits your palate. There’s mayo, and bonito flakes, or plain if that’s the way you rule. Whatever floats your boat! ^.^
Have you tried takoyaki before? What’d you think of it? Tell me in the comments below!