Takoyaki is one of our favourite street foods in Japan. There has yet to be a trip where we don’t make multiple stops for takoyaki in Osaka, the birthplace of these delicious octopus balls. Takoyaki is available elsewhere in Japan, usually in chain stores like Gindaco, but Osaka has our piping hot favourites at Takoyaki Doraku Wanaka. We’ve tried making takoyaki in a moulded takoyaki pan, but it’s not worth our time and effort when we can have 50 frozen takoyaki that taste delicious for just $9.20 at the Tokyo Mart in Northbridge.
Each takoyaki comes par-fried and filled with diced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger and green onion.
Deep frying them in oil at 160°C for 8 minutes gives them a crispy outer shell with piping hot gooey innards.
We like to fry them in small batches and eat as we go so that they stay hot. You can also microwave them according to the packaging. This could give them a softer shell that’s probably more authentic, but we like crispy.
Fresh from the fryer, we drizzle takoyaki sauce (left) over these golden balls,. Takoyaki sauce is based on Worchestshire sauce and can be purchased at most Asian grocery and Daiso stores. They also stock the aonori and bonito flakes.
We follow the takoyaki sauce with mayonnaise — just Western-style, not the Japanese mayonnaise by Kewpie.
And finally, we sprinkle green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito to finish.
The condiments for takoyaki may be numerous, but they each contribute to the flavour of authentic takoyaki: the takoyaki sauce brings a complex depth of flavour with a vinegary, smokey, savoury and peppery notes with a hint of sweetness, which is balanced by the acidity in the mayonnaise and the moreish umami flavour of green laver and dried bonito flakes.
These tasted like the takoyaki that was sold at Kimama Kitchen in Eating World in Sydney’s Chinatown before it closed down. The takoyaki there were also deep fried and came in bags like the one here, so we’re confident that they’re from the same supplier. Indeed, the taste is delicious, with a piece or two of diced octopus in each and a well-balanced flavour that didn’t overemphasise the undertones of pickled ginger and green onion.
To finish off, a wax model of a takoyaki from Gujo, Gifu, Japan. It’s missing the shaved bonito, but compared to this work of art, I’d say our assemblage of the condiments wasn’t half bad!
This bag of Takoyaki by Jun Pacific contained 50 pieces. It was produced in China and purchased in Sydney, Australia in 2017.