Takoyaki by Jun Pacific

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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.