Takoyaki is a traditional Japanese street food from the Kansai region around Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. The name means ‘baked octopus’ as the Takoyaki balls are made of octopus which is fried into a Japanese dumpling.
Along with Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki is one of Japan’s most popular street foods. Street vendours can often be found in front of stations selling it out of their repurposed micro-vans. They use special Takoyaki baking trays with 16 or more holes to form the perfectly round shape.
However, the dish is so popular that you can find it almost anywhere in the Kansai region – in convenience stores, supermarkets, food courts, specialized restaurants, at festivals or in amusement parks.
Basic ingredients are water, flour, egg, octopus, Tenkasu (crunchy bits of deep fried flour-batter), dashi stock and green onion. The typical serving contains 8 Takoyaki balls which are garnished with different toppings such as Shoga (pickled ginger), Takoyaki sauce, Katsuobushi (dried bonito fish grated into thin flakes), Aonori (dried seaweed), and Japanese mayonnaise.
Instead of using chopsticks, Takoyaki is eaten with a Japanese toothpick. But be careful not to burn your tongue! The fried octopus balls are often still extremely hot on the inside when they may appear edible from the outside.
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