Takoyaki: Tasty Street Food
Takoyaki first appeared in Osaka in 1935 by a street vendor who created it. It was inspired by akashiyaki, a small round dumpling from the city of Akashi, made of egg batter and octopus. It was comfort food for the people of Osaka that spread to other regions and now is available throughout Japan. It has long been associated with street food especially during local religious festivals. The dish is easily and cheaply made provided the preparations are right and teppan plates for takoyaki are available.
Takoyaki are ball-shaped snacks, basically of wheat flour-based batter cooked in a special moulded pan with half ping-pong sized depressions. Flour is dissolved in a specially mixed soupy stock and poured individually over the half moulds. Then minced or diced octopus are added, called tako, also leeks, pickled ginger, and tempura scraps.
The dish is cooked in an evenly heated pan, made of cast iron. As one side of the takoyaki gets cooked, each is turned to the other side with a pick to get cooked in turn. The balls are brushed later with takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise is added, then green aonori and shavings of dried bonito are sprinkled over. Takoyaki makes for great, delicious snacks.
If octopus is not used in takoyaki, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be called takoyaki anymore. Anything can actually be put inside takoyaki. In the absence of octopus, cheese or sausage can be used. Shrimp pieces or even chopped vegetables, like cabbage make for delicious takoyaki. Everybody seems to love it. They’re bite-sized and easy to eat even by children.
There are many individually operated traditional takoyaki stores, especially in Osaka. Big companies have gone into franchising their takoyaki versions since the 1990s and since then been competing in the fast food market within and outside of Japan. The hot dish has evolved into high quality snacks with attention to ingredients, toppings and degrees of cooking. In the US, one can find takoyaki stalls in malls and supermarkets and other commercial areas. Many Japanese restaurants also serve this favorite snack.
Comfort Food in Lynnwood
At Wild Wasabi, enjoy hot takoyaki straight out of our kitchen to your plate. It is not just your regular street food fare, but our tasty octopus balls, steamed or fried, are balls of fun.