Okay, so takoyaki doesn’t really have 8 legs but it is very close, because the primary ingredient in this majestic piece of food is [drum roll please]…. octopus! Octopus tentacles to be precise, and when they are specialty fried in a dumpling and covered in amazing sauce that is very reminiscent of okonamiyaki flavor, it is a match made in ooey-gooey heaven.
In fact, much like most all street foods in Japan, watching the chefs create takoyaki is almost as equally enjoyable as eating it. The procedure itself looks simple enough, a bit of batter is squirted in a blazing hot semi-spherical cooking tray, a bite sized piece of octopus is added among with other mix-ins and is covered with batter. The tricky part, which is also the most enjoyable part to watch, is continually flipping the batter in the tray to ensure that the batter forms into a sphere, as well as to not overcook any one particular side.
Once done, the takoyaki balls are served immediately covered in crunchy toppings, delicious soy based sauces, and Japanese mayonnaise. One would be wise, however, to rip open the top of a takoyaki piece prior to eating as the inside is at a near molten state and can cause some serious damage if consumed directly as I have experienced on all three occasions of eating takoyaki so far. (I don’t learn easy). This process is repeated 5-9 more times depending on the number of balls you order, of which I am preferable for the 6 pack variety for a scant 350-500 yen depending on location ($4-$6).
Waiting for the treats to cool down is the hardest part, as they look incredibly inviting. Between the incredibly chewy and near tasteless tentacles and the gooey dough, eating takoyaki is a tasty workout for the mouth as nearly triple the number of chews than for normal food is required to down a single piece. But of course, that is triple the time to enjoy this tasty piece of heaven.