The generous servings of dried bonito flakes lift this dish to the next level.
The food that represents Osaka the most is arguably the humble takoyaki. These little globes of batter are cooked using unique pans and traditionally stuffed with pieces of octopus. Ask someone who hails from Osaka and they’ll likely recommend you a chain store called Gindako.
Ever since word got out that Gindako opened a store in the Tsukiji district of Tokyo, we were just itching to get our hands on some exquisite balls.
Opened recently on 9 June, the shop was just a stone’s throw from the bustling Tsukiji Fish Market. The place was filled with both Japanese and foreigners alike, no doubt salivating over the prospect of devouring some piping hot takoyaki.
▼ Gindako seemed to be always packed with customers.
▼ The store had an unmistakable sign proclaiming that it filled
its batter balls with natural, locally caught octopus.
We were more interested in the fact that Gindako used freshly shaved katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) which distinguished it from other takoyaki stores.
Takoyaki lovers will know how much those brown paper-like strips add to the eating experience, and Gindako understands this, literally shaving huge swathes of katsuobushi in front of our eyes.
What surprised us was that the shop assistant claimed the free shaving service was not the norm and limited to this Tsukiji shop. That’s great! We didn’t expect this much out of a delicious 550 yen (eight balls, US$5) snack.
The dish itself was unexpected, with the prized takoyaki balls covered in large blankets of katsuobushi wriggling from the heat. Now that’s something you don’t see every day.
▼ Did we order a plate of takoyaki with bonito flakes,
or a plate of bonito flakes with takoyaki?
▼ Soak up all that tasty takoyaki sauce, my little beauties.
The takoyaki balls themselves were nothing to scoff at either. They were fried to a perfect brown crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, with a large piece of fresh octopus in there for that extra bite.
Despite common sense telling us to wait for them to cool down, our primal urges kicked in and we scalded our tongues trying to wolf them down in one go.
▼ Just thinking about those pieces of octopus, we couldn’t help ourselves.
▼ What a stark contrast to the takoyaki found in other Gindako stores.
Takoyaki can be the perfect snack to fuel a day of touring, and we highly recommend Gindako for its unparalleled authenticity and proximity to the biggest fish market in the world. Pair that with an ice-cold Osaka-area beer and you’ll be all set.
Gindako, Tsukiji Store / 銀だこ 築地本店
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Tsukiji, 4-7-5, 1F
Open: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
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