takoyaki

Takoyaki store in Tsukiji serves up dried bonito flakes even bigger than the octopus balls

The generous servings of dried bonito flakes lift this dish to the next level.

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Octopus balls become octopus planets with amazing tweak to takoyaki recipe

Takoyaki dumplings are a ubiquitous snack in Japan, but we’ve never seen them like this before!

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Pac-Man rickshaw is back! This time to eat in Osaka’s Shinsekai district

Back due to popular demand and this time in Osaka, Pac-Man will give a few lucky passengers a ride as it chases takoyaki.

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New limited-edition Pringles feature iconic Japanese flavours

Now once you pop, you get to enjoy some popular meals from Japan.

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Be Mr. Sato’s online friend, and he might take you to dinner, like he did with these foreign fans

When two loyal readers from Hawaii said they’d be in Tokyo for a few days, Mr. Sato sprang into action.

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Black “Ninja Takoyaki” is Japan’s latest must-try cuisine from Osaka

The black octopus balls are available at only one popular tourist location in Osaka.

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Miniature food artist creates little Japanese festival featuring candy apples and tiny takoyaki

These photos make us want to shrink ourselves down and make a purchase at the mini festival stalls!

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New Japanese beer brings out flavours of Kansai specialties like takoyaki and okonomiyaki

The new drink is said to pair well with famous dishes from the region.

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Don’t throw away those old water bottles — use them for cooking instead!

Short on cookware or want to minimize clean-up time after dinner? Skip the recycling center and use your old bottles to whip up something good!

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Chocolate takoyaki?? We try the limited-edition sweet that looks just like fried octopus balls

Takoyaki, Japan’s ever-popular street food gets a sweet gourmet makeover in time for Valentine’s Day.

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New cookbook turns the uni-tasker takoyaki maker into a versatile multi-tasker

We thought takoyaki pans were just for making fried octopus balls. Teach us your ways, recipe book!

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We pig out at Aizuya, the Michelin Guide-featured takoyaki shop

In Japan, takoyaki (somewhat unappealingly translated as “octopus balls”) is known as “B-Class Gourmet” food. Takoyaki is the domain of sometimes shady street vendors and national chains where there are literally no chairs whatsoever on the premises. They’re meant to be consumed while still blazing hot, fresh off the special cratered griddle used to make them, chewed and swallowed at lightning speed while you suck in air to make them just cool enough that they don’t burn a hole in your esophagus on the way down.

Therefore, takoyaki is not, one would think, within the purview of the Michelin tire company’s prestigious Michelin Guide for world-renowned restaurants. But, surprisingly, the 2016 Michelin Guide contains not just one but several restaurants specializing in takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and other “B-Class Gourmet” foods famous around Osaka and the Kansai area.

One of those featured restaurants, Aizuya, is, it turns out, actually rumored to be the restaurant that flat-out invented takoyaki. And since that sounds like a good premise for an article, and gives us an excuse to stuff our faces with this delicious local street food, we went to check it out.

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Everything you need to know about takoyaki (octopus balls) 【Video】

Osaka is famous for Osaka-style okonomiyaki as well as takoyaki. We’ve taught you all about okonomiyaki before, including how to make it at home, and we’ve taken you with us octopus hunting in the Seto Inland Sea where we showed you not only how to catch an octopus, but how to turn its head inside out. So it’s only natural that we feel you are ready to advance your octopial knowledge by exploring what happens to the eight-legged creatures after the catch. Welcome to the wonderful world of takoyaki, battered octopus balls!

Takoyaki is to Osaka what monjayaki is to Tokyo. There’s even a Takoyaki Museum just outside of Universal Studios Japan on the Universal City Walk, with a collection of food stalls where visitors can taste varieties of the snack as well as see the implements used to make it. And since this is Japan, you can also buy numerous takoyaki-inspired souvenirs.

Let’s delve into the delectable world of takoyaki together, after the jump.

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Mr. Sato travels the distance to try 100-yen takoyaki

When one of our Japanese writers grew frustrated with Mr. Sato spending so much money on his lunch while at the office, they decided to show him that it’s possible to get great food at a fraction of the cost. And not just any food, but takoyaki!

Cheap takoyaki? This place must be in Osaka, right? Wrong! Mr. Sato soon found himself on an altogether different flight from Haneda airport, bound for octopus balls and adventure.

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Japan’s really into toasting marshmallows… on a takoyaki maker!

Mmm, marshmellers (as I like to call ’em.) Those squidgy little puffs of delicious goo. Bad for your teeth, bad for your waistline, but oh-so-yummy, especially when toasted. The outside goes all crispy and the inside melts juuuuust a little bit. In fact, they’re the perfect treat for toasting around the campfire.

But in Japan, they prefer to toast their marshmallows in a slightly more “Japanese” way – by which we mean they toast them over a takoyaki grilling machine!

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