What is Takoyaki?

What is Takoyaki?

Takoyaki is a popular Japanese street snack that has been represented in Japanese media. In fact, if you are a fan of one piece then you must have seen the Takoyaki stand run by Hatchan of the Arlong pirates. It is simply a ball-shaped snack made of flour and grilled in a pan that gives it the shape. Tako means octopus and Yaki means to grill.

Takoyaki literally means grilled octopus, but that's not all you find in it. It is filled with diced octopus, pickled ginger, green onions and Tempura all rolled into the yummy ball of sweetness called Takoyaki. The grilled balls are usually brushed with takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise, topped with dried bonito flakes plus powdered seaweed and finally skewered in a stick or placed in takeaway containers.

Fresh Takoyaki


Brief History of Takoyaki


Takoyaki is a regional dish of Osaka in Japan but it can now be found all over Japan and some places outside the country. It was created by a street vendor as far back as 1935. As you would expect, it became popular and slowly spread to other regions in Japan. A fun fact is the oldest Takoyaki store (Aizuya in Osaka) opened in the 1930s still runs today. 


Tako Lantern


How to Make Takoyaki?


As cool as it is, you can even make Takoyaki in the comfort of your home. Some of the ingredients will not be available in your usual convenient store but you can get them in Asian stores. As for one of the most important tools; the Takoyaki pan, you can get one on amazon for an affordable price. Check here for a good example. It has a job stick surface and you can make a ton of Takoyaki in one go. 


What is a Takoyaki Pan?


The Takoyaki Pan, a specialized cooking vessel, is used to shape the dough into a circle. The dough is poured into the tool's various hemisphere molds, which shapes it into a circle with a takoyaki pick.

The most common variety used at home is a 16-ball Takoyaki pan since it is convenient to use, store, and use. Various manufacturers offer a range of materials, including Teflon and iron. An iron pan makes takoyaki more delicious, but you need to learn how to cook effectively and be ready for that. A Teflon pan is simple to cook with its non-stick coating.

Both materials have advantages and disadvantages. Professionals will advise using an iron pan to make authentic takoyaki at home.


What are the Takoyaki Ingredients?


The good news is, preparing the ingredients for Takoyaki may take longer than actually making the Takoyaki. 

  • 2 Eggs 
  • 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour. 
  • Pinch of salt. 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder. 
  • Cooked octopus - you can either get a large piece and dice it or get smaller tentacles that can be individually placed in each Takoyaki. Pre-cooked octopus is available in Asian stores. 
  • Green onions - dice this into small pieces.
  • Vegetable oil.
  • Dashi stock or Dashi powder - originally, Dashi stock is used to give the batter a unique flavor but you can settle for the powder because it is easier to get in Asian grocery stores. 
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce. 
  • ½ cup of Tempura. 
  • Chopped pickled red ginger. 
  • Takoyaki sauce and Japanese mayo for serving. 
  • Aonari/ seaweed powder. 
  • Bonito flakes. 


Easy and Simple Takoyaki Recipe



  1. Let's start with the batter. Mix the fry ingredients like flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Add the wet ingredients like eggs, Dashi stock or water mixed with Dashi powder, and soy sauce. 
  2. Whisk all until you get a runny paste. It shouldn't be too thick. Your batter is ready, you can set it aside. 
  3. Put the Takoyaki pan on medium heat. Use a brush to coat all of the surface with oil. 
  4. When it is hot enough, pour the batter into the Wells. It will overflow and even bleed together at the top of the pan. 
  5. Add the diced pickled red ginger, diced octopus, Tempura(optional) and green onions. Make sure that each well gets some of every ingredient.
  6. Cook until the bottom of the ball is crisp. (1-2 minutes). 
  7. Separate the layer of Takoyaki at the top and partially flip each Takoyaki with a pick. The batter should flow into the well to form the other half of the ball. 
  8. Do this again until you get a solid spherical shape and take it out when all sides are crisp. 
  9. Serve on a flat tray and dribble Takoyaki sauce and Japanese mayo. End with bonito flakes and enjoy. You can now even top it with cheese. 


Takoyaki Baking




How To Flip Takoyaki?


Takoyaki recipe seems easy to do, but where a lot of people flop is when it gets to flipping the Takoyaki. Sometimes, the batter pours all over the pan and the Takoyaki ball crumbles. Follow these tips to get the perfect Takoyaki ball

  • Buy a Takoyaki pick. It may seem like you can use a toothpick or a fork as a substitute but to get that perfect round shape, you need a pick. There are stainless steel and plastic picks available on amazon. 
  • Before you pour the batter, evenly coat the pan with oil. This is extremely important. 
  • After pouring the batter in and putting the extra ingredients, wait for it to heat for about 2 minutes. If you flip too fast, it will crumble. 
  • First flip the Takoyaki about 90 degrees, let it harden, then flip another 90 degrees to complete the turn.
  • If your batter pours, it is okay. Let the excess batter flow out.
  • Remember not to flip too fast the first time. Try slowly until you get used to it. 

When experts flip Takoyaki, they don't do the first 90% flipping, it seems really cool because it's done once and the inside batter flows out to form the other half of the ball, but remember that they have been practicing for years. Take it easy with your first few tries. 


Takoyaki Flipping


What Does Takoyaki Taste Like? 


Let's get to the juicy bits. Because of the way it is made, Takoyaki is crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. Instead of the plain flavor of a pastry like donut which is usually all batter, Takoyaki is packed with flavor. While chewing, you get to taste the meaty strips of octopus, the sourness of pickled ginger and the freshness of green onions. Top that with a spread of sauce and mayonnaise on top! Imagine savoring 5 flavors in just 1 bite of Takoyaki.  You may be wondering: is it supposed to be gooey inside? Yes, that is correct; the interior should be a touch runny and goopy. It's more gooey like melty cheese than exactly mushy.


What is Takoyaki Sauce?


Takoyaki with Sauce


The primary usage of Takoyaki Sauce is to season Takoyaki (Japanese octopus balls/dumplings). Takoyaki sauce is a must-have when eating Takoyaki. It wouldn't be the same dish without it. The wonderful octopus ball, one of Japan's most well-known street food snacks, is crunchy on the exterior and savory on the interior. They are then coated with takoyaki sauce and given a squeeze of Japanese mayo before being eaten.

You need Worcestershire sauce, mentsuyu, sugar, and ketchup to make a basic Takoyaki sauce. All the ingredients should be combined in a bowl and thoroughly whisked. To suit your tastes, modify the sauce. It's quite simple!


Are the sauces used in okonomiyaki and takoyaki the same?


Takoyaki sauce and okonomiyaki sauce are pretty similar, so you might occasionally swap one for the other. Each sauce is the greatest option for the specific food it is used with because of the tiny variations in flavor, fruitiness, color, and thickness.


What flavor does takoyaki sauce have?


This sauce has a great umami taste from the combination of fruity, acidic Worcestershire sauce and aromatic kombu/soy flavors in mentsuyu. Additionally, the sauce is slightly sweeter than other Japanese brown sauces, which wonderfully balances the saltiness of the crispy golden-fried takoyaki balls.

Consume all of your sauce within a week for the optimum flavor and quality. To keep sauce fresh, always keep it in the refrigerator.


What is a Takoyaki Party, Tako Pa?


There are a lot of social gatherings that can take place in Japan with coworkers, acquaintances, or even strangers who have decided to go on a shared blind date (gokon). The Takoyaki Party (たこ焼きパーティ) is without one of Japan's best gatherings! A Takoyaki Party is simply a meet-up where people hang out and cook their own takoyaki using a takoyaki machine or takoyaki pan.  People have those at homes, sometimes in offices or even common spaces at Guest Houses!


What are Osaka's best Takoyaki Restaurants?


To conclude this article, let's introduce you to some of Osaka's best Takoyaki restaurants should you ever want to come visit us in the Kansai region.

  • Abeno Takoyaki Yamachan (Tennoji Area; budget)

Due to the fact that their octopus balls are among of the most delectable ones available, Yamachan, a takoyaki vendor with locations in the Tennoji and Abeno districts, is one of the most well-known and highly-rated in its category. an essential stop if you're nearby.

  • Takoya Dotonbori Kukuru (Minami; budget)

There are several excellent takoyaki stalls in Dotonbori, and Takoya Dotonbori Kukuru is a favorite among fans of this type of street food. What makes them so fantastic? To discover out, order their "bikkuri takoyaki" or "Surprise Takoyaki"!

  • TAKOPA (Takoyaki Park)(改称) (Osaka Bay; budget)

Want some takoyaki when visiting Universal Studios Japan? Fear not, Takoyaki Park (TAKOPA) in Universal City Walk is here. Under a single roof, you may browse five of Osaka's top stores. Effective and delicious!

  • Takohachi (Tennoji Area; budget)

Visit Takohachi in Tennoji for an alternative to the standard takoyaki—akashiyaki. It is comparable to takoyaki but is dipped in a delicate, delectable dashi soup. Excellent for people who want to try a lighter version of this snack.

  • Takoyaki Doraku Wanaka (Minami; budget)

Another favorite among Osakans is Takoyaki Doraku Wanaka. They have a number of locations across the city, from Namba to Nippombashi, but we prefer the Sennichimae stall since the takoyaki there is outstanding and is available on weekends for breakfast, in the style of Osaka binge-eaters.

  • Kougaryu (Minami; budget)

Need a rest after your Shinsaibashi shopping trip? Get some takoyaki from Amerikamura's renowned Kougaryu restaurant. The takoyaki is fantastic, but there are also a ton of interesting toppings to pick from.

  • Takoyaki Juhachiban (Minami; budget)

Dotonbori visitors have an abundance of dining options, but if you can only visit one takoyaki shop, pick Takoyaki Juhachiban. These octopus balls are elevated to the next level of taste by a number of unexpected additions.

  • Hanadako (Kita; budget)

Hanadako is a fantastic option if you're deciding what to eat while exploring Shin-Umeda Shokudogai. Locals line up almost constantly to try their renowned negi-mayo takoyaki! Even if there is a wait, service is quick and effective, so don't worry.




Now you know how to prepare your own Takoyaki: all you need are the takoyaki pan and the ingredients. Invite your friends, and make your own Takoyaki Party at home! Don't forget to pair those with delicious snacks from Japan, which we can deliver to your door directly in our ZenPop Snack Packs with lots of Takoyaki-flavored treats!


This article was originally written by our freelance writer Umm-Kulthum Abdulkareem, and edited by us.