Takoyaki, or octopus balls, is one of Japan’s most popular street foods and one of Osaka’s soul foods.
A tako is an octopus and yaki is derived from yaku, which means ‘to fry or grill’.
Even outside of Japan, there are many restaurants serving takoyaki. Have you ever tried it?
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This month we’re cooking takoyaki in the ZenPop kitchen with Luna, just like how the native Osakans do!
Takoyaki is cooked in a molded heavy frying pan, called a takoyaki-ki, which you can find through ZenMarket.
Photo: Story of a Kitchen
Takoyaki-ki shape looks very similar to Danish Æbleskiver (or pancake balls) and paddu, a common South Indian breakfast dish. So, if you have one of these pans, they will work too!
The main ingredients:
You should be able to find each of these ingredients in your local Asian supermarket.
Discover more interesting flavor combinations for your takoyaki!
Takoyaki was introduced to Osaka in 1935, by Mr. Endo, a street vendor. He was inspired by Akashiyaki, a type of egg-rich and octopus dumpling, from Akashi in Hyogo Prefecture.
Takoyaki became very popular in the Kansai and its popularity quickly spread throughout Japan.
Today, it’s enjoyed as a snack from street food stalls, as well as from restaurants that specialize in the dish. You can also buy frozen takoyaki from the konbini (convenience store) or supermarket.
There are hundreds of takoyaki stands in Osaka, but here are some of our favorites!
Photo: Bite My Bun
If you’re a native Kansai person, you probably grew up cooking takoyaki at home!
The only tricky part to cooking takoyaki is learning to turn them quickly so they form a ball. Like everything, practice makes perfect, so get into the kitchen and use it as an excuse to eat more takoyaki!
We recommend watching some takoyaki sensei on YouTube first!
Taste some of Japan's other famous city snacks with our July Ramen + Sweets Mix Pack.