Japan is notorious for the rich cuisine with extremely fussy, decorated beautifully dishes. However, takoyaki is still one of the most favorite dishes in this country, despite its quite simple recipe and outlook.
In Japanese, tako means octopus, while yaki is derived from the word yaku, which means “fry or grill”. Takoyaki is fried octopus, one of the most famous street foods in Japan. This dish even appears in many places of the world.
Takoyaki was invented in 1935 by a normal street vendor named Endo Tomekichi. This man used to sell a kind of ball-shaped snack with beef inside. However, after trying akashiyaki (small octopus dumpling), he decide to use octopus instead of beef and called this new dish takoyaki.
The most ingredients of takoyaki are wheat flour, egg and octopus. Besides minced or diced octopus, the chef can add more ingredients for better flavor like ginger, spring onions, peppers…
After finishing fried, this dish will be added a little sauce and shavings of dried bonito with seaweed. Initially, takoyaki was eaten without sauce. Sauce only started to appear from around World War 2. Now, each chef all has different tips to make their sauce special, attracting eaters.
Besides the essential ingredients, frying pan is another indispensable thing when cooking takoyaki. For this special dish, you will also need a special pan, called takoyakikki or takoyaki-nabe. It’s actually a cast iron griddle with many half-spherical molds. A normal pan often contains about 30 molds.
At first, this dish was known only in Osaka, the hometown of Endo Tomekichi. But then, with simple recipe and excellent taste, takoyaki quickly became popular throughout Japan. 20 years later, in Osaka only, people can enjoy this dish at 5,000 different locations.
Takoyaki has long been honored as one of the most typical representatives of Japanese culinary culture. It is also considered as a separate specialty of Osaka. In Osaka there is even a museum dedicated to this snack. Coming to the museum, you will understand more about the origin, formation and character of takoyaki.
Today, you can enjoy takoyaki anywhere in Japan, or Japanese restaurants worldwide. Especially on a cold winter day, the hot, crispy, salty but sweet balls of takoyaki will give you such passionate, unforgettable feeling.