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Podcast 19: How to eat Takoyaki

 

How to eat Takoyaki

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Just the Japanese dialogs

How to eat Takoyaki

Takoyaki

Delicious Takoyaki with toppings

Food is one of our most popular subjects to talk about so in this podcast Ami sensei and I (Alex) introduce you to one of Kansai’s most loved street snacks, the honorable Takoyaki.

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to order and prepare takoyaki yourself with the correct ingredients and utensils. We also talk about the history of takoyaki, why it became so famous plus our recommendations for the best Takoyaki restaurants in Japan.

So get ready for a takoyaki extravaganza!

Takoyaki Vocabulary

Here is a full vocabulary list taken from the podcast

Japanese

Pronunciation

English

Gochuumon

Your order

いかが゙しょうか

Ikaga deshō

Is it OK? / Are you ready?

たこやき

Takoyaki

Takoyaki (Octopus fry)

お願いします

Onegaishimasu

Please

かしこまりました

Kashikomarimashita

Certainly

すみません

Sumimasen

Excuse me

作り方

Tsukurikata

How to make something

教えて

Oshiete

Teach me

いただけませんか

Itadakemasenka

Would you please?

まず

Mazu

First

その後

Sono ato

After that

その次に

Sono tsugi ni

Next

最後に

Saigo ni

Finally

生地

Kiji

Batter

鉄板

Teppan

Iron pan

入れます

Iremasu

Put in

Hoka

Other

好きな

Sukina

Something you like

具材

Guzai

Ingredients

焼きなが

Yakinagara

While cooking

千枚通し

Senmaidooshi

Long needle like implement for cooking takoyaki

ひっくり返します

Hikkuri kaeshimasu

Turn something over

熱い

Atsui

Hot

気をつけて

Ki o tsukete

Take care

食べてください

Tabete kudasai

Please eat

なるほど

Naruhodo

I see

ありがとうご゙います

Arigatō gozaimasu

Thank you very much

Takoyaki Conversation

A:

ご注文はいかがでしょうか。

Gochuumon wa ikaga deshou ka

Are you ready to order?

B:

たこやきをお願いします。

Takoyaki o onegaishimasu

I’d like takoyaki please.

A:

かしこまりました。

Kashikomarimashita

Certainly.

B:

あの、すみませんがたこやきの作り方を教えていただけませんか。

Ano, sumimasen ga, takoyaki no tsukurikata o oshiete kudasai.

Um, excuse me but would you mind telling me how to make takoyaki?

A:

まず、生地を鉄板に入れま

Mazu, kiji o teppan ni iremasu.

First put the batter in the iron pan.

B:

生地を鉄板に入れます。

Kiji o teppan ni iremasu.

Put the batter in the pan.

A:

そのあと、たこを入れます。

Sono ato, tako o iremasu.

After that, put in the octopus.

B:

たこを入れます。

Tako o iremasu.

Put in the octopus.

A:

その次に、他の好きな具材を入れます。

Sono tsugi, hoka no suki na guzai o iremasu.

After that, put in the ingredients you like.

B:

具材を入れます。

Guzai o iremasu.

Put in the ingredients.

What is Takoyaki?

Takoyaki Ingredients

Takoyaki Ingredients

Takoyaki is a speciality dish from Osaka and is usually eaten as a casual fast food. Imagine golf sized balls of baked dough, crispy on the outside and piping hot in the middle.

What are the basic ingredients of Takoyaki?

The dough is made from water, flour and eggs and you add dashi, salt and soy sauce to taste. It also has slices of tako which is octopus. Yaki means cooked or baked which is why we say we say Takoyaki. It kind of tastes a little like Okonomiyaki so it’s savory with a range of interesting flavors and umami.

How do you cook Takoyaki?

Electric Takoyaki set

An electric Takoyaki set

We start with a takoyaki teppan which is a hot plate to cook the batter in. The hot plate has semi spherical indents which you pour the batter into. You basically drown the whole plate in runny takoyaki batter. Then add those slices of tako.

You then sprinkle on other ingredients including benishouga which is pickled red ginger, chopped green onions and tenkasu which are little scraps of tempura.

Then as it starts to cook you use what’s called a 千枚通し Senmaidooshi to constantly flip over the batter as it turns into little takoyaki balls.

And then finally you garnish it with mayonnaise, Takoyaki sauce which is like Worcestershire sauce, aonori which is green laver and Katsuo bushi which is dried flakes of bonito fish. But there are other flavours too, sometimes they’ll add cheese or mochi.

When do you usually eat Takoyaki?

You usually pick them up as a snack from a takoyaki stand on the street. But you can also order them in Izakayas with other food. Some restaurants let you make them yourself using the takoyaki teppan which is fun. But usually you’ll get them at a food stall at a matsuri and they usually come in sets of 6 or 8.

Where can you buy Takoyaki?

Dotonbori in Osaka

The Dotonbori area of Osaka

If you are in Japan, you could buy Takoyaki in almost any city. However, if you want to do it in style, in the home of the Takoyaki, I would recommend the Dotonbori area of Osaka. It’s a very popular tourist destination packed with amazing restaurants, Izakayas and bars. It’s famous for its huge colourful illuminated signs, entertainment and nightlife.

All the shops run along the Dotonbori canal where it gets its name. So it’s great for food and just strolling down the river.

There are hundreds of places where you can get Takoyaki but one place I really like is くれおー They’re actually a chain of restaurants that serve famous Osaka dishes including Okonomiyaki. I would recommend going to the Dotonbori shop as it has seats overlooking the river. It’s a little touristy but if you can get a good seat, the view of the river is really nice especially at night. And the Takoyaki themselves are perhaps some of the best I’ve ever had in Japan. According to the website they supply various hotels with their speciality Takoyaki which isn’t surprising because they really are that good.

To get to the Dontonbori area from Osaka station, get on the Midosuji line and get off at Namba. It’s then a 5 or 10 minute walk north to the river. And you’ll know you’re there when you see a giant plastic animated Crab and also the neon Glico man sign on the river next to Ebisu bridge. Anyway check out the link in the show notes and on the website.

What is the history of Takoyaki?

A street vendor making takoyaki

A street vendor making takoyaki

As you probably know, rice, fish and vegetables have been the traditional staple diet of Japan. Takoyaki which is made from flour and water was a relatively new food type in Japan. It has it roots in the 1600s when battered food and other French cuisine started to be eaten in Japan.

Fast forward to the Tokyo earthquake in 1923 which left the kanto area with huge food shortages. The government started experimenting with flour and water to make cheap filling food. It wasn’t that popular but it kept people from starving.

Then in 1935 a street vendor in Osaka called Tomokichi Endo started experimenting with flour and water batter with seafood. There was a big cheap supply of octopus which he mixed with the batter to create the first Takoyaki. It took off and became a success. In the years after the 2nd world war, wheat flour was sent to Japan as relief aid. And that’s when Takoyaki started to get really famous throughout Japan.

It’s another one of those things in Japan that had a foreign influence but then changed into something uniquely Japanese.

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