Takoyaki is THE PERFECT SNACK. I don’t know how many times Mike and I have stumbled home from a night out in Tokyo only to see the warm welcoming yellow lights and bright red awning of Gindado, Japan’s premier street side takoyaki stand. They’re the only ones open at 3 in the morning (okay, there are other places open, but for the purpose of this story, just pretend) and they are the ultimate drunk food. Crispy pan fried balls of savory seasoned batter filled with tender chunks of octopus, crispy tempura bits, and topped off with takoyaki sauce and seaweed. This is street food at its best: a la minute, fast, friendly, so bad for you, but oh-so-good.
And the best thing about takoyaki is that they aren’t just drunk food! Takoyaki feature prominently in Japanese street festivals and as home cooking. You can’t go to any street fair in Japan without seeing a takoyaki vendor. I love having takoyaki in the streets, but I almost kind of sort of like making it at home even more? It seems like Japanese people agree with me because if you ever take a look on the appliances floor of any major electronics store in Japan, you’ll see at-home takoyaki machines. They’re little portable machines that plug in, heat up, and have the perfect little half spherical depressions for making takoyaki. I did an informal poll of my friends living in Japan and almost all of them have one for the express purpose of making takoyaki at home.