I have a confession to make.
I’m a serious, die-hard, absolutely besotted, painfully addicted takoyaki junkie. There’s just something undeniably moreish about these toothsome, savory morsels originally made in the Japanese port city of Osaka.
When I was a kid, the only place you could actually get takoyaki was a small stall called Samurai Foods by Little Sugi inside the old Rustan’s Supermarket in Makati. These days, there have been a number of cheap knock-offs and a rather posh take on this Japanese street snack that make for perfect afternoon noshing.
Here are my current faves:
- TK Takoyaki – goes for PhP 25.00 for a serving of four large dumplings and you can actually order a box of sixteen dumplings to go for PhP 100.00. It differs slightly in the sense that they use squid rather than octopus and you can actually be quite unorthodox with the sauces as they have a range from traditional sweet Worcestershire-style to spicy to gingery and even a tangy-sweet lemon-flavored topping.
- Sai-Bachi – a bit pricier at PhP 25.00 for three pieces, but they’re quite satisfying and are served in the classic manner with a good dusting of nori furikake as shown at the top of this post.
- Kozui – at PhP 98.00 for a five-piece serve, this has to be the priciest takoyaki fix in the metro. I assure you, however, that it’s all worth it as the helpings are huge, there are generous chunks of octopus in the batter, there are even bits of benishoga (pink Japanese pickled ginger) in the mix, and there’s furikake and katsuoboshi flakes fluttering on top of every serving.