Tonteiyaki: A Twist on an Osaka Classic

Tanuki says "Eat Tonteiyaki!"

I have no idea how it happened, but takoyaki stalls have been cropping up practically everywhere in the metro.  For some odd reason or another, it’s become the snack of choice for people on the go.  I can’t blame them as it’s both portable and filling; throw in the fact that it tastes great, and you’ve got yourself a winning street-stall nosh.

Of late, there have been a number of unusual takes on this classic Osaka street-snack.  TK Takoyaki offers ginger and lemon sauces as a variation on the usual tonkatsu sauce (that thick tangy stuff usually sold under the Bulldog label).  Maru Maru over at Glorietta IV’s Food Choices adds a sharp hit of benishoga (pickled pink ginger) to its octopus dumplings.  Kozui, on the other hand, swanks it up and adds fluttery katsuoboshi (dried bonito fillet) shavings to the takoyaki before serving.

Then, there’s this recent find: tonteiyaki.

Forming the dumplings in the grill

Tonteiyaki is the stock-in-trade of a little stall called Ton Ton Tei.  Unlike takoyaki which – obviously – involves bits of octopus [tako], these dumplings are filled with a mix of vegetables, soy flour, mushrooms, chicken, and shrimp.  The result is a seriously flavorful dumpling made even more unusual with the addition of a sauce that is faintly redolent of cinnamon.

Ready for saucing up!

I don’t know if these will ever be a mainstream delight, but I have to admit that they’re almost dangerously moreish and are quite satisfying.  Give them a try; you’re bound to like them.  😉

Ton Ton Tei: Ground Floor, Cash and Carry Mall, Makati City.  Tonteiyaki is P 28.00 for a hefty three-piece serve.