- Mayuka Ueno
[2019 Edition] 8 Must-Try Takoyaki Shops in Osaka
Takoyaki is one of the famous foods of Osaka, and you will come across several takoyaki shops while walking around the city. This article will introduce 8 particularly delicious places to get your hands on this local delicacy. Each shop has something special to make it stand out, so why not try a bunch of different ones while walking around?
1. Takoyaki-doraku Wanaka
Takoyaki-doraku Wanaka gets rave reviews from Osaka locals and always has a long line of customers. The takoyaki here are made with a batter full of flavor due to the dashi (stock) made with kombu (kelp) and bonito. They contain pieces of plump octopus, and have a crispy outside and gooey inside. Takoyaki traditionally come topped with takoyaki sauce, but Wanaka lets customers choose from four different kinds of condiments. First, there is the traditional takoyaki sauce, which is characterized by its smooth and tangy flavor. Second, there is salt, and they use mineral-rich, kettle-cooked salt from Okinawa to bring out the natural flavors of the batter and octopus. Third, there is soy sauce, of which the fragrance that seeps into the batter and the light flavor create a quintessentially Japanese taste! Finally, there is doro sauce, which is a thicker-than-usual and slightly spicy takoyaki sauce. If you order the O-iri (500 JPY (incl. tax)), you will get to enjoy two takoyaki each from 4 flavors of your choice, picked out from among the 4 flavors described above as well as limited-time flavors that vary by the season. It's a great choice for those who don't know what to order! The main branch can be accessed within 5 minutes on foot from Namba Station on the Osaka Metro Midosuji Line and Nankai Electric Railway.
A regular order of takoyaki costs 450 JPY (incl. tax) for 8 pieces, or 600 JPY (incl. tax) for 12 pieces.
2. Tako no Tetsu
This is a rare kind of takoyaki restaurant where customers can make their own takoyaki. While takoyaki are the perfect on-the-go food, it can also be quite fun to eat takoyaki you made yourself while sitting at a table and indulging in lively conversation. When you make the takoyaki yourself, you can set the level of doneness, toppings, and sauce all to your liking! However, don't be afraid to ask the staff if you need some help. In addition to traditional takoyaki, you can also order sanzoku-yaki (meat-filled) takoyaki, curry takoyaki, tropical takoyaki (filled with corn, cheese, and pineapple), and more! It's easily accessible from Umeda Station, so why not add some memorable takoyaki to your Osaka sightseeing itinerary?
With locations in both Umeda and Namba, Aidu-ya is actually said to have been the inventor of takoyaki! The takoyaki here stand out from the pack for their comparatively small size, as well as the fact that they are served without any sauce on them. This is due to the shop carrying out the founder's wish to create takoyaki that "can be eaten just with one's fingers, is cheap, and is still tasty even when cooled down." However, it is not the case that eating the takoyaki here with sauce is prohibited, as takoyaki sauce, vinegary soy sauce, and spice power are all provided for you to use at your discretion. The most recommended item here is the Ganso Rodeo Takoyaki, a prototype of the modern-day takoyaki which is filled with beef tendon, konjac, and spring onion instead of octopus. It's a masterful dish in which the takoyaki batter flavored with soy sauce dashi matches perfectly with the savory beef tendon and konjac. Please visit Aidu-ya to learn about the roots of takoyaki! The takoyaki here are 500 JPY for 12 pieces, 620 JPY for 15 pieces, 740 JPY for 18 pieces, and 860 JPY for 21 pieces (all prices include tax).
4. Abeno Takoyaki Yamachan 2nd Store
Accessible within 5 minutes on foot from Tennoji Station on the JR, Osaka Metro, and Kintetsu Railway lines, this takoyaki shop is loved by the locals just as much as by tourists. The batter is made with a blend of chicken stock that is simmered for four hours with 10 types of fruits and vegetables, and a Japanese-style dashi made with kombu and bonito, so the takoyaki are delicious on their own without any toppings.
The cooking method is unique as well, as these takoyaki are cooked for a long time at a high temperature on an extra thick takoyaki pan. The umami is locked inside and the delicious flavors of the dashi burst in your mouth when you take a bite. The takoyaki here cost 510 JPY (incl. tax) for an order of 6.
5.Osaka Americamura Kogaryu Main Branch
Americamura (American Village) is the center of youth culture in Osaka and is known as the place to go to pick up some stylish clothing and other goods. This takoyaki shop is so popular, it's become somewhat of a landmark of Americamura! It is very serious when it comes to the taste and ingredients for its takoyaki, and has been listed in the "MICHELIN Guide Kyoto Osaka" for three years in a row since 2016.
The takoyaki here consist of a batter made with 7 kinds of dashi and mountain yam that is stuffed with a hearty portion of madako (common octopus), resulting in a fluffy and soft texture. You will be blown away by the flavor once you top the takoyaki with the special house-made takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise that is made only with egg yolks and has a reduced level of acidity. In addition to the traditional-style Odo Sauce Mayo 10-piece (400 JPY), you can also order many other flavors such as the Kakumei no Negi-pon 10-piece (500 JPY), with the refreshing flavors of green onion and ponzu (citrus-seasoned soy sauce), and the Black Pepper, Salt, and Mayonnaise 10-piece (450 JPY).
There is also a dining area on the 2nd floor, so this is a great place to stop by for a rest and some takoyaki if you are tired from shopping.
6. HANA DAKO
Located just one minute on foot from Osaka Station, HANA DAKO's selling point is that it only uses high-quality raw octopus tentacles in its takoyaki. The umami comes not just from the broth used in the batter, but from the octopus itself, creating a superbly delicious takoyaki.
Other than the traditional takoyaki, another recommendation is the Negi Mayo 6-piece (550 JPY (incl. tax)), which is covered with so much green onion you can't even see the takoyaki underneath. The green onions on top of this perfectly crispy takoyaki are just as refreshing to look at as they are to eat, and their flavor matches perfectly with the takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise. There are also some reasonably priced sets pairing together takoyaki with a beer that you are sure to enjoy.
7. Acchichi Honpo Dotonbori Branch
The takoyaki from Acchichi Honpo are known for their fragrant and crispy outside and gooey inside. The secret to the taste of these takoyaki lies in the special iron takoyaki pan, which cooks the thin surface of the takoyaki until they reach the utmost level of crispiness. Most takoyaki shops use takoyaki pans made from copper, which is easy to use, but it takes a high level of skill to use an iron takoyaki pan properly. This leads to the takoyaki having a texture that you can't experience anywhere else!
Furthermore, the takoyaki are filled with octopus so fresh that it could be served as sashimi, leading to an unbeatable texture. An order of takoyaki costs 500 JPY (incl. tax), and there are 9 different flavors to choose from. There is also a selection of alcohol to choose from, as alcohol pairs exceptionally well with takoyaki. You can access Acchichi Honpo within 5 minutes on foot from Namba Station on the Osaka Metro Midosuji Line and Sennichimae Line.
Akaoni uses madako and other carefully selected domestic ingredients in its takoyaki, and was listed in the "Michelin Guide Kyoto Osaka" in 2018.
The signature item here is the Takoyaki (500 JPY (incl. tax)) which comes in 5 flavors, including traditional-style with a sweet takoyaki sauce. However, the Chapu-chapu (500 JPY (incl. tax)), a type of takoyaki submerged in dashi flavored with yuzu (a type of citrus fruit), is also recommended. The crispy takoyaki soak up all the delicious umami from the dashi, and when you take a bite you will be overwhelmed by the flavor of the dashi and the refreshing taste of the yuzu, creating a flavor experience totally different from regular takoyaki! Definitely try this dish out if you can! The shop is located 3 minutes on foot from Namba Station on the Kintetsu Namba Line and Hanshin Namba Line.
That wraps up the list. Takoyaki is known by locals as the "soul food" of Osaka, and there are many shops in the city selling takoyaki in a variety of styles. Please try a bunch of different shops while wandering around Osaka in order to experience the enthusiasm and passion surrounding this dish!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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