Takoyaki is a small, round Japanese snack. It's made of wheat flour-based batter, filled with diced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger and green onion. Sprinkled with takoyaki sauce (like Worcestershire), mayonnaise, green laver and dried shavings of bonito, it's my favourite thing to eat. If I could eat one thing forever, takoyaki is the answer 😍
My favourite place to get my takoyaki fix is along Dotonbori, Osaka. The rest of Japan has Gindaco (franchise) and this review is at the end. Btw, I take takoyaki eating very seriously and enjoy keeping a record every time I go to Japan 😆.
My ratings are based off how good they are, compared to Michelin-star takoyaki, Takoriki (review HERE) and whether I would buy it again. My preference is a soft and creamy ball, with a sweet umami flavour. For reference, most of Sydney's takoyaki is an average 4 out of 10 because they're imported or defrosted.
P.S. I've also added poorly designed maps 😳 LOL
Acchichi Honpo あっちち本舗
The first spot is my all-time favourite takoyaki stand in Japan, Acchichi Honpo Dotonbori. The takoyaki were super soft and creamy with effortless chewing. You could swallow the ball whole once it cools down. The balls maintained their shape when picked up with chopsticks. There was a nice thin crispy layer. The sauce blended in well into a sweet umami flavour. The mayo was not too overwhelming. There was a good balance on the sauce, mayonnaise and bonito flakes. They have been consistently generous with the size and serving of their takoyaki and the octopus inside. I've been here every time, sometimes 3 times in a trip, over the last 4 years and they have not disappointed me yet.
The only downside is this place is so popular among locals and tourists, the queue can easily be a minimum of 40 minutes, at 9pm on a week night. They have a dine in option.
Location: 7-19, Soemoncho, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Tip: if you want an instagrammable picture, make sure to say "eat in" to get this cute paper boat.
Cost: 500 yen for 9
Rating: 9.8 out of 10 - I'm more likely to eat here again on my next visit because of their consistency and deliciousness. Worth the wait ✅
Takoyaki juhachiban dotonbori たこ焼き 十八番 道頓堀店
The takoyaki at this stand was very soft, with a nice, thin crispiness on the outside. It was medium sized and held its shape well. There was a few crunchy bits, almost like tempura? It was interesting to have contrasting textures in the bite. There was a hint of ginger in the aftertaste. The octopus was medium, firm and easy to chew. They put red colouring on the inside.
This is a take away store. This place is popular with tourist, as during March 2020, they had no customers due to Covid-19. I think this is a tourist trap because of the location and store front. I would only eat here if the queue is less than 10 people because of the price=quality.
Location: 1 Chome−7−21, Dotonbori, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Tip: The one with the giant takoyaki ball on the front.
Cost: 500 yen for 6
Rating: 8.2 out of 10 (bit pricey - tourist trap)
Takoyaki Wanaka たこ焼道楽 わなか
This stall is located right in the centre of the Dotonbori strip. The takoyaki come out extremely hot (I'm able to eat takoyaki immediately but this was too hot for me). The balls were medium sized and held their shape well. The insides were soft and gooey on mouthfeel. The octopus had a dried, fishy texture to it, if that's possible. They were slightly salty and had a burnt ginger aftertaste. The mayonnaise & sauce condiments helped balanced the salty octopus out, whereas the original (no toppings and sauce) required frequent sips of water due to the salt content.
They have another store in Nipponbashi, and one in Sennichimae, with dine in options. I've had it at both locations in two different years and so far, I've been disappointed by the salt levels. No photos were allowed at the Nipponbashi store.
Location: 1 Chome-6-7 Dotonbori, Osaka
Cost: 500 yen for 8 (Dotonbori store), or 600 yen for 10 (Nipponbashi store)
Rating: 7.4 out of 10
The store with the giant octopus front. The takoyaki were very, very, soft and didn't really hold their shape well. The balls were medium size. The octopus was moderate and bouncy. I could taste a charred texture on the outer layer - not too sure about that but willing to buy another batch for comparison. They went a bit overboard with the sauce and this elevated the sweetness of the octopus. Thankfully, the mayonnaise helped balance the bite. It needed more bonito flakes. These takoyaki were a lot more gooey and creamy.
This store has dine in options and is really popular among locals. We lined up for 20 mins, whereas other stores were empty, during the Covid pandemic.
They have a 'bacon and cheese' ball option.
Location: 1 Chome−10−5 Dotonbori, Osaka
Tip: if you want an instagrammable picture, there is a cute takeaway box in the shape of an octopus. Make sure to say "eat in" to get that box. This black one was their takeaway version.
Price: 790 for 8 (the guy gave me 9 😉)
Rating: 9.0 out of 10 - I'm more likely to eat here again on my next visit because I enjoy the sweeter, soft kind.
Dotombori takohachi sohonten