When one of our Japanese writers grew frustrated with Mr. Sato spending so much money on his lunch while at the office, they decided to show him that it’s possible to get great food at a fraction of the cost. And not just any food, but takoyaki!

Cheap takoyaki? This place must be in Osaka, right? Wrong! Mr. Sato soon found himself on an altogether different flight from Haneda airport, bound for octopus balls and adventure.

Okay, maybe not adventure, just Miho-Yonago airport in Tottori prefecture. Clearly this takoyaki was now becoming far more expensive than anything Mr. Sato usually buys for lunch, but we think our writer forgot to factor in that little thing known as transportation costs.


The next phase of the journey was to rent a car and drive to a branch of DIO supermarket in Sakaiminato City.


On the outskirts of the store they encountered a food court with a sign outside advertising Fast Food Paku Paku. Pakupaku is one of those great Japanese onomatopoeic words, this one representing ‘eating heartily’ or ‘chowing down’. 

It seems like Fast Food Paku Paku is a chain that’s attached to a lot of DIO and LAMU supermarkets in the Kansai area, so you shouldn’t have to fly all the way to Tottori to sample their wares. (Why our writer decided they had to go to this specific store is a mystery to me!) You can check for local branches of DIO and LAMU here [Japanese].


And sure enough, there were the words declaring takoyaki for sale at 100 yen, as well as other goodies at the same low price such as kakigōri (shaved ice dessert flavoured with syrup) with ice cream on top. Despite the recent increase in consumption tax last year from 5% to 8%, which has left many prices with annoying uneven figures that fill your purse with an excess of one-yen coins, everything here is 100 yen inclusive of tax, so you really can pay with just one coin. (Incidentally, the goods sold in 100 yen stores don’t actually cost 100 yen. They would have cost you 105 yen before the tax rise, and will now set you back 108 yen a pop.)


The place uses a shokken system whereby you buy your meal ticket at a machine then hand it over to the shop staff. The orders were brought out swiftly, so the place does live up to its name of being fast food.

▼ Mr. Sato looking suitably unimpressed.


First up was the kakigōri with ice cream on top. Apparently it wasn’t bad at all! The ice cream was the same as any other ice cream sold in food courts across Japan, the kind which goes into a machine from a tub and is pumped out onto your cone, and the kakigōri itself was drizzled with plenty of syrup. So far so good.

▼Mr. Sato looking suitably confused.


Now for the main event. Takoyaki will usually set you back somewhere in the realm of 400-500 yen, so just how good could it be if it’s being sold at 100 yen a box? Because of the super low price you might have thought that you’d be getting balls the size of marbles, or just one lonely dough ball, but there were six of them, all the same standard size as at any other takoyaki vendor. However, the pieces of octopus inside were pretty tiny, but at this price you can’t really complain.

▼ Takoyaki both looks and sounds kind of disgusting, but it’s actually super delicious, which I suspect has more to do with the sauce than the tako (octopus) inside.


According to Mr. Sato they skimped on the dashi (flavoursome fish flakes) a bit, but it’s a perfectly satisfactory snack. Unfortunately you have to pay extra for mayonnaise, but it tastes great even without it.

▼ Don’t let that grimace fool you – it’s actually pretty delicious!


The existence of this super-cheap takoyaki is relatively known to anyone who doesn’t have a local DIO or LAMU they frequent and, while it’s probably not worth catching a flight across the country for, if there’s one in your area then it’s definitely worth checking out for a cheap lunch or on-the-go snack. After all, it’s Mr. Sato-approved!

Photos © RocketNews24
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