“Huh? Takoyaki?!” is the perfect tagline for this weird new offering.

While a lot has been written about the opposite ends of Japan’s dining spectrum, from casual quick eats like ramen to formal cuisine like kaiseki, homegrown burger chains tend to get overlooked, despite their fantastic locally-geared specials.

That’s okay, though, because their under-the-radar status means we get to enjoy all their best-kept secrets to ourselves. And because you’re our burger-loving friends, we don’t mind sharing some of these secrets with you, including one that Mr Sato stumbled across recently at one of our favourite homegrown burger chains, Dom Dom.

Dom Dom has been serving customers in its home country of Japan for over 50 years, and it always has its finger on the pulse when it comes to new food trends and creative menu ideas. In the past, they’ve wowed us with weird items like the Whole!! Crab Burger, and now, Mr Sato discovered they have a Takoyaki? Burger on the menu for a limited time.

▼ Curious to find out why the burger had a question mark in its name, Mr Sato ordered one as part of a set for 810 yen (US$6.47).

The burger came with a cute sticker on its wrapping which read “takoyaki” in Japanese. Next to it was an octopus, the main ingredient in takoyaki, holding up…a takoyaki.

As you can see, takoyaki are round, fried octopus balls, and if they weren’t so piping burn-your-tongue hot, you’d be able to lay around three of them comfortably in the palm of your hand. So when Mr Sato unwrapped the burger, he was expecting to see a few takoyaki balls sandwiched inside a burger bun, but instead, he saw this.

▼ Um…this filling looks more like a fried croquette?

Lifting the top of the bun, Mr Sato peered inside, looking for octopus balls but he came up empty. The only thing in there was sauce, cabbage, and a flat, fried piece of something that resembled a croquette or a katsu (fried cutlet).

Mr Sato whipped out his phone and did a quick search for the product on the Dom Dom site, where he found the following description for the burger ingredients:

“Takokatsu, which is packed with octopus, is topped with sauce, bonito flakes, and green laver. It goes well with crispy cabbage”.

So the fried cutlet was a Takokatsu!

Mr Sato had heard of tonkatsu (pork cutlet) and chicken katsu (chicken cutlet) before, but this was his first time hearing the word “tako” (octopus) combined with katsu, and it would be his first time tasting it as well.

Reading further on the website, Mr Sato discovered the reason for the takokatsu:

“If you try to sandwich a round takoyaki it will roll far away, so we made it into a crispy ‘takokatsu’ and sandwiched it inside the bun! This product is both easy to eat and delicious! When you eat it, you’ll be able to understand why we still call it ‘takoyaki’!!”

Although Mr Sato was still a little uncomfortable with the word “takoyaki” being used when the round balls associated with them were nowhere to be seen, he was tickled by the “it will roll far away” reason for the unconventional-looking ingredient, so he pushed his fears aside and took a big bite of the burger.

Mr Sato’s eyebrows shot up in surprise as he chewed and discovered that…this actually tasted just like takoyaki! Sure, the coating was a lot crunchier, but as for the filling, it was identical to what you’d find inside a takoyaki ball, and the sauce and mayonnaise topping completed the familiar flavour profile. They certainly weren’t wrong when they said you had to eat it to understand why it’s called the “Takoyaki? Burger”!

As Mr Sato polished off his meal, he was reminded of how good Dom Dom is at capturing the taste of Japan in its burgers. This latest offering is a fantastic follow-up to the chain’s whole fried crab burger and he wholeheartedly recommends trying it. Mr Sato himself will definitely be going back for seconds, and next time, he’ll be sure to wear his takoyaki sneakers while he’s there.

Store Information

Dom Dom Hamburger Asakusa Hanayashi Store / ドムドムハンバーガー 浅草花やしき店
Address: Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Asakusa 2-28-1
東京都台東区浅草 2-28-1
Hours: 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

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