Japanese food breaks out of the mould for a new adventure in flavour.

The Kansai region in and around Osaka is famous for takoyaki, fried dough balls filled with a piping-hot octopus filling. However, one specialty store in the region is turning that tradition on its head, creating a new product with a cold filling, and a new exterior too.

Called the Tako Chibi Inari, these new bite-sized balls of food are the brainchild of Mameda, a store that specialises in…inarizushi.

As you might’ve guessed, the Tako Chibi Inari is a fusion of two popular foods — takoyaki and inarizushi, so instead of having a crispy, hot exterior, each morsel is encased in a chewy, cold, salty sweet pocket of seasoned fried tofu.

▼ Topped with green laver, though, like takoyaki.

Sitting in a boat-shaped tray, just like the ones takoyaki are usually served in, the Tako Chibi Inari (“chibi” means “small”), even come with a sachet of mayonnaise, commonly used as a topping for takoyaki, and a sachet of pickled ginger, a common accompaniment for inarizushi.

▼ Fusion food requires fusion toppings.

A close look at the Tako Chibi Inari reveals the inarizushi pockets are smaller than usual, helping to create the same rounded appearance as octopus balls.

Inside is a mound of rice, which is what you’d expect to find inside inarizushi, but peeking out from within is a piece of octopus, just like the ones you’d find inside takoyaki!

Dipping the ball in mayonnaise completes the fusion between takoyaki and inarizushi, and you won’t have to worry about these burning your tongue, because they’re eaten at room temperature.

While your mind might be fooled into thinking this is takoyaki, your taste buds will relish in the combination of octopus, rice, and sesame seeds. It kind of tastes like a takoyaki octopus ball…but then again, it kind of tastes like inarizushi too.

It’s a surprisingly well thought-out creation, with just the right amount of ingredients to have your taste buds flipping between takoyaki and inarizushi modes with every bite. Each morsel was delicious, and we only wish we could get them here in Tokyo, as they’re currently only available at Mameda stores in Kansai and at the Daimaru Sapporo branch.

We picked ours up at the Daimaru Kyoto branch for 860 yen (US$6.28), so be sure to stop by for a bite of the fusion food if you’re in the area. And while you’re there, don’t forget to pick up a canned cake filled with matcha and cherry blossoms, for another nouveau dining experience.

Related: Mameda Store Locations
Photos ©SoraNews24

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