Hint: it’s because you can only buy it at one specific place. 

You’ve heard of takoyaki, octopus pieces in doughy balls of batter grilled on a hot plate, but have you heard of “Unagi Takoyaki?” This version of “octopus balls” is totally unique to Tsukiji Gindaco, a takoyaki chain restaurant, and comes with eel as well as octopus. But if you were to ask our Japanese-language reporter Yuichiro Wasai what it tastes like, he’d be hard-pressed to tell you anything beyond “takoyaki and eel”.

Still, he’d make sure you understand how delicious it is. It may just be “takoyaki and eel”, but with two such solid ingredients, there’s no way it wouldn’t be good. The only problem is that not all Tsukiji Gindaco branches serve it–in fact, it’s a dish exclusive to just one branch.

The official name of the dish is “Unatama Takoyaki“, combining the word for eel (“unagi”) and ball (“tama”), and it comes as a plate of six for 800 yen (US$5.99). It’s made with Tsukiji Gindaco’s signature crispy batter and dressed with takoyaki sauce, green onions, thin-cut omelet strips, kabayaki eel (eel broiled with soy sauce), and shredded seaweed. The eel isn’t baked into the takoyaki, but rather loaded on top.

▼ It’s hard to see, but the end of a piece of eel is poking out here where the red arrow is pointing.

You don’t get a full-length eel filet like you would with an unagi bowl, but it does come with several smaller pieces. Though it isn’t a lot of eel, it’s the perfect amount to balance out the takoyaki and give the dish a sense of unity. Larger sizes would be too much.

As for where Yuichiro found a Tsukiji Gindaco that sells Unatama Takoyaki, it was…

Inside Meiji Jingu baseball stadium, in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward!

Yes, this baseball stadium food stall is the only Tsukiji Gindaco where you can buy Unatama Takoyaki (just like the Jingu Stadium branch of Freshness Burger was the only place you could get the Home Run Burger).

Now’s the best time to try it, too, in the temperate months of April and May. With baseball season starting up, what better time to enjoy takoyaki with a side of eel than while supporting your favorite team at a game on a cool spring day? The sun usually isn’t as strong, and the temperature is generally neither too hot nor too cold. It makes for the perfect weather–and the perfect setting–to make your ordinary Unatama Takoyaki taste five times better.

▼ They also have other unique takoyaki dishes, like the Green Onion & Mayonnaise loved by Tokyo Swallows player Naomichi Nishiura (called “Negi Mayo Nishiura-jan”) and the Luxurious Spicy Cod Roe Cheese (called the “Zeitaku Cheese Mentaiko”) based on Swallows infielder Hideki Nagaoka.

If you’re interested, definitely give it a taste. With Golden Week coming up, it might be the perfect opportunity!

Restaurant information
Tsukiji Gindaco (Tokyo Stadium Branch) / 築地銀だこ(TOKYO STADIUM店)
Address: Tokyo-to Shinjuku-ku Kasumigaoka-machi 3-1 Meiji Jingu Stadium Outfield Area (near Gate 1)
東京都新宿区霞ヶ丘町3-1明治神宮野球場 外野エリア(1GATE付近)

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