What’s good for a visitor isn’t always good for a local. 

Osaka is famous for being the birthplace of takoyaki (fried octopus balls), so it’s only natural to want to get a taste of it when visiting the area. The only problem is, where is a good place to try it?

It’s a question that’s baffled many a visitor, including our own P.K. Sanjun who once jumped in a cab and asked the driver for his recommendation. Even our reporter Seiji Nakazawa, who was born and bred in Osaka, hasn’t visited all the okonomiyaki stores in the city, so he’s always open to new suggestions. In fact, when he was browsing through Reddit recently he came across one recommendation from a foreigner that piqued his curiosity, as they described it as “one of the joys of life”.

▼ So he set out to find it.

While this particular store had become a hot topic with English-speaking Reddit users, Seiji wasn’t too sure about it. You see, the photo he’d seen on Reddit showed the takoyaki contained tenkasu, crunchy bits of deep fried tempura flour batter, and while that’s okay as a topping, it looked like the store had used an extreme amount.

Having grown up in Osaka, Seiji often attended “takopa” (“takoyaki parties”) at friends’ houses, and he used to love using tenkasu as a topping, but he would add just enough to fit inside the ball, allowing it to still look like a regular takoyaki from the outside.

However, when he purchased the takoyaki that had received rave reviews on Reddit, the amount of tempura crumbs was…

▼ …way too much!

The tempura bits were immediately visible, and they were all over the place. In fact, there seemed to be less dough than fried bits in the mix, which, in Seiji’s Osakan eyes, is an offence to takoyaki.

▼ Where did he purchase it? From a takoyaki chain called Juhachiban, which is a famous name in Dotonbori.

This was Seiji’s first time to try a takoyaki like this, and if you’re wondering which one it is, it’s the 8-piece Half and Half Sauce Mayonnaise and Salt, priced at 770 yen (US$5.26).

Starting with the salt version, Seiji was surprised by how much it tasted like tempura. It was so crispy it was almost like another food altogether. The official website does proudly state that its “Crispy Mouthfeel is No.1!“, suggesting this texture is something the chain prides itself on.

Moving on to the sauce mayonnaise version, Seiji felt as if he was now eating some sort of snack that contained a combination of cabbage and octopus. On the bright side, the firmer-than-usual texture made it easier to pick up than regular takoyaki, which can break due to softness, and Seiji had a hunch this texture would be a perfect partner for beer.

The Reddit user who initially recommended the takoyaki did say that beer and this takoyaki was one of the joys of life, so Seiji can’t totally denounce it. He was glad to have gleaned another pearl of wisdom from the conversation on Reddit, but for Seiji, this recommendation just wasn’t for him.

To see the world of Osaka through Seiji’s eyes, these six uniquely Osakan experiences, both good and bad, may surprise you.

Restaurant Information

Takoyaki Juhachiban Dotonbori / たこ焼き 十八番 道頓堀店
Address: Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku, Dotonbori
Open: 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.

Images © SoraNews24
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