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A Love Letter to Osaka’s Takoyaki

Dear Takoyaki,

I was reminiscing today about our time in Osaka and thinking more about the concept of kuidaore (eating oneself into ruin) – something so many people experience in this culinary city. I was going to write an article about all the reasons we enjoyed Osaka: The massive aquarium with whale sharks,

Whale shark
These things are huge

manta rays,

Osaka Manta
As are these

and octopus.

Osaka Octopus
She was saying hello

The fabulous neighborhood around Dotonbori Street

Dotonbori
Dotonbori Canal and the Glico Man

with its giant animatronic crabs.

Osaka Crab
Kani Doraku crab restaurant

The grand temples with five-story pagodas,

Shitennoji Temple
Shitennoji, the oldest temple in Japan

and that ramen shop that was so satisfying on a rainy evening.

Osaka Ramen
You'll know the Kinryu Ramen shop by the huge dragon out front.

I was going to write about the various other “Yakis of Osaka” like yakitori skewers and yakisoba.

Yakisoba
Yakisoba in Dotonbori

Even okonomiyaki, a savory “as you like it” pancake – delicious with bacon, squid, and green onions – is second only to you, Takoyaki.

Okonomiyaki
A decadent okonomiyaki pancake

Why do I love you so? Let me count the ways.

You don’t play hard to get – I can always find you when I’m looking for you. All I have to do is find a giant octopus perched over a shopfront, and there you are.

Shop Front
The mark of a takoyaki place

It takes mad skills to make you so good, from the pouring of the batter, to the adding of the diced octopus, ginger and onion, to the precisely timed somersault that ensures you’re evenly browned all around.

Making Takoyaki
Getting ready for the first turn

Do you remember the time I watched you being made? I took a little video to mark the occasion:

And it only costs a few dollars to be with you – it’s not like the aforementioned animatronic crab restaurant where we spent $60 for an appetizer.

After you’re plucked out of your sizzling hot grill dimple, placed into a paper tray nestled alongside seven of your friends, slathered with takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise, and dried fish flakes, you’re just perfect.

Takoyaki
The finished product

I try to eat you but your molten-hot magma burns my entire mouth. It reminds me that love hurts sometimes, but it’s always worth it in the end.

If I’m going to eat myself into ruin, I want you to be a part of it.

Hope to see you again soon.

Sam

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