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,

[ptcPhoto filename=”whaleShark.jpg” title=”Whale shark” caption=”These things are huge” position=”center”]

manta rays,

[ptcPhoto filename=”OsakaManta.jpg” title=”Osaka Manta” caption=”As are these” position=”center”]

and octopus.

[ptcPhoto filename=”OsakaOctopus.jpg” title=”Osaka Octopus” caption=”She was saying hello” position=”center”]

The fabulous neighborhood around Dotonbori Street

[ptcPhoto filename=”Dotonbori.jpg” title=”Dotonbori” caption=” Dotonbori Canal and the Glico Man” position=”center”]

with its giant animatronic crabs.

[ptcPhoto filename=”OsakaCrab.jpg” title=”Osaka Crab” caption=”Kani Doraku crab restaurant” position=”center”]

The grand temples with five-story pagodas,

[ptcPhoto filename=”Shitennoji.jpg” title=”Shitennoji Temple” caption=”Shitennoji, the oldest temple in Japan” position=”center”]

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

[ptcPhoto filename=”OsakaRamen.jpg” title=”Osaka Ramen” caption=”You’ll know the Kinryu Ramen shop by the huge dragon out front.” position=”center”]

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

[ptcPhoto filename=”Yakisoba.jpg” title=”Yakisoba” caption=”Yakisoba in Dotonbori” position=”center”]

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

[ptcPhoto filename=”Okonomiyaki.jpg” title=”Okonomiyaki” caption=”A decadent okonomiyaki pancake” position=”center”]

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.

[ptcPhoto filename=”ShopFront.jpg” title=”Shop Front” caption=”The mark of a takoyaki place” position=”center”]

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.

[ptcPhoto filename=”TakoMaker.jpg” title=”Making Takoyaki” caption=”Getting ready for the first turn” position=”center”]

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.

[ptcPhoto filename=”Takoyaki.jpg” title=”Takoyaki” caption=”The finished product” position=”center”]

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.

&#x2661

Sam

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