When we confirmed we were going to Osaka back in 2009, Samurai T was very excited since it was well-known as the home town of the "takoyaki", or grilled octupus balls, which he loves - almost as much as he loves me, I suspect. On my end, I never really like octopuses, but for some strange reason I enjoy eating takoyaki very much. Hence we promised to eat to our stomachs' satisfaction, and we did - every single day we were in Osaka.
And Osaka did their part in reminding us constantly that it was "Takoyaki Central". Everywhere we turned, there was a takoyaki street stall or restaurant advertising its famous delicacy in colourful banners and out-of-this-world signboards that is signature to Dotonbori Street.
Giant Tako Balls!
Even the blind can see the giant squid
The first stall we tried on arrival was also the most famous of them all - Japan's Number 1 Takoyaki Stall, tucked away at a side street along Dotonbori main street, leading to a canal bridge (you cannot miss it if you are walking down Dotonbori). Perenially crowded, we were lucky we only needed to queue about 10 minutes before we got our hands on the yummies. We had to stand on the roadside to eat, but we did not care and it tasted fabulous! The batter was excellent and the fillings were generous. It was lovely eating the toasty hot balls (ahem) in cold weather. My only regret was that we only ate from this stall once, since we were both "itchy backside" and wanted to try takoyakis from different places.
Japan's Number 1 Takoyaki Stall: Lives up to its boast
Our second serving of takoyaki came from a street stall outside the entrance of Osaka Castle which was our breakfast. I did not have high expectations as it was outside a tourist spot, but I guess the Japanese love to prove me wrong. They were large and delicious, although the batter tasted different from the other stall - obviously every shop have their own secret ingredients and different recipes, and what ultimately rocks your boat depends on your palate.
After all the fabulous takoyaki we had eaten, we were disappointed by the third stall we patronised, The Red Devil (don't think it is related to Manchester United though) which is also located along Dotonbori. The tako balls were soggy and a little mis-shappened, and the batter tasted strange. Oh well, we couldn't have a 100% hit rate. We could have sampled more takoyakis, but bear in mind we were eating them ON TOP of other oiishi Osaka delicacies like crabs and okonomiyaki, etc. It was a good thing we were walking a lot, otherwise I would probably come back looking LIKE a takoyaki. :PPP
All Red Devils Suck! (But you cannot miss their shop.)
Soggy and out of shape - so sad.