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Anyone seen Takoyaki lately in SF?

sweet100s Oct 24, 2010 01:39 AM

Has anyone seen Takoyaki lately?

The version I remember from a summer living in Tokyo was at the Mitsukoshi department store lunch counter. It was a small lunch counter in a corner of the store served only (or mostly) Takoyaki balls like in the picture below atop a mound of shredded raw (completely raw) green cabbage with dark sweet sauce in squirt bottles on the counters.

References to takoyaki at Sebo and Delica in the Ferry Building:

Takoyaki I remember it found on Flickr:

Takoyaki, not as I remember it, but incredible-looking:

517 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

1 Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA

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  1. CarrieWas218 RE: sweet100s Oct 24, 2010 09:28 AM

    Tampopo always has it on the menu and is one of the best I've ever tasted. I'm lucky that it is walking distance for me, part of Japantown and in the Buchanan part of the mall (not the indoors areas).

    Here are pictures from my fried dough blog: http://frieddoughho.com/takoyaki-japa...

    2 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218
      Radical347 RE: CarrieWas218 Oct 24, 2010 07:32 PM

      Do you know if they make them from scratch? I saw them on Tampopo's menu, but they list them as "Deep-fried" which makes me believe they're the frozen kind that's just thrown into a vat of oil. They do have the right toppings, though, and the pics do look delicious!

      It's pretty difficult to find made from scratch (considering you can get it all over the place in Japan) but it's surprisingly easy to DIY. You can pick up the griddles at Soko Hardware or Ichiban Kan for around $20-25. That way you can make your own variations too - I've experimented with using a green tea base and whole wheat flour.

      Soko Hardware
      1698 Post St, San Francisco, CA

      1. re: Radical347
        CarrieWas218 RE: Radical347 Oct 27, 2010 06:19 PM

        I do not know definitively, but I am going to guess they are made from scratch because the octopus inside is so tender. If they were frozen, I think the seafood would be far more on the rubbery side.

        Actually, thinking about it, I *did* get one that was still a bit underdone. Meaning, I was getting some un-cooked batter so if they were frozen, it would make sense that they would be consistently cooked through so these must be made fresh.

        And the toppings are spot-on.

    2. Melanie Wong RE: sweet100s Oct 24, 2010 09:38 AM

      A Takoyaki cart makes occasional appearances outside La Victoria Bakery & elsewhere.

      Nombe has them sometimes.

      Haven't tried either of those. But I did catch some at Sebo on a Sunday izakaya night, menu changes weekly.

      517 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      La Victoria Bakery
      2937 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      1. RWCFoodie RE: sweet100s Oct 24, 2010 10:47 AM

        Love the photo you found on Flickr: it looks exactly like the takoyaki we had at the night market in Richmond (suburb of Vancouver) BC a few years ago. The line was incredible; they couldn't make them fast enough - Wish we had a night market like that here.

        1. DezzerSF RE: sweet100s Oct 24, 2010 12:39 PM

          Izakaya Sozai has them, and they're pretty good.

          Izakaya Sozai
          1500 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

          1. b
            bigwheel042 RE: sweet100s Oct 28, 2010 09:48 PM

            The new Let's Roll on Irving currently has a takoyaki special for $2.99. I tried it today - 4 takoyaki come topped with bonito shavings, finely shredded nori, mayo, and a sweet barbecue sauce. I'm far from a takoyaki aficionado but thought this version was more than OK considering the price.

            They also have a $1.99 California roll special which was also decent.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bigwheel042
              shanghaikid RE: bigwheel042 Oct 31, 2010 06:59 PM

              the takoyaki seem different. not like the one i had in j town decades ago. the octopus was chewy, indicating it was previously frozen. also tried the chicken karange (4.49). tender chicken with lots of breading and topped with jalepeno cheese. kind of strange......

            2. Robert Lauriston RE: sweet100s May 10, 2011 09:41 AM

              Majikku Ramen in Daly City has it on the menu, but it's deep-fried.


              Majikku Ramen
              248 Skyline Plaza, Daly City, CA 94015

              9 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                CarrieWas218 RE: Robert Lauriston May 12, 2011 04:10 PM

                Robert, you say "but it's deep-fried" like that is a bad thing....

                1. re: CarrieWas218
                  Tripeler RE: CarrieWas218 May 12, 2011 04:12 PM

                  Deep frying is certainly not the way takoyaki is normally prepared. Sounds like a handy "from the freezer" method in a cheap izakaya.

                  1. re: CarrieWas218
                    Robert Lauriston RE: CarrieWas218 May 12, 2011 04:15 PM

                    I said that because of the comment by Radical347 above. I don't think I've ever had the traditional version to compare.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      grayelf RE: Robert Lauriston May 12, 2011 07:33 PM

                      Oh I do hope you get the chance to try takoyaki made the traditional way! It is delightful. Much as I love things deepfried, I'm not sure I'd consider iit takoyaki if prepared that way.

                      1. re: grayelf
                        bbulkow RE: grayelf May 13, 2011 10:12 AM

                        The only prep I know is the little pickup trucks outside the JR stations in Japan late at night. Those were not exactly deep fried, and not exactly *not* deep fried. Kind of in the middle.

                        1. re: bbulkow
                          grayelf RE: bbulkow May 13, 2011 12:25 PM

                          The one I'm familiar with and understand to be traditional is the "waffle iron" version where the batter is poured into a whack of little round moulds and sort of baked, similar to the one in the OP's first flickr link. Not too oily which is nice. Fun to watch while they are made as the operators frantically roll the balls to achieve an even doneness. I wonder if the Delica ones are like this at the Thurs FPFM. I prefer the small ones and can't tell if they are from the facebook pic.

                          1 Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA

                          1. re: grayelf
                            wally RE: grayelf May 13, 2011 02:01 PM

                            That is the way that I had them in Tokyo at a stand that I think was in a train station.

                        2. re: grayelf
                          RWCFoodie RE: grayelf May 13, 2011 09:07 PM

                          That's the way I've had them - the pan looks similar to the one for abelskivers - except the ones I've seen are rectangular (the pan, not the takoyaki balls).

                          Had them at the Night Market in Richmond BC a couple of years ago. And just 2 weeks ago we had them in Honolulu at the food floor of the Shirokiya dept store at the Ala Moana Shopping Center...

                          They were definitely not deep fried FWIW....

                          1. re: RWCFoodie
                            Tripeler RE: RWCFoodie May 13, 2011 10:45 PM

                            Yes, Takoyaki are definitely not deep fried. Yes, a bit of oil is rubbed on to the surface of the cast-iron hemispheres used to cook the batter containing octopus bits and other ingredients. The best way to get an idea of what they are like is to pay a visit to Delica in the Ferry Bldg. later this month when employees from Kansai will be making and serving them.

                            1 Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA

                  2. Melanie Wong RE: sweet100s May 12, 2011 07:37 PM

                    Delica announced that it will serve fresh takoyaki at the Ferry Plaza farmers market from May 26 through August. Apparently the owners are from Kansai where takoyaki are a specialty.

                    1 Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                      Robert Lauriston RE: Melanie Wong May 13, 2011 09:32 AM

                      The Thursday market, from 10am-2pm.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                        Debbie M RE: Melanie Wong May 15, 2011 09:26 PM

                        I'll definitely be there!

                        I think any takoyaki described as "deep fried" is pre-made and from the freezer.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                          Debbie M RE: Melanie Wong May 26, 2011 03:00 PM

                          I had Delica's takoyaki today at the FB. Excellent! Cooked perfectly -- browned on the outside and creamy on the inside, without being slimy, which sometimes happens if they skimp on the cooking time (there was about a 25 min. wait, though, so I availed myself of some Scream pistachio sorbet). A little on the smallier side, which was good, because they cooled down a little quicker -- a molten takoyaki center can have an almost nuclear effect on the tongue/roof of the mouth.

                          I predict many return visits this summer.

                          And 10% of the proceeds goes to Japan earthquake relief.

                          1 Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA

                          1. re: Debbie M
                            Melanie Wong RE: Debbie M Jun 5, 2011 10:56 AM

                            Have you tried the new vendor at the Temescal farmers market, Takoyaki Yum?


                            1. re: Melanie Wong
                              shanghaikid RE: Melanie Wong Jun 5, 2011 12:10 PM

                              takoyaki yum isn't inside the temescal farmers market. they are in front of a house at 491 cavour st, across from the parking lot of the dmw which hosts the temescal f.m.
                              look for a pic of a smiling octopus. on a tree or a solidatary eurasian lady cooking in the middle of the block.

                              all their ingredients are store brought, nothing original. interesting renditon. everything cooked to order. will post review soon.

                        2. Pei RE: sweet100s May 15, 2011 05:55 PM

                          I just had a very nice version at Genki Ramen last Friday. The version there is spherical like in your second photo, and topped with a little yakisoba (ish) sauce, mayo, and bonito flakes. They were hot and crispy on the outside with a soft custardy interior, and a little piece of octopus in the center. I enjoyed it a lot. Even better was the seafood okonomiyaki. I know, not the same for a lot of takoyaki lovers, but really worth a try if you like the basic concept of a fried batter with seafood.

                          Genki Ramen
                          3944 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

                          1. Robert Lauriston RE: sweet100s May 16, 2011 08:45 AM

                            If anyone's interested in making their own, I saw takoyaki pans for $20 at Kitchen Plus, the housewares place next to Koreana Plaza, and at Kamei I saw a tool that by the drawings on the package (no English) is intended for turning the takoyaki.

                            Kamei Restaurant Supply
                            547 Clement St, San Francisco, CA

                            Koreana Plaza
                            2328 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                              CarrieWas218 RE: Robert Lauriston May 16, 2011 11:39 AM

                              And they are available in a variety of sizes at Soko Hardware.

                              Soko Hardware
                              1698 Post St, San Francisco, CA

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                Debbie M RE: Robert Lauriston May 16, 2011 05:44 PM

                                Was the tool something other than two wooden skewers?

                                Coming to the San Jose Mitsuwa, June 2-5, as part of their "Umaimono" Japanese Gourmet Foods Fair:

                                "Next, from Osaka, “Takoyaki” of “Takoya Kukuru” , is currently the top favorite snack at the Universal Studio Japan City Walk. The airy soft skin, and its pronounced texture of chopped octopus are their pride. Their rich sauce is unmistakable in its flavor!
                                Don’t miss their “Apple Pie”, Baked Sweet Potato, and “Chaimon Sweet Potato” as well.
                                6/2(Thu) - 5(Sun) San Jose "

                                The takoyaki vendor they had last year used white wine in their batter. Pretty good.

                                675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA

                                1. re: Debbie M
                                  Robert Lauriston RE: Debbie M May 16, 2011 05:51 PM

                                  The tool was kind of like a small icepick, though it wasn't pin-sharp and it looked like it was covered in teflon or silicone. Here's another one:


                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                    Debbie M RE: Robert Lauriston May 16, 2011 06:37 PM

                                    Hmm, I guess the handle is for the amateur home cook. It's pretty impressive to see a "pro" tear through row after row, forming perfect orbs with only their fast-moving skewers/sticks/picks.

                                  2. re: Debbie M
                                    mhuang RE: Debbie M Jun 6, 2011 04:30 PM

                                    I think it might be the same vendor as last year, as there was limited English signage around the booth that mentioned having white wine in the batter.

                                    Very airy (deflated quite rapidly after being put into a box), the centers were gooey, and the octopus pieces were just the right size and tenderness. It's definitely fun to watch them make it. There was a slight wait for the takoyaki ~10 minutes from the end of the line to getting the order boxed. It seems they brought all their packaging from Japan, as the bag and box are very Japanese.

                                    8 pieces of takoyaki for $6.90 + tax.

                                2. t
                                  t.susannah.chen RE: sweet100s Sep 14, 2011 11:30 PM

                                  sweet100s, I think this article was written for you!

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