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Anyone seen Takoyaki lately in SF?

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:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6954...

Takoyaki I remember it found on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/aloalosa...

Takoyaki, not as I remember it, but incredible-looking:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tofuwash...

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Sebo
517 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Delica
1 Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA

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  1. 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

      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.

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      Soko Hardware
      1698 Post St, San Francisco, CA

      1. re: Radical347

        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. A Takoyaki cart makes occasional appearances outside La Victoria Bakery & elsewhere.
      http://twitter.com/TakoyakiSF

      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.
      http://twitter.com/SeboSF

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      Sebo
      517 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      Nombe
      2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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

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

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          Izakaya Sozai
          1500 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

          1. 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

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

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4205...

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              Majikku Ramen
              248 Skyline Plaza, Daly City, CA 94015

              9 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

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

                1. re: CarrieWas218

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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.

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                          Delica
                          1 Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA

                          1. re: grayelf

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

                        2. re: grayelf

                          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

                            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.

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                            Delica
                            1 Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA

                  2. 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.
                    https://twitter.com/DELICAsf/status/6...
                    https://www.facebook.com/DELICAsf?ref...

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                    Delica
                    1 Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA

                    5 Replies
                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        I'll definitely be there!

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

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          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.

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                          Delica
                          1 Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA

                          1. re: Debbie M

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

                            http://www.eastbayexpress.com/WhatThe...

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              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. 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.

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                          Genki Ramen
                          3944 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

                          1. 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.

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                            Kamei Restaurant Supply
                            547 Clement St, San Francisco, CA

                            Koreana Plaza
                            2328 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

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

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                              Soko Hardware
                              1698 Post St, San Francisco, CA

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                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.

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                                Mitsuwa
                                675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA

                                 
                                1. re: Debbie M

                                  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:

                                  http://www.zensuke.com/441902.html

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    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

                                    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.