I love it when street food goes balls out.
Takoyaki is a popular Japanese street food that has its genesis in the city of Osaka. Tako means octopus, and yaki translates into fried or grilled. We're basically talking about a ball of fried octopus.
The standard serving of takoyaki surrounds the boiled bit of tentacle with a wheat flour and egg-based batter. But I prefer the heartier (and still authentic) version at Ramen Fujisan in San Gabriel. There, they apply a similar batter―although only as a coating for a potato mash that entombs the tentacle segment, resulting in a denser and more fulfilling fried ball of octopus.
One of the more satisfying sensations in life is biting into crispy and then sinking into creamy. Something about that combination―in that order―is tactile perfection.
The takoyaki at Ramen Fujisan has the textural payoff handled. But this version also stands out because of the intoxicating deep fish flavor of the octopus. Nodding at tradition, Ramen Fujisan sprinkles the balls with bonito flakes, a topping that is all but mandatory for traditional takes on takoyaki.
Finally, just before serving, traditional condiments of mayonnaise and a house-made takoyaki sauce are drizzled all over the balls. It's silky, creamy, crunchy, and full of flavor.
If octopus tentacle is your thing and you like fried spheres of crunchy food, check out Ramen Fujisan and have yourself a ball...or five.
Ramen Fujisan, 529 E Valley Blvd, Ste 138-B, San Gabriel, (626) 288-1774