Takoyaki or Octopus Balls, as it is more commonly known outside of Japan, is a really popular snack from Osaka. I've talked to many Osakans in Tokyo and they are really really really proud of their food. Takoyaki, Kushi Katsu, Kansai Udon, Okonomiyaki, ... the list goes on. Osaka is known for it's good food and having traveled there multiple times, I cannot agree more with my Osakan friends. Osaka is a city with friendlier, livelier people and amazing food. If you like mingling with the locals and having good grub, I highly recommend heading over.
Minatoya was the second stop of my Honorable Snack Run #2 (Ameyoko Market, Ueno). I go to Ameyoko quite a lot to stock up on groceries and to eat good, cheap food. It's one of my favorite places in Japan to pig out. With that being said, I have never tried the Takoyaki at Minatoya. This was my first time. I've walked past it many times, but have never thought about getting them Octopus Balls. I can get them near my house! Why would I get them in Ameyoko Market?! I'd rather save space in my stomach for things that I can't find near my place.
This time however, I got them out of luck. The first snack I had in Honorable Snack Run #2 was the Assorted Xiao Long Bao Set from Ameyoko Yatai. I'm not gonna lie. The Xiao Long Bao set filled me up! That was more of a meal than a snack. After that, I walked around Ameyoko to look for snack number two. For a while, I couldn't find anything that caught my attention. I wanted something that would look good on camera with the skill to maneuver it's way into my digestive system. This is where luck came into play. I was walking my normal route and as I was walking by Minatoya, I looked at it's menu and noticed that I could purchase a set of four Octopus Balls. Four Octopus Balls!? That's doable! I stood in line with my 200 yen and got me those balls for the first time.
200 yen for four balls is super cheap. If you are a genius in maths, like me, you would already have figured out that one Octopus Ball goes for 50 yen. If you could solve that equation, congratulations, join the club and become a Ratketeer. Sign up sheet is to the right of your keyboard, on your table. Just fill that up and mail it back to me at "Honorable Rat, #69 Tokyo Sewerage System, Tokyo, Japan 010-XYZ."
Thank you for putting up with my nonsense. Pointless stupidity out. Snack review in. On with the show! The Octopus Balls were brilliant. Cross my Honorable heart. This is the best Takoyaki that I've had in Tokyo! The skin was super soft and the dough was thinner than a lot of Takoyaki that I've had in this overpopulated metropolis. Also, the piece of octopus was huge! Many places in Tokyo serve up a small piece of Octopus covered in thick dough. Thick skinned balls that are tough to swallow! Don't you just hate that? You just keep chewing and chewing and chewing... but these babies from Minatoya were savory and light. If you are ever in Ueno, make sure you visit Minatoya and grab yourself a handful. These balls are definitely on the same playing field as the best in Osaka.
Honorable Rating: Lick That Plate (5/5)