Takoyaki (たこ焼き or 蛸焼?) is basically a ball-shaped Japanese snack made from wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. It is usually filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce, similar to Worcestershire sauce, and mayonnaise. The takoyaki is then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi). There are many variations to the takoyaki recipe, for example, ponzu (soy sauce with dashi and citrus vinegar), goma-dare (sesame-and-vinegar sauce) or vinegared dashi. I actually grew up eating takoyaki because my late godfather who's part Japanese introduced me to it. During that time, there was only one store that sells yummy takoyaki. It had been imitated by other takoyaki kiosks but it had never been replicated. Unfortunately, although the said takoyaki stall is still around up to this day, its quality is no longer the same. Hence, I've been in search of th kind of takoyaki I've grown to love all these years. So when I was invited to try Tamayaki at SM North Edsa Main Building, I got pretty psyched up about it!
I first heard of Tamayaki when my college buddy Rose, who lived next to its main branch in P. Guevarra Street in San Juan City told me about it. She knew about my search for the kind of takoyaki I've had as a young child. But as fate would have it, I never had the time to visit the said place until after I've had tasted them for this food review.
I love Tamayaki's bright and well-lit restaurants. With my favorite color purple, you could say I am biased. But it also had shades of bubble gum pink plus one of the cutest and comfy chairs in tamago (egg) shapes. Tamayaki does not only offer takoyaki in various flavors and fillings, it also has an array of bubble teas, milk teas and fruit drinks. So while I was there, I've tried on their milk teas with rice balls, pearls and popping yam balls. The rice balls tasted like what tiny glutinous rice balls (in the vernacular, we refer them as "galapong") and they perfectly complement the taro based drinks. The other bloggers liked the Macha Tea with Red Azuki Beans. I'mn ot a fan of green tea so I chose to stick to Wintermelon Milk Tea with Pearls. The pearls are chewy and not too sweet. Oh, and just like in any other bubble teas, you can choose to have your drink from zero sugar to 100% sugar. So drinking milk teas will not be a problem for the health conscious.
As I dig into my first basket of Tamayaki's Seasoned Octopur Takoyaki, I couldn't help but be amaazed that although this might not exactly be the kind of takoyaki I've had as a kid, this is the closest thing to it. Rich in filling (unlike other cheap 'takoyaki' stalls that only had veggies as filling), Tamayaki Takoyaki had a balanced filling inside--you could even see the 'octopus' and the seaweed when you try to sort of 'dissect' the insides of the takoyaki balls. In fact, that's probably the most effective way to see how each variety of Tamayaki takoyaki balls differ from one another. You see, when you just see them, they all look e same on the outside. But when you cut them, it's the only way to know what kind of takoyaki that is.
What's great about these Tamayaki Takoyaki balls are its crunchyness. I find it amazing that it is crunchy on the outside but soft and yummy on the inside. The spicy herbed mayo also added some kick for those who like their takoyaki balls spicy. It had a hint of curry too at some point.
I was very fortunate to have been able to try Seasoned Octopus Takoyaki (Php115), Kani and Shrimp (115), Kani and Mozzarella (115), Grilled Steak (125), Mussels and Cheese (125), Ham and Mozzarella, and my personal favorite, Korean Pork Barbecue (95). As their tagline says, "Takoyaki never tasted so good", they're just being true to their words.
After eating four Tamayaki takoyaki balls, we came to point that we were surprised to feel that we're full. That's because Tamayaki Takoyaki balls are the biggest takoyaki balls I've had ever encountered on my search of my beloved takoyaki balls.
More than the awesome takoyaki balls, Tamayaki is one creative restaurant that's gaining popularity for its wide range of innovative set or flavors of milk teas, refreshing fruit juices and takoyaki balls. It's the first of its kind to operate in the Philippine market (other takoyaki are either stalls or kiosks only), targetting the busy working set and youngsters who wants to satisfy their cravings for Japanese takoyaki and milk teas.
Visit a Tamayaki Branch :
SM City North EDSA
SM City Fairview
Fishermall Quezon Avenue
P Guevarra Street, San Juan (Main Branch)
Check out their social networking sites: