For an all-rounded experience of authentic Japanese cuisine, there is no better place to visit than Osaka, fondly known as “The Nation’s Kitchen”. The vibrant, bustling city is known to be the place for foodies to fill their bottomless pits, and you can easily find something to eat at every corner of this gastronomic paradise.
While there are plenty of options that you can stuff your faces silly with, one popular street snack that is a must-try here is takoyaki. For the uninitiated, takoyaki refers to a spherical Japanese appetiser that is made from a wheat flour-based batter that gets its shape from the unique moulded pan it’s cooked in. It usually comes stuffed with ingredients such as diced octopus, but these days, you can also get fillings such as tempura scraps, ham and shrimp.
Dotonbori is a great place to head to if you’re keen to try some authentic takoyaki. However, the streets here are lined with multiple stalls that sell the same thing, so which stall truly has the best takoyaki? Like the true blue Singaporeans we were, we decided to find the Takoyaki stall with the longest queue. Alas, this led us to Takoyaki Juhachiba, which had a snaking long queue that stretched on for about half an hour.
The stall isn’t hard to miss and it can easily be identified by the gargantuan 3D model of a takoyaki that is placed right smack above the restaurant.
Like most places in Japan, you purchase your food via a ticketing machine before queuing up to collect your order from the main counter. They also offer an extensive menu, with numerous flavour options for you to choose from. However, we decided to go back to the basics and ordered 8 pieces of their classic Sauce & Mayonnaise Takoyaki (650 Yen).
After queueing for almost half an hour, we finally managed to get out hands on a piping hot tray of takoyaki. While you’re in the queue, you can also entertain yourself by watching the skilful chefs prepare the snack right before your eyes; it is rather mesmerising!
The takoyaki here is made with a light scatter of crispy fried bits which gave the exterior an interesting texture. However, the skin itself was more on the doughy side and we would have preferred it to be a little bit thinner and crispier.
Break open the sphere and be welcomed by a soft and moist filling that is a nice contrast to its charred exterior. Hidden within the creamy mess are 2 plump pieces of octopus that gave each takoyaki a nice bite and slight sweetness.
While the takoyaki wasn’t half bad, it was nothing to shout about. Perhaps the pressure from the long queue compromised its quality. Regardless, after trying other takoyaki stalls around Osaka, we felt that Takoyaki Juhaichiban was only average at best. If you’re not keen on enduring a long arduous wait, you could give this place a miss.
Japan, 542-0071 Osaka
Chuo Ward, Dotonbori, 1 Chome?7?21
Tel: +81 6-6211-3118
Daily: 11am – 9pm
Nearest Station: Kintetsu-Nippombashi/Osaka-Namba