Takoyaki Yamachan: Traditional with a Twist

Takoyaki is one of our favorite snacks of all time, and so we got excited to find out about Takoyaki Yamachan in San Francisco’s Japantown! If you’re unfamiliar with these tasty goodies, they’re basically balls of wheat flour-based batter with octopus inside that are cooked in special pans with little inverted half dome molds. You pour some batter into each mold, let the exterior solidify, then drop a piece or two of octopus in and flip the whole thing upside down to seal everything in and complete the ball shape.

In Japan it’s a relatively common street food that you can get at food stands, but it’s much less common in the States. Overall, we were really impressed with what we tried, so let’s get straight to it!

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Negimayo (but cheese)

One of the awesome things that Takoyaki Yamachan has done is move beyond just the traditional preparation and to experiment with new flavors. The first, one we tried was sort of a mixture of two different menu items – negimayo and cheese. The negimayo is usually served with green onion topping, ponzu sauce, mayonnaise, seaweed, and bonito flakes. The cheese takoyaki is prepared with cheese topping, takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise, seaweed and bonito flakes. The one that we got was basically the negimayo, but with cheese instead of mayo.

We were surprised how well the cheese flavor went with everything and were excited to try something familiar, but new! If you’ve had takoyaki before, definitely try this one; it’ll broaden you horizons!

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The regular takoyaki is more along the lines of the traditional preparation and is made with takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise, seaweed, and bonito flakes. If you’ve never had takoyaki before, this is where you should start. We really enjoyed Takoyaki Yamachan’s recipe, but the only thing we thought could make it a little better would be to add just a bit more sauce and toppings. Not much! But a little more of each ingredient could really add a lot of flavor, especially the bonito flakes and seaweed. It’s still SO good as-is, and we’re definitely going to be regulars here going forward!

takoyaki yamachan - takoyaki held in chop sticks

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