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Notable Nosh: Takoyaki

Takoyaki 2

Takoyaki is a Japanese specialty that I have long wanted to try after reading about for quite a while. It is prepared by adding batter to a special griddle pan with indentations and placing a chunk of octopus in the batter. More batter is added on top and after a few minutes (as the underside becomes cooked just right) the cook deftly flips the entire assembly to produce a fried ball. These are then served with a variety of different toppings.

I tried this version at Wasabi in Ottawa and two of the toppings were a sweet sauce (possibly Eel Sauce) and dried Bonito flakes, both of which are quite common. The third however, took a left turn just past traditional, being gooey melted cheese. I have to say, that when I read the description in the menu I was a little doubtful and, as it happened, my apprehensions were well founded. Possibly, if some sort of interesting, well matched cheese were added this might have worked, but the cheese was that awful plastic stuff that comes in pre-wrapped slices from the supermarket. The chef may deserve a few points for being inventive, maybe, but in my opinion, this was not a success. I left two of the balls uneaten on my plate.

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