A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 19, 2019
Takoyaki (Japanese octopus ball/dumpling)

"Takoyaki” (or “tako-yaki") are Japanese wheat flour balls filled with octopus, tempura, ginger, green onion and other ingredients (as desired). The “octopus balls” are a popular Japanese street food. A special takoyaki pan is used to make the balls; they are turned over during the cooking process, then topped with seaweed and sometimes cheese sauce.

“A permanent fixture along the Ginza’s Namiki Dori, however, is a pushcart specializing in ‘takoyaki’” was printed in the San Francisco (CA) Chronicle on January 15, 1971. “And delicious festival-type foods, ranging from a swirl of cotton candy to little wooden boxes of steaming tako-yaki, octopus dumplings, mix their aromas in the air” was printed in the Boston (MA) Sunday Globe on January 12, 1975.

The “octopus balls” are often cooked without adding octopus. “Cheeseburger takoyaki. Instead of octopus these takoyaki are filled with tiny burger patties, cheese and dill pickles” was posted on Twitter by Adam Liaw on October 4, 2018. “I mostly like the batter for takoyaki so I try to get it with cheese or mochi filling” was posted on Twitter by Lelielle on January 8, 2019.


Wikipedia: Takoyaki
Takoyaki (たこ焼き or 蛸焼) is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special molded pan. It is typically 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, and then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito. 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.

Yaki is derived from ”yaku“ (焼く) which is one of the cooking methods in Japanese cuisine, meaning “to fry or grill”, and can be found in the names of other Japanese cuisine items such as okonomiyaki and ikayaki (other famous Osakan dishes).

History
Takoyaki was first popularized in Osaka, where a street vendor named Tomekichi Endo is credited with its invention in 1935. Takoyaki was inspired by akashiyaki, a small round dumpling from the city of Akashi in Hyōgo Prefecture made of an egg-rich batter and octopus.

15 January 1971, San Francisco (CA) Chronicle, “Our Lively World” by Andy Adams, third sec., pg. 37, col. 7:
The Ginza’s Pushcarts
Tokyo

(...)
A permanent fixture along the Ginza’s Namiki Dori, however, is a pushcart specializing in “takoyaki.”

Made of flour and water, “takoyaki” are shaped into small balls and baked in round iron molds. After sprinkling them with tiny dried shrimp, ginger and other spices, the vendor garnishes them with a sweet brown sauce and bonito flakes, then serves. The price: three pieces for 25 yen (7 cents).

12 January 1975, Boston (MA) Sunday Globe, “A look at Boston’s sister city (Kyoto)” by Norman Tolman, pg. A41, col. 1:
And delicious festival-type foods, ranging from a swirl of cotton candy to little wooden boxes of steaming tako-yaki, octopus dumplings, mix their aromas in the air.

7 October 1976, Honolulu (HI) Star-Bulletin, pg. E-8, col. 1 ad:
RISSENDO’S TAKOYAKI DEMONSTRATION & SALE
BY AKINORI KAWAGUCHI
(Shirokiya at Ala Moana Center.—ed.)

3 March 1977, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Dining a la Cart With Japan’s Outdoor Vendors” by Rose Dosti, pt. 6, pg. 1, col. 1:
STREET FOOD—Aproned and kerchiefed vendors in Nora train station bake takoyaki.

9 February 1978, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), “International cuisine: Street food vendors popular in Tokyo-- especially at night” by Bradley K. Martin, pg. D1, col. 6:
Tako yaki, another street food, is a meatball-shaped wheat dumpling with bits of cooked octopus, green onion and ginger, fried on a griddle and served with a spicy sauce and a few flakes of dried seaweed. The dumplings are served in boxes of 9 to 12 and eaten with toothpicks.

Google Books
The Heart of the Matter:
Discovering the Japanese people through a student exchange program

By Toyota Jidōsha Kōgyō Kabushiki Kaisha
Tokyo, Japan: Toyota Motor Corp., Tokyo Public Affairs Dept.
1983
Pg. 31:
Street venders sell takoyaki, okonomiyaki and squid on a stick as fast as hot dogs sell in America.

Takoyaki is breaded octopus with seasonings added, shaped into a ball. To Americans, the idea of eating octopus probably seems disgusting. My first takoyaki was hard to swallow, but ever since, takoyaki has become one of my favorites.

17 September 1989, New York (NY) Times, “Japan: Japanese Variations on the Pancake Theme” by Barbara E. Thornbury, sec. 20, pg. 34, col. 5:
Tako means octopus. Tako-yaki are round, about the size of a ping-pong ball. The batter contains bits of green onion and ginger, and in the middle of each is a piece or two of cooked octopus.

Tako-yaki can be eaten with the same piquant sauce used with okonomi-yaki. They can be dipped in a clear broth, as at Takopon, a restaurant near Shinjuku Station. At Takopon diners watch a small assembly of cooks making batter, cutting up quantities of cooked octopus, filling the iron molds and turning each round tako-yaki with the slightest flick of the wrist. A serving of 10 tako-yaki with dipping broth costs $3.

Google Groups: soc.culture.japan
Takoyaki
Motley Shinji
2/12/92
Whaaaaat’s happening! 

I got lots O’ e-mails asking me for “how to make takoyaki”?  I didn’t know!  I just eat them.  So, I called up my friend who lives in Osaka where takoyaki started, I think.  And here is the direction :

First of all, you have to have a special takoyaki pan.  If you don’t, oh well.  Go out and get some. 

You mix flower with dried fish flavored (kezuri bushi) soup, until it becomes just like ready to make pan cake.  Then, pour it into the holes.  Wait for a while, then throw in chuck of octopus.  Wait a little more.

Here come a hard part.  You have to use some kind of tooth pick to roll over the takoyaki.  He said it supposed to be done by using a square tooth pick, but I don’t think it makes any differences if you use round tooth pick.  Anyway, wait for a while and roll over the takoyaki, again.  Do this a few times.

Stick the tooth pick into the takoyaki, then pull it out.  If the flower is still liquish, the takoyaki is not done, yet.  Otherwise take them out.

Put okonomiyaki source, katsuobushi, and dried sea weed flake. Guess what?  It’s ready.

YouTube
Takoyaki (Japanese snack), how to cook.
Cook Japan
Published on Feb 8, 2015
Seen at Tokyo Station.

Pan temperature: 200℃ (392℉)

Ingridients:
1. Batter (wheat flour)
2. Octopus
3. Tenkasu (tempura scraps)
4. Red Ginger
5. Green Onion

Toppings:
Most commons topping is powdered seaweed with Mayonnaise. Recently cheese sauses are popular as well.

Whole process took about 30 minutes to get one stack of Takoyaki ready.

YouTube
Making Japanese Octopus Balls at New York’s Otafuku
Eater
Published on May 16, 2016
Takoyaki is crispy, round, and bursting with octopus, a Japanese snack that’s as fun to eat as it make. Watch the video above for a look at the mesmerizing takoyaki-making process at Otafuku in New York’s East Village.

Google Books
Takoyaki Recipes: Amazing Mixture of Recipes Along With Takoyaki Sauce Spice As Well!
Martha Stephenson
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Feb 9, 2017 - 68 pages
This Book “25 Takoyaki Recipes: Amazing Mixture of Recipes along with Takoyaki Sauce spice as well!” is a great guide for you to learn about the Takoyaki recipes. The recipes are simple and easy to learn without any hassle. You will be able to find numerous recipes with just one technique. The fillings of each recipe are different, and once you taste one of the recipes in this Book, you will surely love them all.

YouTube
Street Food in Japan: Takoyaki
Aden Films
Published on Sep 2, 2017
Japanese Street Food in Osaka: Takoyaki, resembles ball-shaped version of crepes (wheat flour-based batter).

Twitter
Adam Liaw
@adamliaw
Cheeseburger takoyaki. Instead of octopus these takoyaki are filled with tiny burger patties, cheese and dill pickles. Recipe and video link ➡️ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-i1BZUb9Yhg
8:18 PM - 4 Oct 2018

YouTube
THE KITCHEN GADGET TEST SHOW S2 • E11
What Is the Best Way to Make Takoyaki (Octopus Balls) at Home? — The Kitchen Gadget Test Show
Eater
Published on Dec 20, 2018
On today’s episode of The Kitchen Gadget Test Show, chef Esther Choi is joined by Shin Takagi, of DokoDemo in Manhattan’s east village. Together, they are testing a few different pans to see which device makes the best takoyaki at home.

Twitter
Lelielle
@Lelielle
I mostly like the batter for takoyaki so I try to get it with cheese or mochi filling,
6:46 PM - 8 Jan 2019

Google Books
The Little Book of Takoyaki
Jessica Harlan
Little, Brown, Feb 26, 2019 - Cooking - 128 pages
Grab your takoyaki pan and whip up dozens of adorable, delicious recipes from traditional Japanese street foods to inventive breakfast-inspired creations and scrumptious mash-up bites.

This delightful, illustrated cookbook takes you step-by-step through dozens of recipes to make with your takoyaki pan—from the traditional Japanese “octopus ball” street foods to inventive creations inspired by kitchens around the world.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Saturday, January 19, 2019 • Permalink