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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ferry Building's Latest Find: Takoyanen's Grilled Octopus Balls

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 12:03 PM

click to enlarge (Ta)koyanen's Tent. - LUIS CHONG
  • Luis Chong
  • (Ta)koyanen's Tent.

Last Thursday, May 26, SFoodie visited the latest addition to the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, Takoyanen, a takoyaki food stand from the owners of Delica. The takoyaki street food aspect means it's fun to watch the fast chefs in action, quickly turning the batter with metal pins. These grilled balls of batter are filled with pieces of wild octopus and green onions and topped with a soy sauce glaze, aonori seaweed, housemade mayo, and bonito shavings. Definitely a more authentic version than the blasphemous "beef-style" (sans octopus) takoyaki found at Japantown's Cherry Blossom Festival.

The menu is just the balls (eight for $5) and bottles of Ito En tea for $2.25. A red sign warns customers that traditional takoyaki has a "creamy" center, and that it's very hot. Although the center might appear raw, don't worry: the octopus pieces are precooked. The exterior wasn't as firm as it needed to be, so some of the balls broke apart after lifting. We were supplied with a traditional wooden skewer, but a fork would have been more useful. We're sure the balls will become firmer with more practice. And we apologize for that last sentence.

Aside from those minor problems, the savory snacks had good flavor and the octopus meat was very tender. Even better, the shop will donate 10 percent of all sales to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Efforts during this season (May-August).

For other local shops that sell authentic takoyaki, see Jonathan Kauffman's review.

Takoyanen at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, 834-0344. Hours: Thursday 10 a.m.-2 p.m., seasonal May-August.

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Luis Chong

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