Hello JapanLovers! Like you requested, we’ll be doing some food origin stories for our Tabemono Months!
Today, we start with the crowd favorite, Takoyaki! (*＾ワ＾*)
The Takoyaki Story
The use of wheat and water (two of the basic ingredients of takoyaki), was brought by the French in the 17th century. Dishes made from these ingredients became popular in Osaka and Tokyo, where they used them in making crepe-like snacks.
In the 20th century, when a terrible disaster swept across Japan, main food sources like rice became very short, so they sought for new and cheaper sources of food to alleviate hunger.
This led to the discovery of more wheat-flour-based food, and as Japan recovered from the tragedy, more ingredients (egg, seafood, vegetables, meat) became available and were added to the batter base, and also toppings and sauces.
Okonomiyaki (a kind of an egg pancake) and choboyaki (takoyaki’s predecessor) were later invented.
Later on, a choboyaki street vendor named Endo Tomekichi made the first takoyaki ever by putting pieces of octopus in the batter. (Octopus was abundant in his hometown.)
He was also inspired by another snack called “akashiyaki”, which is basically a ball of batter with a boiled octopus piece in the center (much like takoyaki), but is much softer and egg-rich, and is also dipped in a broth-like soup. (So, basically, takoyaki is the child of choboyaki x akashiyaki~)
His newfound recipe became a huge hit! It initially contained only the basic ingredients: wheat flour, eggs, water, and a piece of octopus. Later on, people started to experiment with sauces and toppings, and this led to the super-yummy and flavorful modern takoyaki!
So that’s how takoyaki was born~ (︶ω︶) (And now we’re craving for some takoyaki hahaha)