I have fond childhood memories involving takoyaki; a delicious Japanese snack made of batter and cooked in a special pan that shapes them into perfect orbs. My cousins, friends and I would each buy an order after a day at the pool on top of Amagi-yama. An order involved three perfect balls skewered onto a wooden stick. That's all you got and for 50 Yen.
The pool was located on top of a nearby mountain famous for their hotspring and hotel. My parents were actually married there. It's like a 50 mile hike up this super steep hill. OK. I'm exaggerating now, but it sure felt like it at the time. The walk to the base of the mountain is only a couple of minutes, but the walk up was definitely a hike. I remember begging my grandfather for a car ride to the pool and he would always say no. And if you've ever been to Japan in the summer time, especially Kyushu, you will know that it is extremely hot and humid that time of year.
So, after this 40 minute hike up the mountain, my friends and I would arrive to the pool and swim for hours. Those were good times.
Then came the takoyaki. Ahhhh. I couldn't get takoyaki growing up in NYC so climbing that mountain was totally worth it if it meant I was going to eat TAKOYAKI at the end of the day.
Now that I'm all grown up I can have takoyaki whenever I want! I still live in NYC so I go to Otafuku, but I prefer Takoyaki Yama-Chan in Shirokiya in Honolulu. Those babies take me back to my childhood. A slight crispiness on the outside and warm gooeyness on the inside.
Sprinkle of nori...
a nice heapful of bonito flakes...
and delicious sauce all over. This is the real deal.
This litttle corner houses a tiny sushi restaurant called Maguro Zanmai. I had the Uni Ikura Special when I was there last time.
It came with miso soup and a cup of hot green tea.
If this isn't a generous serving of uni, I don't know what is!
And a little space for dessert...
1450 Ala Moana Blvd. (in the Ala Moan Shopping Center) Honolulu, Hawaii 96841
236 E. 9th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue) NYC 10003