Header image courtesy of @gindacomalaysia (Instagram)
Perhaps you’ve had takoyaki (たこ焼き; “octopus balls”) from your last trip to Japan and have been craving them ever since. Or maybe you were introduced to these delicious morsels in Hong Kong and feast on them as a regular snack. Either way, these glorious street food bites of octopus and dough are not to be missed, and together with a concoction of toppings and sauces, this unassuming recipe produces a small umami bomb.
Thankfully, Japan’s substantial influence on Hong Kong’s multifarious dining scene means that there’s no lack of places that sell takoyaki here on our bustling streets. With so much to choose from, we’ve rounded up seven of the best takoyaki spots in Hong Kong, guaranteed to be fresh and immensely satisfying.
Do you miss the takoyaki from your last trip to Osaka? Discover the same flavours in Hong Kong at Gindaco. A Tokyo-based takoyaki chain, Gindaco operates hundreds of shops around Asia, a testament to their irresistible and fluffy takoyaki. As you wait in the long (but quick) queues, you’d be mesmerised by the takoyaki chefs’ nimble flicks of the wrists as they expertly rotate the batter balls in the grill. Though Gindaco is a little pricey for takoyaki (starting from $22), all your reservations will vanish at the first bite of the creamy, savoury dough clouds, served in their aesthetic signature wooden boat-shaped plates.
Hideyoshi used to be a common sight in shopping mall food courts around Hong Kong, but their numbers have since dwindled, leaving only three branches across the city. Nevertheless, we love the chain for their soft and satisfying takoyaki balls and bargain sets. Pick up just an order of their takoyaki (starting from $20) for a light snack or opt for one of their combo sets for a filling lunch. We suggest the okonomiyaki (お好み焼き; Japanese savoury pancake), yakisoba (焼きそば; Japanese stir-fried noodles), and takoyaki for an all-in-one combo ($45). Finish the meal with an azuki red bean paste- or custard-filled obanyaki (今川焼き; Japanese wheel cake) fresh-off-the-grill at just $8 apiece.
In a remote shopping centre filled with a myriad of street food wonders, King of Skewers should be your first stop because, well, it’s right by the main entrance, but also because of their amazing takoyaki. Though this street food stall mainly sells traditional Hong Kong snacks, such as egg puffs and curry fishballs, their takoyaki station is always active with a fresh batch in the making. At King of Skewers, the takoyaki ($22 for six pieces) are lightly crisp on the outside but velvety on the inside, complete with a large chunk of octopus. And for that price, it really is good value for money!
King of Skewers, Shop 25A, G/F, Kwai Chung Plaza, 7 Kwai Foo Road, Kwai Fong | (+852) 2426 8120
Perhaps you love takoyaki but crave a twist on the classic dish. Check out Authentic Takoyaki (真‧章魚無雙), where takoyaki come in flavours such as black truffle, honey mustard, crab paste, mentaiko (明太子; pollock roe), and more. Not only are their takoyaki (starting from $28 for six pieces) buttery and smooth, but they are also generous with their toppings, making the experience all the more rewarding. With 12 flavours on the menu, you can come back again and again and never get bored of discovering a new twist each time.
Friends in the northwest region of Hong Kong rejoice—there’s fresh takoyaki near you, too! At local favourite Takoyaki Master HK (章魚燒大師) in Tuen Mun, you can get the piping-hot balls just as they are, or top them with crunchy flying fish roe, umami mentaiko, or some crisp chopped green onions. For an extra spicy kick, challenge yourself and order their wasabi takoyaki (starting from $26). Be prepared to wait around ten minutes per order though as fresh batches run out quickly.
Takoyaki Master HK, Shop S67, 1/F, Go Go Mall, 112–140 Tuen Mun Heung Sze Wui Road, Tuen Mun
Although all of the takoyaki joints on this list make their food to order (we only recommend the best!), you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal than the ones at Cona Cona. These bites of gooey batter pose a striking contrast to the toothsome chunks of octopus hidden inside, though traditionalists may baulk at Cona Cona’s use of salad dressing instead of the customary Japanese mayonnaise. The friendly staff are also happy to accommodate any preferences you may have, such as if you’d like to wait longer for a fresh batch, or if you’d like your takoyaki ($26 for six pieces) without pickled red ginger. Feeling extra peckish? Try their packed bowl of oden (おでん; Japanese one-pot fishcake stew) for $29 or their Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki ($33) for a layered, yakisoba-fueled twist on the traditional Japanese pancake recipe.
OPPA Coffee Bar Restaurant stands out because, unlike all the other takoyaki shops on this list, you’ll get a chance to whip up your own takoyaki here! In their signature octopus melt cheese ball set ($198), customers are provided with a miniature takoyaki grill, along with a pitcher of takoyaki batter, a bowl of shredded cheese, and Korean-style fried rice. Though you can play chef and go about it however you want, it’s recommended to mix the cheese and fried rice together before rolling the rice into a ball. Plop these mini-riceballs onto the takoyaki grill, then cover them with the golden batter. The fun part comes when the batter cooks a bit and you can start rotating the balls to cook them thoroughly on all sides—just like how you’ve seen it done before countless times!
OPPA Coffee Bar Restaurant, G/F, 1F Kimberley Street, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2386 2315