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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

[Japan] Gindaco

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usLocation Review
Tokyo Shinjuku Kabukicho 3-24-3

I always find myself constantly searching for a good takoyaki place in Toronto. The best I've had is so far probably at Guu. If you've never had takoyaki before, then you're definitely missing out. It starts off with a bite size peice of grilled octopus dropped into a sphere-like mold along with a savory batter. As it cooks in the mold, the  batter cooks and the outside becomes crispy. The result is a takoyaki ball! (This Gindaco page has a pretty neat visual of the creation process) It's then topped with takoyaki sauce and usually mayo along with other toppings. For something that doesn't contain a lot of ingredients, its surprising how different it can taste.  Sometimes its too soggy, sometimes the consistency isn't right, and sometimes the squid inside just tastes downright awful. Lucky for me, on one of the last days in Japan, I was graced with the opportunity to eat some decent takoyaki right outside the Shinjuku nishiguchi train station.

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Gindaco Storefront

If it werent for this huge glass storefront, I wouldn't have even spotted this tiny snack bar that is Gindco. You can see two people making the takoyaki balls with the numerous trays of molds. Entertaining to watch them being made!

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Inside of the Gindaco

Inside is extremely small. There is literally standing room only. That's okay though, since they don't serve full out meals, only snacks and some beverages.

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Gindaco Napkin

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The menu is small and simple serving only 3 or 4 different types of snacks. I really appreciated all the pictures on the menu, because you can see exactly what goes into it. There are so many variations of toppings that you can get on your takoyaki balls that it's hard to choose from! They also have a good deal on beer and takoyaki combinations, for those of you who need a cold alcoholic beverage to wash it all down!

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Takoyaki Menu

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Takoyaki (500 yen)

We ordered one that came with mayo, corn, and seaweed. It was a bit of a wait, but it was so worth it! The takoyaki was freshly made, and was delicious! Crispy exterior, pipping hot interior, and a thick savory mayo to go along with it. The combination was amazing.

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Inside the takoyaki ball

I was pleased to see how much squid was packed into each takoyaki ball. Usually I find they are made unbalanced with too much batter and only a small morsel of squid. It tasted so much better with more squid! As filling as these balls looked, they were very light while still retaining a good amount of substance. Think of it like eating heavy whipping cream. Rich and structured, while still being able to be melt-in-your-mouth fluffy. To die for.

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Okonomiyaki (350 Yen)

We also ordered an okonomiyaki. This is a Japanese style pancake made with egg and various other ingredients. The one we ordered had pork and vegetables on the inside, topped with bonito flakes and mayo.

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Inside the Okonomiyaki

I didn't find the okonomiyaki as impressive as the takoyaki. It tasted alright, but at the end of the day it was just an omelete. A very oily omelete at that. An interesting item to try if you've never had it, but not as memorable as the takoyaki.