Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Frito Lay Takoyaki (Octopus Dumpling) Snack

I've mentioned before that I have never tried actual takoyaki (octopus dumpling), though I think this year will finally be the year that I lose my "octopus" virginity. I'm thinking I'll take the plunge and sample the real deal this New Year's if a takoyaki stand shows up at the local shrine on New Year's day. In the meantime, I purchased this bag of Frito Lay takoyaki corn snack as a way of going to 3rd base before I make a run for home plate. If these aren't bad, how terrible can the real deal be?

I have seen this snack in many shops and it can be had for about 100 yen ($1.20) at most supermarkets, snack shops, and drug stores. I haven't seen so many of them at convenience stores, but this isn't a new release so that is no surprise. Each bag is 70 grams (2.5 oz.) and has 351 calories. 

The picture on the front of the bag talks about how these have octopus powder, onion, aosa (which is "sea lettuce") and Otafuku sauce among other flavors. Otafuku sauce appears simply to be the brand name of a type of sauce commonly put on takoyaki and I think it is likely the main flavor component of this snack. When I opened the bag, I wasn't greeted with any particularly noxious odors. In fact, they smelled like any other bag of spicy corn snacks that one might buy without any funky seafood overtones.

Each little ball is a perfectly average and pleasantly crunchy corn puff coated with a variety of seasonings. There's definitely some onion powder and some sort of vinegary flavoring with a hint of soy sauce. The thing that I don't taste much of is any sort of strong seafood taste. This is mainly a savory blending of rich vegetable flavors with deep vinegar and a bit of soy. The salt level is about right to add bite but not to overwhelm.

This was a decent enough snack. It's not the sort of thing that I could see craving or wanting to buy again, but if I had a desire for something salty, I wouldn't turn my nose up at these if someone placed a bowl in front of me. Mainly, I think this is designed for active fans of Otafuku sauce and those who associate that particular flavor with takoyaki. I have to imagine real octopus dumplings taste more like, well, octopus. I'll probably finish the bag very, very slowly since I'm not over the moon about it. I wouldn't recommend it as a casual experimental sampling, but I think fans of takoyaki may find it rather pleasing.


p00lriah. said...

i can't find these in southern calufornia, but going by the pic & ur description, the real thing seems so much better. if u find a takoyaki stand u must try it!! it's especially good on a cold day when u get them hot off the griddle.

now i'm hungry. i might have to swing by j-town tomorrow for a dozen. :P

Orchid64 said...

Sorry that I made you hungry, p00lriah!

I will try to (finally) sample them!

Thanks for commenting!

Nat said...

Not a big fan of these. I tried them, and didn't like them very much.

Dani said...

Takoyaki corn puff-like snacks from a bag simply cannot compare to the actual, made-while-you-wait, piping-hot-off-the-takoyaki pan real deal. I'm glad you're seriously considering trying them. For me, the octopus doesn't taste seafoody at all. It's really all about the batter! It's such a comfort food snack, and one that I enjoy immensely. I'm sure we'll get to hear all about it when you finally take the plunge...LOL!

Bean said...

I liked takoyaki so much. I like octopus in general and to have it in a savory batter with the seasonings and sauce in little bites was really nice. I hope you try it!

Ikkin-bot said...

I find that Takoyaki are not particularly octopus-y tasting

C said...

A few years back, when I was studying in Kyoto, FritoLay sold a similar product under the "Gindako" brand. There were "regular" (similar to what you reviewed), wasabi, and one other variety. Gindako had, IIRC, more tako taste than what you described, but they were nowhere near as good as real takoyaki, which is available almost anywhere in Kansai.

Although I have a takoyaki-nabe, I'd sure love to get some Gindako from Mitsuwa (local Japanese market), but there must be some moratorium on importing FritoLay products. With the large population of kansaijin here, these would fly off the shelves (unlike the multitude of Calbee. Meiji Karl, and shirinai-brand popcorn products that never seem to need replenishment).