You might have seen the perpetual long queue for Takoyaki at Basement 4 Ion Orchard. But isn’t it just simple Tako Balls? Last week, there was a relatively short queue about 4 people and I took my stand to see what the whole fuss was all about.
Takoyaki, the well-liked Japanese dumpling snack first popularised at Osaka, has been around Singapore for some time (first being at Takashimaya, I think) but none has popularity like this one.
At the Gindaco stall, I observed two Tako chefs (who looked really like twin brothers) slowly dissolved the flour and eggs into the bowl, slowly filled the griddle with the mixed batter, slowly placed the octopus pieces into the centre of each ball, slowly added tenkasu (crunchy bits of deep fried flour-dough), dried shrimps, slowly flipped the balls over, and slowly shaped each individual ball. This was repeated many many times with the entire batch until the batter took a clear spherical shape and grilled to a deep golden colour.
Ah, 4th in line, but 20 minutes in waiting.
The 6 Takoyakis, contained in a boat shaped container said to absorb excess oil and prevent condensation, emitted a flavourful warm aroma. This is especially tempting when it was added with mayonnaise, aonori seasoning and shaved dried bonito. (I know of people who love these balls because of the ‘moving’ bonito.)
The skin was indeed crispy-grilled, with the inside gushing out with warm batter that had a slightly more salty and unique taste than the usual ‘brands’. Better than any other Tako balls I have ever tried.
You would feel that the constant turning and grilling was necessary to create the delicious constant between the exterior and interior of a seemingly simple ball. Matched with a cold Macha drink, this is a satisfying meal on its own.
These Gindaco balls beat those pasar malam versions hands down, but are they worth the long wait? Well, YES.
Tsukiji Gindaco, 2 Orchard Turn, #B4-64/65 ION Orchard, Singapore Tel:+65 6509 9038
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm Daily