Is Takoyaki Supposed to Be Gooey Inside?

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  December 20, 2020

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If you have ever been to Japan, it’s likely you will encounter a food called Takoyaki.

These are popular snacks also called octopus balls.

Basically, they consist of minced octopus and other ingredients coated in a wheat-based batter and molded into a ball shape.

Two images of Takoyaki with the gooey batter and a finished plate of takoyaki octopus balls

When tourists eat Takoyaki, many are disappointed to find out they are gooey inside.

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In fact, there have been a number of forums where people go back and forth wondering whether Takoyaki is supposed to be gooey inside or whether this is just the product of an unskilled chef.

Yes, takoyaki is supposed to be gooey inside. It has a crisp exterior and a soft interior. However, it is not supposed to be runny. If the Takoyaki is runny, it means it is undercooked. But if it is overcooked, it will be too tough.

Read on to find out more about it.

What is Takoyaki?

Takoyaki is a popular Japanese snack or appetizer. It is made from a wheat-based batter that is cooked in a specially molded pan.

It is usually filled with diced or minced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion.

The balls are brushed with Takoyaki sauce, which is similar to Worcestershire sauce, and mayonnaise.

They are then sprinkled with green laver and dried bonito flake shavings.

Is Takoyaki Supposed to Be Gooey Inside?

I’ve looked at a few recipes for Takoyaki and none of them say that the balls are supposed to have a gooey texture. On the other hand, none of them say they will not.

However, if you look at articles that describe how Takoyaki is supposed to taste, you will find out that it has a lightly crisp outside and, yes, it is supposed to be gooey inside.

However, it is not supposed to be runny. If the Takoyaki is runny, it means it is undercooked. But if it is overcooked, it will be too tough.

Takoyaki is not easy to cook and knowing exactly when to turn it will be the difference between whether it is runny, gooey or too tough.

The batter is extremely runny when uncooked and chefs kind of have to chase after it to gather the batter into the balls as they are turning them.

Some recipes will give you an exact time of when you should turn the balls, but it seems like more of a feel thing that takes some trial and error to perfect.

Tasting Takoyaki

Takoyaki’s gooey taste gives it a creamy texture that Japanese love. However, even they will admit it takes some getting used to.

Tourists who have not grown accustomed to the taste wonder if it’s undercooked. But if they are experiencing a gooey, creamy taste, most likely it is not.

Some claim to have eaten Takoyaki that does not have a gooey center.

It has been speculated that the dish is made differently in different parts of Japan and that certain regions prepare it so it is cooked through while others leave the center gooey.

It is unclear whether there is any truth to this theory and there is no information to be found on how Takoyaki is prepared in different parts of Japan.

However, it was popularized in Osaka and that is still the region that is known for the dish.

So if you’re eating Takoyaki in Osaka, you are most likely eating it prepared the way it’s meant to be.

If you’re wondering if that Takoyaki you are tasting is supposed to be gooey inside, you have your answer.

Of course, there is no accounting for tastes. If you don’t like it…don’t eat it!

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.