Takoyaki Yama-chan Drums Up Flavor

Digest On the Menu

March 15, 2015

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Tony Grillo

Just listen for the familiar “thump-thump-thump” cascading rhythmically from the drum hanging in Takoyaki Yama-Chan’s window.

Diners have come to recognize the restaurant’s iconic beat, which signifies that it is indeed time to eat. Takoyaki Yama-Chan opened a convenient second location in the bustling Don Quijote Kaheka food court after food fanatics discovered the traditional Japanese cuisine at its original locale in Shirokiya over the course of nearly eight years.

“We wanted to introduce some of the traditional food found in Osaka, Japan, to local diners here in Hawaii,” says owner Akimune Yamamoto via translation by his son, Taisuke. “The flavor combinations appeal to local diners.”

The restaurant draws its name from Takoyaki ($4.50 for five pieces, $6.80 for eight, $8.40 for 10 and $9.80 for 12), a popular Japanese dish that originated as street food in Osaka 80 years ago. The ball-shaped Japanese snack is composed of a fluffy, pancake-like batter filled with diced octopus (tako), red ginger and green onions before it’s cooked in a specially designed pan. After cooking, the bite-sized morsels are topped with a savory blend of tonkatsu — Japanese-style teriyaki — sauce and mayonnaise, and sprinkled with bonito (seafood) flakes. “The Japanese pancake balls with octopus inside are a very popular, traditional dish in Japan and we give customers an opportunity to enjoy the unique taste,” Yamamoto says. “With our new location, more people can come and try all the choices we have to offer.”

Takoyaki Yama-Chan offers a vast array of items that are made to order in a matter of minutes. Those in a hurry also can pick up pre-made, bento-style meals at the restaurant window — an option that’s perfect for those on the move.

Yamamoto recommends Yakisoba ($7.90 with a choice of pork or shrimp), fried ramen-style noodles tossed with fresh vegetables and an alluring sauce. Omuretsu Yakisoba ($8.90 with a choice of pork or shrimp) takes the noodle dish to the next level, as the tasty yakisoba creation is folded into an egg omelet — a perfect combination of flavor and texture that is sure to satisfy even the largest appetites.

Another popular choice, Okonomiyaki ($7.90 with a choice of pork or shrimp), which roughly translates from Japanese to mean “what you want” or “what you like,” resembles a large Japanese-style pancake, which some refer to as “Japanese pizza,” and is composed of egg, shredded vegetables and choice of meat.

Stop by Takoyaki Yama-Chan today to see what the buzz is about — just listen for the drums!

Takoyaki Yama-chan

Kaheka St. Suite A4, Honolulu
Daily, 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

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