Part 4: Osaka’s Auntie Spreads Takoyaki and Udon

Chapter 17: Takoyaki Party in the Dungeon

Tsuru: Thanks for the grammatical heads up, this is the first time I heard of TakoPa too, apparently it’s a real thing and I’ve included a ‘How to Throw a Tako Pa’ link!

Kirindas: XXX!

“Today were having the first Takoyaki Grilling Party[1] in this world, let’s just  call it TakoPa for short!”

Haruna first heated up the steel plate. Then, she poured a little oil into each indentation and with a brush, spread the oil around.

Next, she poured a watery batter made of eggs, flour and other stuff into the indentations until almost full..

From here on, the steps would be crucial.

“Everyone, do you all know this ingredient? If you can’t face it I’ll be kind and let you choose something else.”

Assistant Natalia held up a plate.

On it were some diced up octopus.

However, the adventurers have some trouble giving a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer since the octopus was presented in tiny pieces, making it difficult to discern what the creature looked like originally. They only vaguely understood that this was supposed to be edible.

“To be honest, it’s this thing.”

Natalia brought out another plate, this time with a cover over it. Haruna removed the cover with a flourish.

On the plate, was fine octopus, squidging along leisurely, waving its tentacles at its audience.

“A monster!”

The crowd roared as one. As expected, a very unwelcoming reaction. They had already anticipated this negative reaction, and thus were not too shocked when various weapons were suddenly brandished.

“Actually, this is a pretty normal cooking ingredient where I came from. The ones on this other plate had been boiled and diced. Next, we do this…”

Plop! Plop! Pieces of the diced octopus were quickly and efficiently plopped into the middle of the wet batter.

Finely chopped leek and beni shouga were dropped in next.

“Oi, oi… are we really going to eatr monsters…?”

“I already know that Haruna-chan’s thinking is quite strange, but this is way too weird…”

“No, I don’t think that’s actually a monster, but I doubt even a demon king would eat that…”

Ignoring the negative mutterings, Haruna continued to calmly grill her Takoyaki. The Takoyaki had to be tipped with a bamboo stick until the the hardened batter ‘bowl’ is halfway out, allowing the wet batter to sizzle against the indentation, forming 3/4 of the bowl, before tipping again so that the 1/4 hole is covered until a solid sphere with a hollow centre is formed.

Finally, what had been rows of liquid better were now rows of little balls.

There were some who prefer a soft squishy centre when it came to Takoyaki, but this might increase the yuck factor of the octopus for these newbies, so she went with the hollow centre Takoyaki. Moreover, as a non-expert, this type of Takoyaki was easier to make.

On top of that Takoyaki with a squishy centre would be harder to pick up and eat with a toothpick, and won’t pair well with mayonnaise and the Okonomiyaki sweet sauce she had devised, which was a negative in her eyes. In her opinion, the hollow centre Takoyaki was closer to what an actual ball which suited her sense of aesthetics.

When her audience heard her mutter about ‘Round is cute, na~” their focus switched from the filling over to the shape of the food. Well, round is cute, but just what kind food is actually round?

“The first batch should be done soon, na.

The little round balls were soon plated.

“Next, we’ll add the sauce~”

Though adding katsuobushi[2] would level up the flavour, she had none at the moment. Furthermore, considering the way those fish shavings wave and dance on food, that might actually put her customers off even more. The same went for green nori springkle[3], the adventurers might think she was adding mold or something, so it was probably a good idea not  to include that for now.

“—- Takoyaki is done!” It’s time to eat!”

Despite her enthusiastic ‘Go ahead~!’, the adventurers remained doubtful and hesitant. No matter what, if you knew there was monster bits, you would be reluctant, right?

The normally cheerful and robust adventurers all exchanged looks with each other, wondering who will be the first to come forward.

“Is there no one~! But, it’s really delicious, na…”

Suddenly, Haruna popped one of the balls into her mouth.

“Un, hot, hot, ah, but it’s delicious… Yes, I still got it, it’s made really well!”

That look of bliss of her face, the adventurers knew at once that it wasn’t fake.

“‘A monster eating lady’… as expected off Haruna!”

“Could it be that monsters are actually delicious?”

“I already told you, it’s not monster! Even high class monsters, demons, don’t get to eat these!”

In this world, beings who drop monster stones were split into two types. Creatures with lower intelligence level were called monsters, creatures with intelligence level similar to that of a humans were called demons.

Although the regular customers did not demonstrate complete refusal against this, there was nevertheless still some resistance against the idea of eating such a unorthodox looking creature. Since Haruna was the very personification of unorthodoxy, her finding ‘monsters’ delicious was really kind of  a ‘Haruna thing’, not exactly a brimming endorsement. What they really need, was to see someone normal, someone at their level, eat this abnormal ingredient.

Then, from the side, Natalia sighed heavily, “Haa…”

“Very well, I shall do it… I am, after all, a staff member…”

In order to prove that there was no poison, Natalia decided that the fastest way was to eat this mysterious food herself.

“Uwooh!”

“Such courage!”

“To think Haruna brought a sacrificial victim!”

— were the general response from the adventurers.

Natalia nervously picked up one of the Takoyaki with the tips of her fingers and popped the whole thing into her mouth.

“Hafu… ho- hot…”

“Ah, that’s because it’s freshly made. Well, it’ll be fine once you’ve rolled it around your mouth a little, it’ll cool down on its own, wa.”

After a while, Natalia started to earnestly chew the Takoyaki — and swallowed with an audible gulp.

“How was it?”

Haruna as well as the rest of the staff and the customers were all staring at Natalia.

Complete silence reigned over the third floor.

After a while, Natalia wordlessly picked up another Takoyaki, and put it into her mouth.

An unexpected development.

“Ish ashuary wirry dewishoush (It’s actually really delicious)”

Suddenly, the winds of opinion changed. So what if it’s a strange ingredient, the most important thing was deliciousness.

“How could an adventurer be afraid of monsters!”

“That’s right! It’s not like it’s going to ruin my mouth!”

Everyone was soon shoving forward feverishly to stuff the Takoyaki into their mouths.

Although the Takoyaki balls burned the insides of their mouth, the adventurers were practically daring each other to eat it piping hot. Perhaps, that daringness was what made Takoyaki taste even better.

Then, after some time–

“The inside is almost syrupy!”

“Though it’s made from the same batter as Okonomiyaki, this has a completely different taste!”

“This octopus thing is really chewy, a really fun texture!”

“The beni shouga really accentuated the taste and stimulates the appetite! Demons would surely love to eat these!”

The Takoyaki has been praised to high heavens!

“That’s great~ I was really worried that no one would actually try it, wa.”

Haruna pressed a hand over her chest as she sighed in relief.

Plenty of Westerners who could not bear octopus still enjoyed Takoyaki in her previous world, possibly because the meat had been cut to pieces, which made it easier to accept.

“Ah, for people who really did not want to eat octopus, we also offer sausage or ham fillings, so that they can at least try them without the octopus. Cheese is also a great filling, wa.

In Osaka, it’s perfectly fine to put all kinds of stuff into the ‘yaki’ at a Takoyaki Party in order to change up the taste. The normal things are ham and cheese of course. For the more avant-garde, they would even put things like chocolate into their Takoyaki.

Though there were plenty of people who liked the traditional octopus Takoyaki, there were very few who would dislike ham and cheese fillings–

“Cheese is also great!”

“Ham matches this new recipe really well!”

Thus, in this way, [Haru-chan’s] latest new product ‘Takoyaki’ was introduced.

[1] TakoPa – Japan info actually provides step by step instructions on how to throw a TakoPa, go click on the Takoyaki picture and check it out!

Note: Aside from chocolate, you can also put blue berries in your ‘yaki’, basically anything that will go with pancakes!

[2] Katsuobushi – The stuff that looks like wood shavings on the Takoyaki!

[3] Green Nori Sprinkles – The tiny green stuff on the Takoyaki in the above picture, lol!

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