Japanese: Otafuku

Eating Out

Hello, Noshers.  Happy Thursday!  Phew, for some reason this week is dragging – but I am soooo looking forward to sleeping in this Sunday, especially with Daylight Savings Time! Yay!  Yesterday night I met up with a few friends, including one visiting from California, and the bunch of us stayed out until 2am catching up and dining on sul lung tang (Korean oxtail soup, mmmmm).  I am SO tired this morning because of our late night exploits, but this fatigue/hunger reminded me to write about one of my casual snack joints during school – OtafukuOtafuku specializes in takoyaki, or as I like to call them – “octopus balls”…

I believe Otafuku might be one of the few places in NYC that’s smaller than my kitchen – an impressive feat.  However, the crowd of Noshers waiting for their takoyaki doesn’t seem to mind the cramped cooking quarters!

I love that the takoyaki is prepared right in front of you – using spherical molds, the cook fills each with a mix of octopus, tempura, pickled ginger, and scallions:

…before filling the rest of the mold with batter. Mmmm, batter….

The finished product is topped with takoyaki sauce, mayo, seaweed, and katsuobushi (dried bonito), which waves invitingly while daintily perched on the steaming takoyaki:

The inside is a flavorful, ooey-gooey, meaty bite of scrumptiousness.  Just be careful not to burn your mouth in excitement!

An order of 6 takoyaki will set you back a whopping $5, and you can choose from several fillings (though octopus is the clear fave).  Additionally, Otafuku serves edamame, okonomiyaki (a savory Japanese pancake, somewhat similar to Korean pajun) and a few other goodies on its limited menu.  But if you happen to be in the East Village area, definitely stop by Otafuku!  Your former college-age self will thank you. 🙂

Cheap and good.


236 East 9th St. (btw 2nd Ave/Stuyvesant St.)


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  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    That was my favorite place to get okonomiyaki! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    This place looks so good and I love takoyaki! Must come next time I’m in NY 🙂

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Yum! I love little holes-in-the-walls like this! My co-workers and I just found a great ramen place near my work that is sooo small. But the food is great and people line up around the block for it 🙂

  • Reply
    Meister @ The Nervous Cook
    November 3, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    I’ve never heard of takoyaki, but that sounds awesome. You always have the best tips!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    I LOVE that store front as it reminds me very much of actual Japanese store fronts. However I don’t like tako, so I really don’t like takoyaki. I kind of grew tired of eating okonomiyaki because we’d go to a tabehoudai (all you can eat) okonomiyaki place in Japan all the time. But I’d definitely visit this place if I was NYC for the natsukashii (reminiscent) factor. Looks like a fun find!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 4:28 am

    this looks really interesting. i have not tried it and would definitely like to! esp with the pricing 😉

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Yum — these tiny places are always the best!

  • Reply
    November 6, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    mmm, i miss that place!

  • Reply
    Our Wired Lives
    November 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    holy smokes I think I can smell that through my computer monitor!

  • Reply
    November 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    That looks amazing, I love that you get to watch them make it, and for only $5.00…I’m sold!! I still need to write about my trip to NYC Korean Town…hmm maybe I shall do that right now! 🙂

  • Reply
    Order Used Homeschool Workbooks
    March 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    I have read several good stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot effort you place to make such a great informative site.

  • Reply
    October 5, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Whaddup! That’s me cooking the takoyaki. I retired from head chef in july 2013 (I was there for 3 years), but you’ll see me cooking for Ramen Burger on saturdays in BK. From Balls to Buns! lol! Good memories

    Karl Palma

    • Reply
      October 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm

      Hi Karl! Oh, how fun!! I loved watching you cook the takoyaki! Thanks for stopping by my blog! 🙂

      • Reply
        November 25, 2013 at 9:34 pm

        Who know’s what happening in the future… People still want me to cook Takoyaki, and are pushing me to get a grill and have my own place. I was just featured in the Food Film Chicago last year in 2012, and this year in 2013. 🙂 Everyone loves my balls LOL!

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