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Monday 27 February 2012

Pom Pom Takoyaki

is one of my favourite street foods from Japan.  A ball-shaped dumpling made of pancake batter, and cooked in a special takoyaki pan, it is traditionally filled with diced octopus, and served garnished with pickled ginger and spring onion.  These days, it is commonly brushed with takoyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise, and topped with shavings of dried bonito fish.

Originating in Osaka in the mid-1930s, it is now popular throughout Japan where it can be purchased at yatai (street food stalls), or in specialty restaurants. Very tricky to make at home with much twisting and turning required while cooking in a searingly hot pan, whenever I go to Japan I make sure to get my fill of it. On my recent trip to Nara, where the pictures below were taken, Dr G and I enjoyed some fantastic takoyaki. 

It was great then to learn of Pom Pom Takoyaki, a new venture founded by two Japanese women living in London - Hana and Tomo.  Hana has been living in the UK for over 20 years working as an interior designer while Tomo only arrived in London in 2009 after a 3 year stint at the Ritz Hotel restaurant in Paris.

Pom Pom Ladies at Work
I was lucky to meet them recently for a takoyaki masterclass and tasting.  In Japan, takoyaki is made exclusively with octopus, but Hana and Tomo have decided to take it a step further and use a variety of different fillings. 

In addition to Pom Pom Takoyaki with the traditional octopus filling, they also offer a sticky teriyaki chicken-filled Pom Pom served with sweet teriyaki sauce, a Frankfurter and bacon version with crispy onion topping aka Pom Pom Hot Dog, and also Pom Pom Potato made with curried potato, peas and cheese with curried mayonnaise.

The sweet Pom Poms are also delicious and beautifully presented. Flavours include Pom Pom Banana served with hot chocolate sauce, Pom Pom Apple made from caramelised apples and cinnamon sugar and also Pom Pom Chocolat, Pom Pom Wheatgrass and Pom Pom Coconut.

I was so impressed by the quality and flavours of Hana and Tomo's Pom Poms that I decided to start serving them as canapés at my own Japanese Supper Club events. Unsurprisingly the feedback from diners has been fantastic, and I am really pleased to see one of my favourite Japanese dishes, and a relatively unknown one, become more popular in the UK. 

For more information about Pom Pom Takoyaki, prices and how to order click here. If you would like to order Pom Pom Takoyaki for a private party or corporate event, or simply to eat them at home, email hello@pompomtakoyaki.com

Alternatively you can meet Hana and Tomo and try out their Pom Poms on the 17th & 24th March at Hackney Homemade at St.John's church garden, off Mare Street http://www.hackneyhomemade.com/food/ or on 30th March at Brixton Sundowner Night Market. http://sundowner.b-electric.co.uk/2012/02/02/brixton-sundowner-2012/ 

Also Pom Pom Supper Club is in the pipe line, hopefully starting in April.

Learn more about Pom Pom Takoyaki on Twitter, follow them at @pompomtakoyaki.

Hana and Tomo's Pom Poms will also be available at the Japanese Supper Club at my home in Islington on 23rd, 24th, 30th and 31st March 2012.


  1. Ooh another tip for me to remember for our first Japan trip. Shall look out for them in London too, of course!

  2. Oddly enough I've only ever had these on the streets of Hong Kong. Awesome snack food though.

  3. What a great name! I look forward to eating PomPom Takoyaki for the first time very soon.

  4. I have just been catching up on your latest posts and I really have to tell you this - each time I read your blog, any idea of dieting disappears straight away. The way you describe the techniques, the food, the taste and the picture... Mouthwatering... Always!

  5. OMG! I just love Japanese food. There presentation and preparation is just amazing.

  6. I just love takoyaki... If I could find an affordable takoyaki pan, I would be making them myself.

    1. You can make these in an appam pan which is available from indian stores on ealing road, wembley....they are very similar, if not the same.


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