|Takoyaki with kewpie mayo, powdered seaweed, bonito flakes & "Japanese sauce"|
I decided to try the Love Special, an order of eight Takoyaki and one large yaki-onigiri, for only $7 or $8. I braved the Takoyaki at 11 a.m. because I knew it was the big menu item and I felt like it was just necessary that I try these crazy looking things, and the smell coming from the trailer was delicious.
Another small part of my hankering to try this bus out was that Bizarre Food's host, Andrew Zimmern, visited the truck back in November.
|Photo source: @AndrewZimmern|
Back to our regularly scheduled programming, THE FOOD.
So, what is Takoyaki? It's the savory pancake ball/hushpuppy filled with octopus ("Look the suction things are still on them!" my pizza-eating friend said in shock), pickled ginger and green onions. The octopus was tender and not too chewy- I'm curious where they import it from as I usually avoid any bargain priced seafood in central Texas. What really made the meal were the toppings: takoyaki sauce, kewpie mayo, aonori and bonito flakes.
I'll admit I had a very small inkling of an idea what all of these things were, but after a little digging: Takoyaki sauce is similar to the ketchup-Worcestershire sauce you may be familiar with, but with sake and other Japanese spices added. Kewpie mayo is a popular mayonnaise in Japan and the only difference between it and regular mayo it's that it's a little creamier and made with rice vinegar. Aonori and bonito flakes is dried green seaweed and thin mackerel fillet.
All together it is one of the most unique, yet tasty dishes I've ever tried.
The special also came with garlic yaki-onigiri aka rice balls grilled with garlic soy sauce (YES) and wrapped in seaweed. It looked like a weird rice sandwich. It was good, but I just ate the rice from the outside that had all of the garlic soy sauce-y goodness.
|Caprese Love Balls with preserved tomatoes and kewpie mayo-basil pesto combo|
If you try out Love Balls, let me know which dish you try and what you think! I really want someone to try the Texas Takoyaki Roulette challenge. Your choice of the Takoyaki or The Veg. Seven balls are served, but one is filled with a "ghost pepper laced habanero." The 'winner' gets a free bottle of water. It sounds like sick joke challenge for the people working the truck on a slow day, but definitely something I'd love to witness.
Love Balls is located in the East Side Drive-In off East Sixth & San Marcos. Go try some balls!