Gindaco: Most Popular Takoyaki Shop in Japan
The largest takoyaki shop franchise In Japan, Gindaco
Have you ever tried Takoyaki (たこ焼き)? It is a traditional Japanese street food that consists of small, grilled balls made of soft dough with pieces of octopus meat at the center.
You will mostly see takoyaki being sold at Matsuri, firework festivals, sporting events, and other types of outdoor events. It is like the equivalent of a hot dog in the US.
These takoyaki can also be found at takoyaki shops which are commonly seen in crowded cities across Japan. And the most popular takoyaki shop franchise in Japan is Gindaco (銀だこ), also known as Gindaco.
In this article, I will show you what Takoyaki is as well as what makes Gindaco such a popular takoyaki shop in Japan.
What is Takoyaki?
Before I explain Gindaco, let me talk to you a little bit about takoyaki. This snack-type food was first invented in 1935 in Osaka. It was an invention made by mixing the idea of “Chobo yaki” and “Akashi yaki” which are already existing traditional foods in that area.
It immediately became popular for its convenience in size which makes it easy to take out and eat outdoors. It didn’t take long before takoyaki was called one of the local foods that represent Osaka. If you get a chance to visit Osaka, you will see takoyaki shops pretty much everywhere in the city.
And because it is so convenient, it became one of the “must-have” food stands at festivals and sporting events alongside Yakisoba and Okonomiyaki. These takoyaki stands will mostly be run by the locals, as opposed to shop chains.
Takoyaki balls are usually somewhere between 3 to 5 cm in diameter and come in sets of 6 or 8 balls per order. The most traditional way of eating is with a savory takoyaki sauce and aonori (dried seaweed) and Katsuobushi (dried‐bonito shavings).
At takoyaki stands in festivals, you might only have this one option or maybe a couple of options. However, if you go to a takoyaki shop, you will be pleasantly surprised at the variety of flavors, toppings, and sauces that they offer.
Now that you have an idea of what Takoyaki is, let me explain about Gindaco (also known as Gindako). The first Gindaco shop opened in Gunma prefecture in 1997. And one year later, it opened its first shop in Tokyo (Nakano).
The dream of the founder was to open shops in Tsukiji and Ginza. It didn’t take that long for this dream to come true since the first shop in Ginza opened in 1999, and the first shop in Tsukiji opened in 2002. The shop was an instant hit and quickly grew to become the largest takoyaki shop franchise in the country.
One of the attractive characteristics of Gindaco is that they have a window so that you can see the people preparing the takoyaki in the open kitchen inside. This performance-type shop became popular, especially, in shopping malls and department facilities.
Another attractive point is that, other than take-out, you can even order delivery. But most importantly, of course, is the high-quality, tasty takoyaki that they offer. They are very particular regarding their ingredients as well as the dough and sauce that they use in their shops. Their takoyaki is characterized by being crunchy on the outside while being fluffy on the inside.
Other than their regular Gindaco shops, they also have “THE GINDACO” which are also takoyaki shops, but they offer smaller portions. There is also the “Gindaco highball Sakaba” which is an Izakaya-type restaurant where you can order the takoyaki while enjoying alcoholic beverages.
What to Eat at Gingako
At Gindaco, they have both the regular menu which doesn’t change all year long as well as the seasonal special menu which changes with the seasons.
The most popular way of eating takoyaki is definitely the regular takoyaki. It consists of the takoyaki with the special savory sauce with a topping of aonori and katsuobushi. This is the best way to experience the crunchy outside as well as the fluffy inside. So, if you’re going for the first time, this may be the best option.
Another popular one on the menu is the “Negidako” which is the takoyaki with a topping of negi (green onion). It also comes with a special Oroshitentsuyu sauce which has a lighter, more Japanese flavor. This sauce comes apart, so you can put as much as you want to match your taste preference.
Or if you want to experiment a little more, there is the “Cheese Mentaiko” takoyaki. In this case, the takoyaki has a topping of a mixture of mayonnaise and mentaiko (Spicy Pollack roe). And on top of that comes an exquisite mix of parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
As I previously mentioned, Gindaco is not only the most popular takoyaki shop, but it is also the largest franchise in Japan. They currently have over 400 shops across the county as well as over 40 shops overseas such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore.
In the case of Tokyo alone, there are nearly 100 shops. The most popular ones are the Shinbashi shop, Shinjuku shop, and Tsukiji shop.
The Shinbashi shop is famous for having Hayashi san. He’s the owner of the shop and is famous for making really good takoyaki. The Shinjuku shop is located in Kabukicho, on the first floor of the Toho building (the Godzilla building). And lastly, the Tsukiji shop is currently the main shop.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Other than Gindaco, there are many other takoyaki shops, especially if you go to the Osaka area. But out of Osaka, it is most likely that you will find a Gindaco before you find any other takoyaki shop. Or as I previously mentioned, going to a festival or sporting event is also a good place to find this tasty street snack.
If you want to know more about Japanese food, be sure to check out these following articles as well!