Sunday, June 25, 2017


Zendako is located on SW Washington (near SW 10th Avenue) in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Takoyaki is a ball-shaped snack with a wheat-flour based batter and octopus inside. It's then usually topped with various items like bonito flakes, mayonnaise (or even kewpie a.k.a. Japanese mayonnaise), takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce), and seaweed (green aonori).

After the Buki cart closed a while back, Portland had one fewer spot to get this street food that originated in Osaka, Japan. While other places also serve takoyaki, I have either not been to those places or have simply passed on that menu item.

Zendako opened in early May 2017, and their menu is very simple. They have two versions of takoyaki -- the traditional version and a cheesy version -- and even a takoyaki sandwich. They also serve matcha maru, a sweet green tea with azuki balls.

I went with the traditional takoyaki ($5), and they did a fantastic job here. Generous on the toppings (namely the bonito flakes), and eight takoyaki to an order. On some, I could taste and feel the octopus, while on others I could not. Then again, I was shoving the food into my mouth fairly quickly.

No chopsticks here, just a toothpick to pluck one from the boat-shaped dish and stuff your face. You'll get about three toothpicks in case you wanted to share with friends.

Very affordable at $5. Your order will also come pretty quickly; it was less than a minute before my food arrived. They were not very busy when I went (Saturday lunchtime), so I wonder how they would handle a very large line. I saw a few takoyaki pans in the back, so they can make a few orders at a time.

Zendako is currently open seven days a week starting at lunchtime and closing around 5 PM or 6 PM. Check them out in downtown Portland! 8.5/10

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