One of the most delicate dishes in Japanese cuisine, chawanmushi is a steamed savory egg custard seasoned with mirin, soy and dashi, and may have shrimp, uni white fish, mushrooms or numerous other delicacies folded into it. Chawanmushi may be served hot or cold, and the textbook renditions have a supple jiggle to them. If you like flan and Italian sformato, you’ll probably like its more glamourous cousin, chawanmushi, which is usually served in a small cup with a spoon. And it’s not just in Japanese restaurants: many non-native Japanese chefs are interpreting chawanmushi of late.
A street-food staple originating in Osaka, takoyaki are affectionately known in the U.S. as octopus balls. They are made from batter mixed with octopus chunks, ginger and green onions that are cooked in a special round mold, and then topped off with the same okonomiyaki sauce, Kewpie mayo, green seaweed, bonito flakes or all of the above. Takoyaki are so popular in Osaka that the city’s baseball dome is often referred to as the Takoyaki Dome. Octopus balls are slowly building steam in America as well.