by Matt Kaufman
On my second visit to Hanazono, I was fortunate enough to be taken to a landmark and institution by three locals who grew up in the area. Ichifuku has been serving takoyaki and ikayaki to hungry residents since 1958. Takoyaki and Ikayaki can be considered Osaka soul food and you don’t last sixty years unless you make the best. Takoyaki has evolved over the years and some places add things like cheese but Ichifuku keeps it simple, and former residents of the area from all over Japan often come back to enjoy the same taste they remember from childhood. Ichifuku recommends eating their takoyaki with two spoonfuls of ponzu vinegar and sprinkling them with Shichi-mi tōgarashi (七味唐辛子, seven-flavor chili pepper),
Ichifuku is primarily a takeout place. The staff will ask customers if they are in a hurry so they can prepare them quicker than usual. If you choose to eat at the counter (10 seats) you can watch them make your food at a much slower pace, and watching them mix the batter and turning them quickly on the takoyaki grill so they don’t burn never gets old. The ikayaki press looks like the sort of contraption found at an old laundry used to take wrinkles out of disheveled trousers. One of the best thing about Ichifuku is that the location keeps hoards of tourists away and you can experience eating takoyaki as a local. If it were in Namba or Umeda it would be as packed as say, Wanaka (also excellent!) and the lines would be around the block.
Ichifuku is also known for their many sets and combos that will suit people who just want to have a snack and others who feeling like splurging on a full meal with cold beer, soup and a couple of tasty side dishes. There is even an option for vegetarians*. You can order the Tako-nashi set (¥400), 14 pieces loaded with ginger and scallions instead of octopus. *The set is not advertised as being vegetarian. I will confirm it on my next visit.
I am going to translate as much of the menu as I can below.
Takoyaki: 7 (¥320), 10 (¥440) , 15 (¥650) I think they had prices listed for 5, 8, and 20 too.
Takoyaki Drink Set: 7 takoyaki plus soft drink: cola, cider, orange soda, oolong tea (¥420)
Takoyaki Beer Set: 7 takoyaki plus can of Asahi Super Dry (¥620)
Takoyaki Soup: Contains 6 takoyaki (¥400)
Takoyaki Negi Nose: Takoyaki topped with scallions 7 (¥360) 10 (¥480)
Takoyaki Negi Nose Beer Set: Takoyaki topped with scallions + Can of Asahi Super Dry Beer 7 (¥660), 10 (¥780)
Takoyaki Healthy Set: 7 Takoyaki, Toroten (心太 gelidium jelly –made into thin strips and eaten with vinegar) and two spoonfuls of black honey. (¥520)
Osumashi Set: 7 Takoyaki and osumashi soup (¥420)
Tako-nashi Set: 14 pieces loaded with ginger and scallions instead of octopus (¥400),
Suyaki: Squid grilled in vineger (ponzu?) No eggs. (¥270)
Ikayaki Tamago: (squid omelet) (¥320)
Ikayaki Tamago W: Same as above. Think W stands for Wide. (¥370)
Kyabe Tamago Squid cabbage and eggs omelet (¥420)
Kyabe Tamago W: Same as above but wide? Will confirm. (¥520)
Ikasupe Think this stands for Ika special. Must confirm (¥520)
Beer Set: Add ¥300 for can of Asahi Super Dry
Soft Serve Ice Cream ¥150