A Takoyaki Tour

Where to find the street treat in town

We have all sorts of global food served from four wheels, so it was only a matter of time before a truck started rolling with takoyaki, a Japanese street-food and izakaya staple from Osaka.

These golf-ball-size pancake balls are like savory abelskivers (for you Solvang fans), filled with pieces of octopus and usually coated with bonito flakes, seaweed and a creamy mirin-mayo (tonkatsu) sauce.

Takoyaki Tanota–a new mobile cart that sets up in Little Tokyo and around Sawtelle–specializes in the dish. The balls (pictured), made fresh while you wait, are perfectly golden on the outside and molten inside ($3.50 for five). Eat fast or ask for light sauce; you don't want them to get soggy.

If you miss the cart, Little Tokyo has long been a takoyaki hub. At Honda Ya, they're smothered in bonito flakes and slivers of pink ginger ($5.50). Through the Mitsuru Café display window, you can watch cooks make the takoyaki in their special griddles before you get them on skewers ($2 for three).

Our favorite is San Sui Tei: A generous amount of octopus fills the almost melted center of each crisp takoyaki ($5 for six). The little dumplings make a perfect strolling snack.

Honda Ya, 333 S. Alameda St., 213-625-1184; Mitsuru Café, 117 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, 213-613-1028; San Sui Tei, 313 E. 1st St., 213-613-0100