Tijuana is a city with great food diversity, both in gourmet restaurants as well as street stands. People are always looking for new options to eat delicious food regardless of location or the food's place of origin.
That's why cousins Isaac and Hikaru have come to change everything with their delicious Japanese takos.
Takoyakis are flour balls filled with various ingredients, but mainly octopus. This is where its meaning comes from: "tako" is octopus and "yaki" is fried in Japanese.
These delicious balls, in theory, don't have anything to do with Mexican tacos. What they do have in common is their popularity, as in Japan there is a huge amount of street stands where they are sold with long waiting lines.
Young Hikaru lived in San Diego and for the past 10 years he has visited Tijuana for several reasons. That's how he had an idea to start a business that involved the local community.
One day, Hikaru was at a taco stand and saw that the process to make a taco and takoyaki was similar, and that's when he decided that this would be the dish that would revolutionize everything.
His cousin Isaac was working in Aguascalientes when he received a call where Hikaru proposed that they start a business in this border city. He agreed and he has been living here for 9 months.
Both are fans of Mexican street food such as varied tacos, especially stuffed pepper, birria tacos, and the handmade meal chilaquiles with mole.
To start with, they made a bunch of takoyakis that they offered for free to people in Downtown Tijuana; the reception was good. Then they were able to reach the next level: on wheels.
Having a stand on flea markets is not as expensive as getting or building an establishment for a restaurant. So, in the last few months, they began to position themselves in the hearts and palates of Tijuana natives under the name Takoyaki Bros in several different locations.
At first, it was hard to communicate but according to Hikaru, they love Mexican culture because they are simple people, chill, and they support people who work, no matter where they come from.
Thinking about the people of Tijuana, they decided that besides octopus, they would also offer takoyaki filled with shrimp (ebiyakis), as this is one of the region's typical ingredients. Both the octopus and the shrimp are purchased from local providers.
Each week, they are located in 4 different flea markets: Fridays in Soler, Saturdays in Tecnológico, Sundays in Otay, and Mondays in Playas de Tijuana, from 8:30 AM to 2 PM.
They have explained that takoyakis are actually more of a snack than an actual dish. They have the following affordable prices:
- Medium-sized order (6 pieces): $100 pesos
- Large order (9 pieces): $130 pesos
- Extra large order (12 pieces): $160 pesos
Not giving up, plus the support of the community, has created a viral success in the city that has made the cousins dream of establishing a couple of restaurants; they just need a little bit more clients and collaborators.
Today, their efforts have been rewarded as they will be 1 of 400 stands that will be present at Emprendedor Fest Tijuana on Saturday, September 16 and Saturday, September 17 at the Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT) terrace from 12 PM to 8 PM.
If you wish to learn more about Takoyaki Bros, you can follow them on their social media pages:
How is a takoyaki made?
It should be noted that individual ovens with specialized trays for takoyakis are used. These utensils are not sold here.
First, the trays are drenched in oil and a flour mix, similar to the one used for hot cakes, is poured on them.
Once the mix is poured, the octopus and/or shrimp is added.
Then, green onions, tempura (similar to fried rice), and chicharron are added, and then it is all covered with another flour mix layer.
It is fried for a few minutes and then one has to mold the dough. Isaac uses a pair of sticks to put together the balls, one by one.
Once it is fried correctly, they are placed in small, disposable plates like the ones used for nachos. Then, teriyaki sauce, mayo, and dry fish are added.
In addition, red sriracha and green sriracha sauces are offered to add a little bit of spiciness.
All of this results in a burst of a simply delicious flavor. Takoyakis are eaten with the sticks that are given with the order. You only have to be careful when you eat them because they are quite hot.
Emprendedor Fest Tijuana and more success stories
Takoyaki Bros is just one case of the 400 businesses that will be showcased at the 10th edition of Emprendedor Fest Tijuana, the biggest entrepreneur event in Tijuana.
Alejandra Luqueño has a Degree in Tourism from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC). She has been selling clothes for 4 years and with experience in organizing events, she decided to create this exhibition which keeps getting more and more notoriety among Tijuana natives and San Diegans.
The businesses are varied, and they include clothes and accessories for men, women, and children; plants and items for homes; pop culture and anime collectibles; travel agencies, snacks, and desserts, among many other products.
On Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17, from 12 PM to 8 PM at the CECUT terrace, there will be several different gastronomic options besides takoyakis, such as Mexican snacks which will include sopes, huaraches, flutes in a cup; and BBQ ribs; craft sandwiches; snacks such as maicitos, tostielotes; drinks such as clamatos, sangria, and coffee, and several different options.
In addition[b], 6 local bands and Mimo Moy will perform at this event to entertain the public. There will also be a pet catwalk. Among the bands that will perform there are: BUSKA, Bad Michis and The Orbitters, playing several different genres such as ska, reggae, and rock & roll.
It should be noted that this is a pet friendly event and that it will have a pet adoption unit managed by the Patitas Firmes association.
Admission will be free and it is an event for the whole family.
To learn more about this event, follow its social media pages:
Facebook: Emprendedor fest tijuana
VIDEO: Isaac and his Tako Yaki Bros, Japanese start food business in Baja