|Address & Opening Hours||www.takoyakiya.nl/events|
Mr Eiki Mori has found a slightly unusual way from almost migrating to Australia to running a stall of takoyaki (ball-shaped fried snack with octopus filling) in the Netherlands: love.
Eiki was always a boy who focused on the one thing right in front of him. Born in Tokyo, he grows up briefly in Yokohama and mainly in Himeji by the Seto Inland Sea. Being pretty much a punk kid in high school, he starts off with a job as a construction worker on exterior walls, later becoming a carpenter just like his grandfather. After eight years of physical work, Eiki wishes to acquire a different skill and pivoted to a salesperson for an internet provider.
“A customer told me to ‘go abroad and see the world’. That was the life changer.” At the age of twenty-eight, he leaves Japan for Australia on a work and holiday visa. He backpacks from Sydney along the east coast and picks up farm work on the way. After two years an opportunity arises. A Japanese president of a fishery company based in Melbourne hires him as a driver to do runs to the fish market and sponsered his work visa. Life was good. So good that one night he manages to hit on an open, down-to-earth Dutch-Portuguese traveller at a bar and ends up living together with her and eventually getting engaged.
“The question was: Where shall we get married and start a family? Australia? Japan? Holland?” Australia seemed to be the most reasonable choice. He had a good job, visa and security. With their decision in mind, the couple visits the Netherlands to show Eiki for the first time his love’s homeland.
A week in mid November, perfect blue sky. “It was so beautiful. Now I know I was pretty much deceived back then, in terms of weather,” he recalls. On their last day sitting in a park filled with splendid sunshine, his wife-to-be started to cry. She was anxious to settle in a country foreign and far away. Eiki’s heart, filled with love, felt for her. And he said the words that sealed his fate: “It’s all right my love. I’ll move here.”
Eiki has always been an optimistic person. He worked for a year as a sushi and tempura cook at Hosokawa in Amsterdam. While continuing working as a sushi cook at Schiphol Airport, he started his own takoyaki stall business at many festivals and markets. “Takoyaki is my soul food. It’s taste of home cooking in the Kansai region and every family has a different recipe. I missed mine.”
“The most important ingredient is no doubt the octopus. It’s crucial to get the best octopus possible, otherwise there’s no point in making takoyaki,” explains Eiki passionately. “When I was a kid, I’d go swimming in the sea and saw octopuses right there in the water. Back then I never thought I’d end up making takoyaki at Dutch markets.” His original sauce and recipe are the secret to the crispy skin and the melting inside of his takoyaki. He has acquired quite a fan base and is quickly sold out on sunny days. “We feel very sorry if we have to turn you down. Please come by early!” Check out his website and Facebook page for info on when and where to find him.
“I miss home sometimes, especially my friends. But my wife is happy here and our family grew by three beautiful children. I love them. There’s always something happening with them but it’s a lot of fun. I’m glad that they get to grow up here. They’re free and I think they have the best enviroment for their childhood. That makes me a happy man.”