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Nakuyami Takoyaki and Beyond

By Cesar Cruz Jr.

Filipinos are no strangers to the Japanese snack known as Takoyaki. The golf ball-shaped food, made famous in Osaka in the 1930s, has invaded Metro Manila, from humble food carts all the way to fancy Japanese restaurants.

Distinguishing itself in this Japanese snack game is Nakuyami Takoyaki, which is making a name for itself with its authentic takoyaki offerings and its mouthwatering All-Flavored Takoyaki in selected malls.

The All Flavored Takoyaki of Nakuyami Takoyaki

Gwen Yu-Cheng, owner of the five-year-old Nakuyami Takoyaki brand, attributes attending Kalye Negosyo as the turning point of her business.

Jenny and Jorge Wieneke of Kalye Negosyo

The mentorship provided by Jorge and Jenny Wieneke made her rethink her products. Prior to meeting them, her business was solely focused on traditional Takoyaki. Now, she has come up with the concept of All-Flavored Takoyaki. Delightful gourmet flavors were introduced in the process, starting with the Samgyup Takoyaki, a tasty combination of kimchi, cheese, and beef yakiniku—which eventually became the bestseller. Flavors such as Ube and Cheese, Yema with Salted Egg, and even Nutella Takoyaki soon followed suit and made their mark on their customers’ taste buds as well.

This is Gwen’s class in Kalye Negosyo. (L-R) front :Jorge Wieneke, Jayson Lo, Gwen Yu- Cheng, and Jenny Wieneke.

Kalye Negosyo, a mentoring advocacy, aims to help micro-entrepreneurs at the grassroots level become better and wiser entrepreneurs. For Gwen, it has taught her invaluable lessons regarding the entrepreneurial mindset. Having been an employee for a decade, learning the ropes of being a business owner was filled with challenges. The good thing is that the Kalye Negosyo program was centered on the importance of courage, gratitude, and one’s purpose for venturing into entrepreneurship. The most impactful lesson Gwen learned was the need to serve not just her family but the broader community.

“Through Kalye Negosyo, I realized that I was not alone in this journey. As a business owner, you often wear many hats, which can be overwhelming. However, connecting with fellow entrepreneurs who faced similar challenges provided a support system and a sense of belonging. We learn from each other’s experiences, which was incredibly enriching,” Gwen shared.

More Than Takoyaki

Dehydrated fruits, known for their nutritional value, are sold by Healthy Eats by A&G.

Aside from her Takoyaki business, Gwen unknowingly found herself in a position to venture into healthy food essentials and thereby serve the broader community as Kalye Negosyo has espoused. Having an autoimmune condition herself and the fact that she lost her brother to cancer have prompted her to offer better food choices to those selective with the quality of their food intake. As a result, superfoods, healthy nuts, dried fruits, and dry shirataki rice are being sold at her outlet, Healthy Eats by A&G at SM Southmall.

For Gwen, the true essence of success lies in resilience. It’s about how many times you stand up after facing challenges. Every setback is a learning opportunity that strengthens your character and clarifies what truly matters in life.

Just take a look at how Nakuyami Takoyaki and Healthy Eats by A&G have been standing tall and proud in the volatile business environment.

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