If heaven exists, it probably looks something like the Nishiki Market in Kyoto: a seemingly endless street market filled with one vendor after another serving up delicious-looking food.

Nishiki Market in Kyoto, Japan

If it’s food-related, you’ll probably find it here.  Aside from all of the enticing prepared food, there’s a smorgasbord of various meats, seafood, fruits, and vegetables  — it’s a one-stop shop for all things food.

Nishiki Market in Kyoto, Japan

I came here without anything in mind, basically just looking for whatever stall looked the busiest.  And there was no contest: this bustling takoyaki stand was clearly where it was at.

Nishiki Market in Kyoto, Japan

For the uninitiated, takoyaki is basically a ball of dough with a piece of octopus in the middle, typically served as street food.  They had a few different varieties, including one with cheese, which I had no idea was even a thing.  Obviously that’s what I got.

Nishiki Market in Kyoto, Japan

I like takoyaki, though it’s never really been my favourite.  Most of the ones I’ve tried have been one-note doughy, with a rubbery piece of octopus inside.

Nishiki Market in Kyoto, Japan

The ones here, on the other hand, were delightfully crispy on the outside, creamy and a little bit gooey on the inside from the cheese, and contained a surprisingly tender piece of octopus.  The sweet sauce on top does a great job of balancing out the savouriness of the balls.

Takoyaki is an Osaka specialty, so I’ll obviously be getting them again when I go there, but they’re going to have a very, very hard time living up to this.  Takoyaki perfection.

There isn’t anything too interesting/unique at McDonald’s in Italy, though they do have something called “Le Ricche” fries, which is basically just a plate of fries with cheese sauce on them.  You can choose between regular cheddar, and hot cheese.  I went with the latter, though I have to admit that there’s something vaguely unappetizing about the phrase “hot cheese.”

I’m not going to post about every pizza I eat, because that would get boring pretty fast (what’s that?  It’s already boring?  Tough but fair!).

However, just in case you think that every pizza in Naples is a mind-blowing, life-changing experience, it’s probably good to know that mediocre pizzas exist here too (though to be fair, mediocre for Naples would still be pretty damn good back home).

Pizzeria Brandi claims to have invented the margherita pizza back in 1890 (though Wikipedia disputes that fact); true or not, a lot of people want to check the place out.  It’s tourist overload. When I went, it was the most Asian people I’ve seen concentrated in one spot since coming to Europe.

Still, as jammed with tourists as it was (and it was jammed), how could I not go here? They invented the margherita pizza. If you love pizza and you don’t pay this place a visit, you’re doing it wrong.